Yoga for Surfers: Flow VI
This is the sixth 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 :
Sukhasana with Garudasana Arms – Simple Seat Pose with Eagle Arms: Sit on your mat crossing your shins and slipping each foot beneath the opposite knee. Widen your knees and fold your legs in towards you.
Keep your pelvis is neutral. Make sure to remove the fleshy part of your buttocks and feel grounded on your sitting bones.
Bring your arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is over the left, then bend your elbows. The backs of your hands should be facing each other.
Continue to press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left, so that the palms are facing each other. Now press the palms together as much as possible. Lift your elbows up and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling.
Hold here for 3-5 breaths. Change the position of your legs and arms; repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits: Strengthens the back. Stretches the knees and ankles; shoulders and upper back.
Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose: From Sukhasana with Garudasana arms, release the arms and stretch the legs out in front of you. Place the right leg over the left, staking your right knee over the left. Bend both knees, bringing your ankles and heels close to your hips. Keep both hips evenly grounded.
Take a deep inhale and bring your right arm out parallel to the floor; rotate your arm inward (palm is facing towards the back). On your exhale, bring the right arm down, parallel to the right rib cage. Bend your elbow and sweep your arm behind your back (palm is facing out, fingers are pointing up).
Next inhale, bring the left arm out parallel to the floor and rotate your arm outward (palm is facing forward). On your exhale, take left arm up, parallel to your left ear. Bend your elbow and hook your left fingers to your right. If your fingers don't reach, use a strap.
Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths. Change the position of your legs and arms; repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits: Stretches the ankles, hips and thighs; shoulders, armpits, triceps and chest.
Navasana – Boat Pose: From Gomukhasana, release your arms and legs to neutral and place your feet firmly on the ground. Lean back into the 'triangle' made of your sits bones and tail bone. Place our hands in the creases behind your knees and lift your chest. Inhale deeply, on your exhale draw one knee to up, then the other. Keep your shins parallel to the ground.
You can choose to stay in this pose and hold for 3-5 breaths. Otherwise, inhale and on your exhale straighten the legs, one at a time. Continue to lift your chest and balance on your 'triangle'. Option to bring your arms out in a t-shapped position, out in front of you (parallel to the ground) or up to the sky in a 'V' position.
Hold your pose for 3-5 breaths. Release your feet back to the ground and bring the arms out in front of you (parallel to the ground). With control, use your abdominal muscles to roll down one vertebrea at a time. Keep your knees bent.
Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors and spine
Urdhva Dhanurasana – Wheel Pose: While laying on the ground with your knees bent, bring your feet as close to your buttocks as possible, legs hip width apart. Bring your arms up, bend your elbows and place your hands by your ears, fingers point towards your shoulders.
Inhale deeply, on your exhale lift the hips to the sky, while keeping the buttocks relaxed. Firmly press the hands onto the mat and lift the chest, shoulders and head away from the ground.
Continue to actively lift the hips, belly, chest, shoulders and head, while straightening the arms. Hold your pose for 3-5 breaths. To come out of the pose, tuck your chin to your chest, bend the elbows and begin to lower to your mat one vertebrae at a time. Stretch your legs out. Palms down on your mat.
Benefits: Strengthens the arms, wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen and spine. Stretches the chest and lungs.
Salamba Sarvangasana - Supported Shoulderstand: While lying down, keep your arms parallel to your sides; palms down your hips. Inhale and bring your legs up, toes pointing to the sky. On your exhale, press your arms against the floor while lifting your hips up.
Bend the elbows and bring your hands to the back for support. Continue to lift keeping legs, thighs and hips perpendicular to the ground; chin to chest. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Benefits: Tones the legs and buttocks. Stretches the shoulder and neck.
Halasana – Plough Pose: From Salamba Sarvangasana, inhale and on your exhale fold from the hips, slowly lowering your legs towards the ground beyond your head. Lift your sitting bones to the sky.
Release the hands from your back and bring them to the ground, palms down. If possible, draw the shoulders together and interlace your fingers. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
To come out of the pose, keep hands firmly on the ground. On an exhale, roll down slowly, with control using your core muscles. Release legs back to the mat.
Benefits: Stretches the shoulders and spine.
Ananda Balasana – Blissful Baby: From a lying on your back, breathe. On an exhale, bring the knees to your belly. Inhale, use your 'peace fingers' to grab your big toe, exhale open the hips wide.
Inahale, flex your feet; exhale pull your knees and thighs towards your chest. Keep your tail bone 'glued' to the mat. Continue for 3-5 breaths.
Benefits: Stretches the groins and lower back.
Savasana – Corpse Pose: From Ananda Balasana, release the toes and stretch the legs all the way back to the ground (relax them so they roll outward). Tilt your pubic bone away from the ground.
Arms lay by your side with the palms up in a gesture of receptivity. Close your eyes and come back to your regular breath. Stay in Savasana at least 5 minutes or longer and enjoy the benefits of your practice.
Benefits: Relaxes the body. Calms the brain. Releases stress.
Follow this sequence on its own or add it to Flow I, II, III, IV & V for a longer, deeper practice. This is the last portion on asanas. The next part of our Yoga for Surfers Series will focus solely on breathing exercises.