Yoga for Surfers: Flow IV

We are half way through our Yoga for Surfers Flow!  This is the fourth 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 :

Breath

Balance

Shoulders

Back

Core

Vinyasa Flow II:

 Begin standing 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.  Hands to heart center in Anjali, Prayer Mudra.  Close your eyes.

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Urdhva Hastasana – Upward Salute: From Anjali, take a deep inhale and sweep your arms out to the sides and up towards the sky.  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.

Benefits: Stretches the abdominals and shoulders.

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Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Pose: From Urdhva Hastasana exhale fold forward, lift your hips and begin straightening the back of your legs.  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.

Benefits: Stretches the hips, hamstrings and calves. Strengthens thighs and knees. Keeps the spine strong and flexible.

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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 or gaze forward holding your arch.  On your exhale release your torso back into Uttanasana.

Benefits: Stretches the front torso.  Strengthens the back and improves posture.

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose: From Uttanasana, inhale and bring your hands about an inch or two forward from your shoulders.  Exhale, step your feet back two to three inches and lift your hips all the way to the sky.  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.  Strengthens the arms and legs

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Dolphin Pose: From Adho Mukha Svanasana, inhale deeply.  Exhale, come down to your forearms.  Continue to lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, while pressing the forearms actively into the floor.  Heels reach towards the mat.

Draw our shoulder blades towards your spine, then expand them away from the spine.  Keep your neck extended and your head hanging between the upper arms.

Option to bend your knees.  Keep your drishti towards your navel.  Hold for 5 full breaths.

Benefits: Strengthens the arms and legs.  Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and arches.

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Dolphin Plank: From Dolphin Pose, bend your knees deeply and walk your feet back until your shoulders are directly over the elbows.  Body is parallel to the floor.

With your forearms, press your body away from the floor while expanding your shoulder blades away from the spine.

Do not allow your hips or torso to sink.  Keep a strong core by engaging your abdominals.  Keep your gaze down or forward; hold for 5 breaths.

Benefits: Strengthens the core, arms and legs.  Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and arches.

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Sphinx Pose: From Dolphin Plank, take a deep inhale; on your exhale begin to lower the hips and legs down to your mat.

Roll your thighs inwards, draw your pubic bone towards the mat and keep your hips glued to the mat.  Actively lengthen your legs towards your toes.

Continue to press your forearms into the mat while lifting your torso.  Simultaneously relax your shoulders.  Keep your drishti neutral.  Hold for 5 breaths.

Benefits: Strengthens the spine.  Stretches the shoulders, chest, lungs and abdomen.  Firms the buttocks.

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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose: From Sphinx, bring your palms 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.

Keep your shoulders relaxed, your chest open and your drishti to the front or to the sky.  Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths

Benefits: Strengthens the spine, back muscles, arms and wrists.  Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen.  Improves posture.

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From Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, inhale, on your exhale tuck your toes under, press the ground away from you and lift your hips back into your Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Take 5 rounds of breath in Adho Mukha Svanasana.

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From Adho Mukha Svanasana 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 back into Uttanasana.

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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, returning to Ardha Uttanasana.

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On your exhale release your torso back into Uttanasana.

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From Uttanasana, take a deep inhale and sweep your arms out to the sides and up toward the sky.  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.

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On your exhale bring your hands to heart center in Anjali, Prayer Mudra.

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Follow this sequence on its own or add it to Flow I, II & III for a longer, deeper practice.  Namaste!

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