Winter active series – yoga for surfers

For pre or post surf, or to maintain a level of mobility when you’re not hitting the water!

15 minutes is all you need on a regular basis to aid aches and pains in the neck and shoulders, increase flexibility in your hips and hamstrings AND open up your chest and lengthen out the spine.

Below are a few helpful stretches to keep you in tip top condition - for the full guided video, click here.

1. Downward facing dog

Works into the hamstrings and calves helping to lengthen. Stretches the shoulders, hands and feet. Strengthens your arms, upper body and legs and eases back pain.

  • Alignment - an upside down 'v'! Palms of the hands down, fingers spread creating a good base. Weight distributed evenly through both hands and feet. Neck in line with spine, all the way to sacrum. Hips lifted, bend knees and lift heels if alignment compromised i.e. rounding of the back. Belly drawn in.

2. Pigeon pose

Opens the hips, shoulders, stretches the thighs, groin and psoas muscles.

  • Alignment - begin in table top (all fours) pop right knee to right wrist and right foot towards the left wrist (it maybe more towards the groin), slide the left leg away, keep it in-line with the hip (not over to one side or the other), actively move the right hip back and left hip forward to stretch. Either stay on the palms of your hands, forearms (pictured) or arms stretched out long. Repeat other side.

3. Twists

Opens up the chest and shoulders, increases mobility in the spine.

  • Alignment - there are so many seated twists out there but keeping it simple - sit back on your heels, right hand to left thigh, left hand supporting the lower back and turn towards your left shoulder. Keep the spine lifted and long, belly button drawn in to create more space to move into. Repeat other side.

4. Lizard pose

Stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings and groin and alleviates lower back pain.

  • Alignment -starting in table top, step the left foot to the outer edge of your left hand. Slide the back knee away. Lift up onto your finger tips, take a breath in and exhale lower down onto the palms of your hands. Keep the chest lifted and shoulders away from your ears. The left knee is to remain close to the left arm. Option to lower down onto forearms but if you started to round into the back, you've gone too far - lift back up to palms of your hands - chest lifted!

5. Seated forward fold

A release for the hamstrings, it also helps to stretch the entire backside of the body from the head through the spine all the way to the heels, creating space between each vertebrae.

  • Alignment - legs out long, catch hold of the outer edges of your feet, ankles or calves, keep lifted in the chest to work the hamstrings. Pop a bend in your knees as to not compromise your alignment.

6. Warrior 2 & reverse warrior

Feel your ankles, legs and groin stretch whilst opening the chest and shoulders. Warrior 2 helps with balance, increasing mental clarity and concentration while energising the limbs.

  • Alignment - front toes facing forward, back foot in-line with the edge of your mat. Front heel in-line with back toes. Front leg is bent, ankle and knee in-line. Ensure the knee doesn't cave in, keep squeezing it towards the little toe. For warrior 2, arms actively stretched out front to back and your gaze is to your front hand. For reverse warrior - slide the back arm down the back leg and front arm up and over. It's a side stretch, not a back bend so you should feel an opening along the whole side of your upper body - gaze to top arm.

7. Locust pose

Strengthens and lengthens the entire back body, as well the back of the arms and much of the legs. This pose helps with paddling and duck diving the waves and it strengthens the back muscles while opening the chest.

  • Alignment - begin lying on your front. For a moment keep the feet down and just start to lift the upper body, cactus the arms open, maybe interlace the hands behind the back (like in my video). Option to lift the legs and feet too, to full locust. Engage the legs, drop the shoulders away from ears.

8. Low lunge.

Aids balance, strengthens the legs, releases tension in the shoulders when hands are interlaced behind the back.

  • Alignment - begin in table top (all fours) step the left foot though. Press through the left foot and push up to a low lunge. Tuck your tailbone under to create a stretch in the right quad. Interlace the hands behind you and draw them down - shoulder blades together, lift chest, knit ribcage and belly in, crown of the head tall. Repeat other side.

Note - please make sure that you listen to your body at all times. Do not push into poses and consult a medical professional if you are unsure whether your body is fit and able to move into the shapes. Contact me for modifications and other advice needed! x