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Yoga Poses That Will
Help you Surf Better

MAY Newsletter from Hawaiian South Shore

During challenging times, sometimes the best thing to do is to look for the silver lining. The months of March and April were hard for a lot of people, due to illness, lost jobs, financial difficulties, and the global pandemic/economic shutdown as a whole. To make matters worse, in many places around the world, surfers were restricted from paddling out and enjoying the natural healing that the ocean provides to our bodies, minds, and souls. But during times like this, when our daily routines are upset and we are unable to do the things we love to do the most, we have an opportunity to branch out and broaden our lives by learning and embracing new, healthy practices. Over the past couple of months,more surfers than ever turned to yoga as a physical practice that they could do while sheltering at home—and that kept them fit and flexible for when the surf was once again accessible.

Hawaiian South Shore’s favorite yoga teacher Kilty Inafuku (www.kiltyyoga.com) has been leading donation-based online classes throughout the COVID-19 crisis, helping people stay grounded and healthy during this difficult time. Today, she talks to us about why yoga is so important for surfers and teaches us five yoga poses we should all be doing before and after we paddle out.

Why Yoga Is Important for Surfers?

Yoga is not just a physical activity itself, but also an important complement to the other types of exercise that we do. Overstretching muscles and requiring them to perform a range of motion where they cannot recruit power can cause injuries, so it is important to prepare for activity by performing postures that both make muscles stronger and improve range of motion.

Other factors that can cause injury include repetitive motion and overuse and these are both problems that are very common in surfers. To mitigate these issues, it is important to perform poses that counteract this overuse—stretching what has been flexed and strengthening muscles that are neglected during your repetitive motion. Yoga is a great way to do all of this, keeping you stronger, more flexible, and healthier in both the short and long run.

Different Poses for Different Muscles
Before a surf session, it is a good idea to stretch your body and warm it up for the movements you will soon be doing. You want to prepare your body for actions such as paddling and riding waves. And the same holds true after a session when your body is recovering. The muscles you use while surfing will likely be
pretty tight, so you will want to stretch them out to help them recover.


Paddling Muscles
Paddling uses muscles such as biceps, triceps, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, obliques, and rectus abdominus. Make sure you integrate stretches for the chest, side body, and anterior shoulders. Yoga poses that help with this include:

Hawaiian South Shore May 2020 Newsletter Yoga Poses That Will Help you Surf Better

Uttanasana (forward fold), with arm variation of fingers interlaced behind back: From a standing position, hinge at the hips into a forward fold. If your low back is extra tight, it may help to maintain a bend in the knees. Then interlace your fingers behind your back and reach your fists away from your back and
overhead.

Hawaiian South Shore May 2020 Newsletter Yoga Poses That Will Help you Surf Better

Prone chest opener: Lay prone on your stomach with your legs extended long. Reach your left arm out to the side, and rest it on the ground roughly at a 10 o’clock position. Place your right hand next to your right shoulder, with the palm on the ground. Pressing the palm into the ground will help with the next step.
Bend your right knee and slowly roll toward your left hip, until your right foot touches the ground behind you. Only go as far as you can comfortably feel a stretch across the front of your left shoulder. Once you hit that point, stop and rest your left ear on the ground, or alternatively a pillow/towel/block. Gently press
your left palm into the ground. This action helps to cultivate strength while your muscles are in a greater range of motion. Allow five breaths. Be gentle when you ease-out, and repeat on the second side.

Lower Back Muscles
When we lie on our boards, we often arch our backs and raise our chests, which helps us paddle faster and maintain balance while paddling. Unfortunately, this also stresses the back and shoulder muscles, such as the paraspinal muscles and trapezius. Use these two poses to stretch the posterior shoulders and back:
When we lie on our boards, we often arch our backs and raise our chests, which helps us paddle faster and maintain balance while paddling. Unfortunately, this also stresses the back and shoulder muscles, such as the paraspinal muscles and trapezius. Use these two poses to stretch the posterior shoulders and back:

Hawaiian South Shore May 2020 Newsletter - Yoga Poses That Will Help you Surf Better

Garudasana (eagle) arms: Cross your right arm/elbow under your left, and pull the backs of your hands toward one another. If you have the range of motion, you can even hook your palms together. Lift your fingers up toward the sky and press your elbows forward to create a stretch in between your shoulder blades. Allow
five breaths, and repeat on the second side.

Hawaiian South Shore May 2020 Newsletter - Yoga Poses That Will Help you Surf Better

Thread the needle: Start in a tabletop position, on your hands and knees. Thread
your left arm behind the right wrist until your left ear and shoulder come to rest on the ground. Your left palm will be facing up toward the sky. This position yields a generous twist for the spine, especially if you press your right palm into the ground and encourage the twist. Simultaneously, press the back of your left arm down into the ground. This action helps to cultivate strength while your muscles are in a greater range of motion. Allow five breaths. Be gentle when you come out and back up to both hands, and repeat on the second side.


Core and Lower Body
Riding waves and pumping down the line requires a lot of effort from your core and lower body. The act of surfing often requires you to twist your upper body and put a lot of weight on the back leg, which can tighten up the glutes, abs, quads, and hip flexors. Stretch these muscles out by using this yoga pose:

Hawaiian South Shore May 2020 Newsletter -Yoga Poses That Will Help you Surf Better

Lizard pose: From a standing position, fold forward and lunge your right foot back. Lower the back (right) knee down to the ground. Bring both hands to the inside of your front (left) foot. Stay up on your hands, or even fingertips. Allow a subtle tuck of the tailbone, and create the action of dragging the back knee toward the front foot. Although no part of your body will actually move from its position, the action will engage the quadriceps and hip flexors while they are in an elongated position. Allow five breaths. Repeat on the second side.

MORE TO READ...

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  2.  How to Paddle Out
  3. Swells 101: How Are Waves Formed?
  4. Fuel for Athletes: The Delicious Benefits of Oatmeal
  5. How to Prepare for a Big Swell - Matt Rott

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