Yoga is quickly becoming something that is part of my daily routine. I never used to do yoga, or any kind of stretching on that matter. I’de normally get up and surf for hours and hours, eat well, go to the gym, do some work, and then sleep. Stretching never even crossed my mind. However, when I was recovering from my injury my physio would give me stretches to do to improve my body condition. I instantly felt a huge difference in my body once I started to do the stretches on a daily basis, so I did a little bit more research on some good yoga postures to relieve the major muscle groups we use when surfing. I now try to do these deep stretches every day for about half an hour, and can only praise the effects. As well as releasing all of the tension within the muslces, I have considerably increased my flexibilty and stability. I am much more confident in the water because my body feels better and stronger and my energy levels are much higher. Its improved my surfing so much I can’t tell you. Yoga is also a great way to train your mind to focus, and I feel it has really helped with my mental discipline in and out of the water. Here are a few of my favorite stretches. I normally do them before I go to sleep as they help me to relax, but you can do them at any point throughout the day when you get time. Dedication is key
I normally start off with a couple of rounds of sun salutations to warm my body up and loosen any really tight muscles before I go into these deeper stretches.
Downward dog is one of my favourite poses to release tension in my shoulders, and it also strengthens the wrists and the arms, it feels great!
The lotus pose is a nice position to start in after you’ve warmed up a little. It opens your hips, and stretches your ankles and your knees. You can also spend a moment here to concentrate on your deep breathing, which is something you should maintain throughout your whole practice.
The extended side angle pose stretches the top side of your body from your back heel through the raised arm. You will feel a stretch in your groin, an opening of your hip bones and a release in your shoulders and neck.
The dolphin pose (similar to downward dog but resting on your forearms) is another great pose to open up those tight shoulders.
Both warrior I and warrior II poses are great for increasing stamina and strengthening you legs. This is a great moment to really concentrate on lengthening your spine and using your core to hold you tall and straight.
The camel pose I love becuase it relieves any backache. It also improves flexibility of the neck and the spine.
Pigeon is my favourite way to open my hips amd stretch my glutes. It’s a great stress relieving pose, and I hold it for several minutes on each side.
To stretch you knees, thighs and ankles, try the reclining hero pose.
I like to include some kind of spinal twist to my practice, whether I am seated or laid on my back. There are several variations so chose one that you feel comfortable with.
I always end my session with a long seated forward bend. It stretches the complete backside of your body from the back of your head down to your heels. Breath deeply into into yout entire back and each day try to reach a little further to increase your flexibility.
Depending on your sore areas, you can add in stretches to each practice and try different variations to keep it interesting. The hardest thing for me however with the yoga is the discipline. It’s so easy just to skip it out of your routine. That’s why I dedicate half an hour to myself before I go to bed every day. It helps me relax and even improves my sleeping. I go to bed with peace of mind that I am going to wake up feeling bouncy and ready to get out there and surf again. Super happy with my new found love for yoga!