Greetings again water enthusiasts!! This is the third 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 :
Tadasana – Mountain Pose: Stand with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart. Spread your toes and balance your weight evenly on your feet.
Engage your thighs by lifting your knee caps and slightly roll the thighs inward. Then tuck your tail bone and lift through the torso, neck and head.
Bring the shoulders back and relax them. Open the hands facing forward, spreading the fingers wide in a gesture of receptivity. Keep the chin parallel to the floor and soften or close your eyes. Hold for 5 breaths.
Benefits: Strengthens thighs, knees and ankles. Firms abdomen and buttocks. Improves posture.
Virksanana – Tree Pose: From Tadasana, stand with feet hip-width apart and choose a spot on the floor or the horizon to focus your gaze on. Place all your weight on your left leg and bend your right knee. With your right hand grab your right ankle and place the sole of your foot on your inner thigh, toes pointing down.
Lift the knee cap on your left leg to engage your quadriceps. Draw your tail bone to the floor and open your right hip. Inhale, bring your hands to heart center; exhale, lift your arms to the sky, like a tree expanding its branches.
Your drishti or gaze can be to the floor, neutral or to the sky. For an extra challenge close your eyes. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Benefits: Improves balance. Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and spine. Stretches the chest, shoulders, groins and inner thighs.
Option to keep the right foot by your left ankle if your inner thigh is not accessible.
Natarajasana – Lord of the Dance Pose: From Virksana, return hands to heart center and bring your knee to point forward. Extend your left arm to the sky and point your knee down, keeping both thighs parallel to each other. With your right hand grab your right foot; fingers facing out.
Take a deep inhale. On your exhale extend the right thigh back, parallel to the floor. Continue to draw the inner thighs together as you stretch your left hand and right leg in opposite directions.
Your drishti is neutral or to the sky. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths.
Benefits: Improves balance. Stretches the chest, shoulders, abdomen, groins and inner thighs. Strengthens legs and ankles.
Virabhadrasana III – Warrior III Pose: From Natarajasana, point the right knee forward, right hamstring is parallel to the ground and right foot is flexed.
Inhale, bring hands to heart center. Exhale, shift your torso forward, while extending the right leg to the back. Keep the torso, hips and right leg parallel to the ground. Maintain a strong left leg by engaging your quad.
You can keep your hands at heart center or expand the arms to the front (palms facing down), to the sides (into a T-shaped position) or to the back (palms facing up). Keep your drishti to the mat to create a strong line of energy from crown of the head to toes. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Benefits: Improves balance and posture. Strengthens shoulders, back, legs and ankles. Tones the abs.
Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose: From Warrior III, release the left hand onto the mat or block, directly under your shoulder. Keep your gaze on the mat. Bring your right hand to your right hip and begin to rotate your hips, then your torso. Shoulders and hips should be stacked.
Once you feel stable, elevate your right hand to the sky. For extra challenge, bring your drishti to the elevated hand. Keep your right leg and arm energized. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Benefits: Improves coordination and balance. Strengthens the abs, spine, thighs, ankles and buttocks. Stretches the chest, shoulders and spine; groins, hamstrings and calves.
Urdva Prasaritta Eka Padasana – Stand up Splits: From Ardha Chandrasana, return the right hand to right hip and your gaze to the mat. Take a deep inhale. On your exhale, release the right hand to the floor or block while rotating your torso and hips back to center. Simultaneously walk you hands or finger tips to the side of your foot while elevating your right leg to the sky.
Head hangs heavy towards the floor. Hold for 3 breaths.
Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, calves, thighs and groin. Strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles.
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Pose: From Stand Up Splits, exhale and release you leg to the floor. 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.
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.
From Uttanasana, take a deep inhale and sweep your arms out to the sides and up towards the sky. Hands facing each other, gaze is towards sky. On your exhale bring your hands to heart center in Anjali, prayer Mudra.
*Repeat sequence on the other foot.
This is a challenging flow, be patient and kind to yourself. As with surfing, the more you practice, the easier it will become. Follow this sequence on its own or add it to Flow I & II for a longer, deeper practice. Namaste!