5 YOGA POSES EVERY SURFER SHOULD PRACTICE
Surfing and yoga in Sri Lanka take a rightfully important place and seem to be seamlessly woven together by the surf travel industry for a good reason. Surfing and traveling both take a toll on the body. Surfing Sri Lanka’s epic, warm water breaks, and the journey it takes to get there is bound to leave travelers and surfers worn out. Despite the many health benefits of surfing, its asymmetrical nature inevitability leads to soreness and even chronic injury. Every aspect of surfing from paddling to sitting on the board, and to riding waves, is done in a “closed hip stance.” So, in addition to chronic shoulder injuries from over paddling, surfers are also prone to hip soreness and injury. Fortunately for surfers everywhere, and especially travelers who are surfing in Sri Lanka, yoga can remedy nearly all surf-related injuries and ailments. Continue below to learn 10 Yoga Poses Every Surfer Should Practice. Each pose should be practiced under the careful guidance of a qualified professional, like those you will find at our Sri Lanka surf and yoga camp, The Surfer Weligama.
1. High Plank
The High Plank yoga pose may seem simple, but it is a highly effective strength-building pose. The High Plank nearly identically resembles the top of a push-up in the surfing, but with a focus on spinal alignment and core tension. When done correctly, and held for extended periods of time, the High Plank will strengthen the core and shoulders, so vital for surf progression.
To perform, begin with your hands placed firmly into the floor and your feet extended as if you were about to perform a push-up. Rise to your toes, while bracing your core and keeping a flat back with your gaze down between your hands. High Plank is an ideal pose to hold for extended periods or to incorporate into a Vinyasa flow. A simple Vinyasa to warm up for your next Sri Lanka surf is to flow between High Plank, Downward Facing Dog, and Upward-Facing Dog.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog might be the most recognizable yoga pose out there. If you’re surfing in Sri Lanka, especially if you’re visiting our Sri Lanka surf and yoga camp, The Surfer Weligama, you’re bound to encounter this pose. While the pose is relatively simple, its benefits are plentiful. Downward Facing Dog strengthens the paddling muscles in the shoulders while elongating the hamstrings and calves. Downward Facing Dog is a great pre-surf pose to stretch your legs and warm up your paddle muscle before heading out to surf Sri Lanka’s gorgeous waves.
To perform, begin in the High Plank position, with your elbows locked, legs extended, and your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping a firm, straight back, walk your feet up in the direction of your hands until your body forms a “V” shape. Keep your gaze towards your feet so that your spine stays in line. Spread your fingers and press your heels towards the floor.
3. Happy Baby
Happy Baby may not be the most strenuous pose in exitance, but it is an essential hip opener that will help remedy dreaded hip pain surfers often feel. As we mentioned above, all aspects of surfing from paddling and sitting in the lineup to riding waves, are performed in a closed hip position. Surfing in Sri Lanka or elsewhere, is bound to leave the average person with limited hip mobility, soreness, and even injury. So, after every Sri Lanka surf session, use hip opener stretches, like happy baby, to remedy hip soreness and pain.
To perform, begin lying on your back, with your lower back pressed firmly into the mat. Tighten the core and tilt the pelvis to fill the space between your lower back and the floor. Lift your feet off the mat, and bring your knees towards the chest, without bringing your tail bone off the mat. Reach your hands down and grab the outside of your feet. Rock slowly from side to side as you let your hands and gravity pull down on your feet to either side of your body.
4. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is an advanced hip opener that will bring immediate relief to your surf weary hips after a long Sri Lanka surf session. While some hip openers increase external rotation of the femur bone in the hip joint, and others lengthen the muscles in the hip flexor, Pigeon Pose does both. When Pigeon Pose is performed correctly, the front leg works on external rotation while the back leg elongates the hip flexor.
To perform, begin on all fours and bring your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Position your right ankle to fall in line with your left hip so that your shin is parallel with the top of your mat. Slide your left leg back and point your toes towards the back of the mat with your heel facing the ceiling. Square your hips. As you inhale, come onto your fingertips, lengthen your spine and raise your chest outward. As you exhale, walk your arms forward drawing your body closer and closer to the floor. Rest your forearms and forehead on the mat. Stay for five full breaths, then switch sides. This way your hips will always be stretched and strengthen, ready for another awesome surf in Sri Lanka.
5. The Chair Pose
Chair pose is possibly the most challenging pose on the list, but it also may be the most beneficial, from a strength-building standpoint. To spend hours surfing Sri Lanka’s world class waves, you need strong shoulders to paddle, a sturdy core to maneuver, and fresh legs to pump down the line. Chair pose is the ideal strength-building pose for surfers. When performed properly, chair pose strengthens the muscles in the legs while stretching the shoulders and chest.
To perform, stand with your feet together planted firmly into the mat and your arms by your sides. Inhale and raise your arms together to forty-five-degree angle upwards. Exhale, bend your knees and bring your tail down towards the mat as if you were going to sit in a chair behind you. Try to position your thighs parallel to the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, raise your chest and reach your arms upwards. Hold for several breaths.
At our Sri Lanka surf and yoga camp, we offer guests more than just surf lessons and surf guiding in near-perfect Sri Lanka surf, we provide a total travel experience that includes daily yoga classes.