Yoga for Surfers: Flow I
Attention all surfers and stand up paddle boarders!! This is the first in a series of 7 yoga flows for surfers & SUP's. The objective is to bring attention to areas of the body essential to improve your time in the water.
Primarily we'll focus on :
Vinyasa Flow I:
Marjaryasana & Bitilasana – Cat & Cow: Begin on your hands and knees in a "tabletop" position. Your wrists should be in line with your shoulders, while your knees should be in line with your hips. Make sure your hips are parallel to the floor and your head is in a neutral position with your spine. Your drishti or gaze is on the floor.
Start with Cow Pose, Bitilasana. Inhale while lifting your tai lbone, letting the belly relax and raising your head up. Your drishti is to the sky.
Continue to Cat to Pose, Marjaryasana. On your exhale, tuck your tail bone, round your back and allow the head to drop heavy. Drishti on your navel.
Repeat 5 rounds of Cat & Cow. When you've completed them, return to "tabletop".
Benefits: Stretches and lubricates the spine.
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose: From "tabletop", bring your hands about and inch or two forward from your shoulders. Inhale and tuck your back toes under. Exhale and lift your hips all the way to the sky while actively press the ground away from you.
Make sure your hands are firmly planted on the floor and all fingers are spread evenly. Keep your knees slightly bent. Inhale keeping the spine in one straight line from tail bone to the crown of your head and rotate your arms inwards so your armpits are facing one another. Exhale, begin to straighten your legs by bringing your heels to the ground. Engage your kneecaps and quadriceps to protect your knees.
Your drishti is on the ground directly in front of you or you can keep your eyes closed. Relax and hold for 5 full breaths.
Benefits: Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands. It also strengthens the arms and legs.
Plank Pose: From Down Dog, press forward so your shoulders are aligned with your wrists once again. Keep one strong straight line from head to heels. As in Down Dog, press your hands and spread your fingers evenly away from the floor. Don't allow your chest or hips to sink; keep them active.
Slide your shoulders back away from your ears and elongate your neck. Your drishti is directly in front of you. You can also opt to place your knees on the ground for more support. Hold and breath for 3 rounds.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, spine, quads and abdominals.
Vasisthasana – Side Plank (right side): From Plank, inhale. On the exhale shift onto the outside edge of your left foot and place your right foot on top of it. Continue to breath as you stack your right hip above the left one and place your hand on your right hip. Rotate your chest open as you support your body on your left hand and foot. As in Plank, align your body into one long diagonal line and don't allow your chest or hips to sink. Inhale and on your exhale stretch the right arm to the sky in line with your left arm.
Your drishti can be to the hand on the floor, directly in front of you or to the hand elevated. Also, option to release the left knee to the ground for more support. For an extra challenge, lift your right leg and keep it parallel to the left leg. Hold and continue to breathe for 3 rounds.
*Inhale and on your exhale return to Plank; inhale and on your exhale repeat Vasisthasana – Side Plank (left side).
*Inhale and on your exhale return to Plank.
Benefits: Strengthens the core, arms, wrists and belly. Stretches the wrists and improves balance.
Chaturunga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff Pose: From Plank, inhale deeply and bring the shoulders slightly forward. On your exhale begin to lower down by bending the elbows while keeping them tightly pressed onto the rib cage. Don't allow your lower back to sink and your hips and buttocks to lift. Maintain the same diagonal line you had in Plank, from crown to heels as you lower all the way to your belly.
Your drishti is on the ground directly below you.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, shoulders and legs. Develops core stability.
Bhajunjasana – Cobra Pose: While on the floor release the top of your feet to the mat. Inhale and on your exhale straighten the arms lifting the chest off the floor and rolling the shoulders away from the ears. Keep your pelvis, legs and feet actively pressed on the ground.
Lift through your chest and gaze to the front or extend your dristhi to the sky. You can hold this pose for 3-5 breaths or on your next breath move into your Upward Dog.
Benefits: Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. Strengthens the spine and back muscles. Opens the heart and lungs creating more space for breath.
Urdhva Muka Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose: From Cobra, bring your hands closer to your waist. Take a deep breath and on the exhale lift your hips and knees off the floor by pressing your feet against the ground.
As in Cobra, keep your shoulders relaxed, your chest open and your drishti to the front or to the sky. Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths or on your next breath move back into your Down Dog. Take 5 rounds of breath on your Down Dog.
Benefits: Strengthens the spine, back muscles, arms and wrists. Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. Improves posture.
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Pose: From Downward Dog inhale and on your exhale walk or hop your feet to reach your hands. Lift your hips, straightening the back of your legs and fold forward. Let your torso and head come down and relax.
If possible bring your hands or fingertips to the floor, otherwise use a block or simply grasp your elbows. You can stay here for 3-5 breaths, elongating the spine further with each exhale or on your inhale move direclty into
Benefits: Stretches the hips, hamstrings and calves. Strengthens thighs and knees. Keeps the spine strong and flexible.
Ardha Uttanasana – Standing Half Forward Bend: From Uttanasana press your palms or fingertips into the floor, shins or block. Inhale and straighten your elbows and arch your torso away from your thighs. Create space and lengthen your spine forward.
Keep your drishti forward holding your arch. On your exhale release your torso back into Uttanasana.
Benefits: Stretches the front torso. Strengthens the back and improves posture
Urdhva Hastasana – Upward Salute: From Uttanasana, take a deep inhale and sweep your arms out to the sides and up toward the ceiling. Extend your elbows and press your palms firmly together. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. Engage your lower belly to tuck your tail bone.
Your gaze is towards sky. On your exhale bring your hands to heart center.
Benefits: Stretches the abdominals and shoulders.
Hands to heart center in prayer Mudra
Feel free to practice this flow as many times as you'd like or mix it up with the future flows that will be introduced. Namaste!