Yoga is increasingly popular amongst the surfing community, whether it’s to stay supple, improve balance or to get away from it all and de-stress; surfers all around the world are using the ancient Indian exercises to improve their board skills and general well being. Yoga is certainly something everyone should try at least once, particularly if you’re someone looking to improve your wave-riding prowess. Regardless of its appeal, Yoga can still be intimidating to newcomers so if you don’t know your Virabhadrasana from your Tadasana, we’re here to give you some top tips for getting started.
BEFORE YOU START
First things first, you’ll need to find a flat surface with enough room to lay length-ways in any direction, a yoga mat or at least some sort of soft surface which has enough grip for the exercises, and some time to really give yourself a chance to explore. Yoga can feel awkward and even embarrassing initially so giving yourself time to work out what works for you is important.
There’s some really simple exercises to get you off the mark and we’re going to describe two for you here with one, slightly more testing position, added in at the end for those of you wanting to push yourself early on.
Firstly, the Warrior position is a relatively simple position but will make a big difference to your balance and leg strength if done properly. Step forward with your right foot, turn your left foot 45 degrees to the left and bend your right knee so your ankle and knee are in line. Meanwhile, bring your arms above your head, straight and hand-to-hand in line with your body. Remember to keep your chest out and look up to your hands. Switch legs and repeat.
Secondly, the Boat pose is great for starting to improve your abs and core strength. Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you and your hands flat by your side, slightly behind your seat. Lean onto your hands, lifting your legs with your abs and once balanced at 45 degrees bring your arms out in front of you level with the ground and hold the pose. Remember to control your breathing throughout and move into the position a controlled and steady fashion.
Lastly, on this whistle-stop tour of some beginner poses, we come to the Wheel. Avoiding injury and flexibility are the key outcomes of this initially daunting position. Start by lying flat on your back and pressing your feet into the ground by your hips. Place your hands flat, behind your head with your fingers pointing down towards your feet, now raise your belly into the air and hold. Once again remember to bring your body into this position in a controlled and steady manner, always controlling your breathing.