What better way to warm up before you hit the waves than with a yoga flow? Get in touch with the earth and the ocean before your surf session with this sequence of energizing postures.
Set up your yoga mat or beach blanket and follow these steps to get into the flow of the elements around you. These poses will help to warm up your shoulders and strengthen your legs before paddling out and riding the surf.
1. Side Bends
Starting with your feet together, inhale both arms above your head. Clasp your hands together and let both fingers point towards the sky. Lean your upper body to the right, and keep your shoulders away from your ears. Inhale back to center and exhale to bend your upper body to the left side. Repeat as many times as you like to open up the side body and tune into your breath.
2. Shoulder Stretch
Clasp your hands together behind your back and roll your shoulders back as you reach down through your arms. Poses that stretch and warm up the shoulders and chest are a good way to prepare for paddling and popping up onto your board.
3. Sun Salutation
Release your hands, bend at the hips and bring your body into a forward fold. Let your head hang towards the ground. Inhale and lift your chest, keeping your back flat with your hands on your knees or shins. Exhale, forward fold again. Plant your hands into the ground and step back into a plank. Roll forward onto your toes and lower your body towards the earth — chaturanga. Peel your upper body up and un-tuck your toes coming into full cobra pose. Tuck your toes, pull your hips up and move into your first downward dog. Repeat 3-4 vinyasas to strengthen your core and continue to prep your arms and shoulders for paddling and pop-ups.
4. Warrior II
From downward dog, bring your right foot in between your hands and rotate your back foot at a 90 degree angle. Bend into your front leg until your knee is slightly over the ankle, keep your back leg straight and bring both arms away from your shoulders and parallel to your ground. Take a moment to focus on your core, strengthen your legs and balance. This pose will get you ready to stay on your board once you are up and riding waves.
5. Exalted Warrior
From warrior II pose, place your back hand on the back of your thigh as you flip your front palm upwards and reach towards the sky. Lift and lengthen your spine as you gaze up towards your hand. Feel the opening in your side body and stay strong in both legs to build heat and increase blood flow.
6. Side Angle
From exalted warrior, lower your front elbow above your knee. Reach your back arm above your head with your palm facing down, creating space between your shoulder and your ear. This pose emphasizes shoulder stability to prepare for paddling and popping up. Keep your legs and core strong here to avoid dumping into your shoulder.
7. Tree Pose
To practice balance and focus before you do it on your board, move into tree pose. Standing with your feet together, transfer your weight onto one foot and plant it firmly into the ground. Bend your other leg, and bring your knee out to the side and place the sole of your foot above the standing knee. Feel free to place the sole of your foot below the knee if your hips are feeling tight. As you find your balance, bring your hands to heart center.
8. Wild Thing
After doing both sides of your tree pose, make your way to downward dog. Lift your left leg towards the sky to come into three-legged dog. Transfer your weight onto your right hand, roll onto the outer edge of your right foot. With your left leg lifted, bend at the knee and step your left foot back, placing your toes on the floor. From here, lift your hips higher and sweep your left hand over your head. Make sure to do this on the other side as well to warm up both arms and shoulders.
9. Child’s Pose
From wild thing, come back to down dog. Drop your knees wide while keeping your feet together and sit back on your heels. Relax your forehead into the earth and exhale. Bring your attention to your breath as it moves in and out of your body. This mind/body connection will help prepare you for the waves ahead.
Everyday activities like sitting at a desk, staring at a computer, hunching over a cell phone or even holding a bag consistently on one side can cause stagnancy, stiffness and fatigue in the body. As habits build, poor posture can easily become second nature, causing back and neck pain and even damaging spinal structures.
However, the main factors that affect posture are totally within our control, and aren’t difficult to change with consistent awareness. If you’re sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, the following tips will help support you in maintaining a better posture.