Yoga Warm-Up & Stretching in Sayulita for beginner and intermediate Surfers

By Ana Zarzosa,

Warming It Up!

Reaching out from #Sayulita to all the surfers in the Punta Mita area in México and around the globe, who are looking to improve their  surfing skills and find strenght and release prior and after hitting the waves, here are some useful yoga exercises:

To warm up with some modified #Sun_salutations, start in #Tadasana, standing with your feet hip-width apart, pelvis in neutral tilt and shoulders relaxed, with arms alongside your body. Lift your arms above head as you inhale (1), exhale and fold forward from your hips, keeping your knees bent, a little bit or a lot, but enough to lie your belly close to your thighs (2, #Uttanasana).

On your next inhale, extend your spine and straighten your legs, gaze forward and neck relaxed, coming to an L-shape with your spine and legs (3, #ardha_uttanasana). Exhale as you plant your palms on the ground (4), and step both feet back, reaching a planck position, hands shoulder width apart, and feet at hip-width (5). Inhale in planck, then slowly lower all the way to your belly as you exhale; option to lower with knees, chest and chin (6), or the traditional #Chaturanga, keeping the core strong, elbows close to your body and straight line from crown to tail bone.

Inhale and raise your chest above the ground for cobra pose, keeping the elbows bent back and close to your body, shoulders away from your ears, no tension on the lower back (7 & 8). Exhale and press back, knees on the floor, then press the hips up and back to reach an inverted V shape, for #Downdog (9).

To spice it up, inhale, lifting your heels high, bend your knees, keeping the arms straight and strong, look forward and hop forward, aiming to tap your heels to your buttocks, at least five times, back and forward. This should get the heart rate pumping (10). After 5 –#bunny_hops-, land back on the front of the mat, with your belly lying on your thighs, bowing forward in #Uttanasana (11).

Inhale and lift half-way up, to extend spine and legs to that “L” shape position. Exhale and fold back down again (12).

Inhale as you bend your knees and lower your hips like sitting on a chair, sweeping your arms along the floor and raising them up (13, #Utkatasana). Take one round of breath, then seat all the way down on the floor (no hands!), reaching a “V” shape, #Navasana or #boat_pose (14 &14a).

In #Navasana, keep a bent at the knees to bring the shins parallel to the floor, spine straight, chest high, belly strong and arms along side (or on the floor for support). Start rowing the boat by inhaling and lowering the spine (almost til your shoulder-blades touch the ground) and straightening the legs to hover close to the floor (15 & 15a). Then, exhale and come back up. Row it up and down at least 10 times. Hug your knees to your chest, round your spine, rock back and forth on your spine, pick up momentum and try to stand up all the way back to your imaginary chair,Utkatasana (16). Exhale and press up to stand again (17). Repeat the whole sequence once more; maybe addhandstand pikes instead of #bunny_hops.

Stretch It Out! 
The following Yoga poses are aimed at stretching the back side of the body, which is constantly used and strengthened during surfing (raising the torso like cobra, during paddling and #pop-ups); also, we try to stretch the shoulder girdle musculature, from the front of the chest and shoulders, triceps and upper back and neck. Additionally, re-lengthening the side body helps in recovering overall torso mobility and promotes tension release.

Start with your feet hip-width apart (or wider) and bend forward from your hips (#Uttanasana), keeping the knees bent, relax all the torso, lying your belly close to the top of your thighs, let your arms hang along-side (18). Then go ahead and clasp your hands behind your lower back, keeping the heels of your hands together, if possible. Then stretch the elbows and raise your arms up and forward, stretching the shoulders, stay within a comfortable feel-good-stretch (19).

Slowly make your way to the floor and stand on hands & knees; hands as wide as your shoulders and knees directly below your hips (20). Then push your hips back toward your heels and place your elbows where your hands were. Keep the palms together and slowly lower your chest down between your arms, stretching the front of the chest and around the armpit area. The closer your elbows are from each other, the more intense the stretch will be. Bring your thumbs back toward the back of your head if you want (21, #Puppy_pose).

Carefully, push your elbows into the floor and using the strength of your belly start lifting your torso back up, place your palms on the floor again and make your way to a seated posture.

Cross-legged, try to stack your knees, one on top of the other for #Gomukasana (cow-face pose). Start with the right knee on top of the left and bring your heels closer to your hips to make it easier (for the hips) or further away with the shins in a parallel line, to make it more intense. Then reach your left arm up and bend the elbow, reaching with your hand behind your back; take your right arm to the side and then bend the elbow back, reaching the palm upward to clasp your left hand between your shoulder blades. If you can’t reach, grab a strap, towel, T-shirt or any other piece of clothing that can breach the gap between your hands, and clasp that instead. You should feel the stretch in the left triceps and the front of your right shoulder and upper arm (22). Repeat on the other side, changing the crossing of your legs and position of the arms.

Lie down on your back, feet hip-width on the floor with knees bent, relax the upper body down, arms to your sides. Then place your right ankle on top of your left knee, flexing the foot gently to keep a square angle on your right knee. In this position, bring your left knee toward your chest and belly, and thread your hands through the space between your legs to grab the top (or below) of your left knee; try to drop the shoulders relaxed and just make the effort with the hands. In this manner you will stretch the right outer hip (23). Repeat on the other side (24).

Keep lying back on the floor and bring your knees together toward your chest. Arms to the sides, in a T-position, drop both knees toward the right, and turn your head toward the left in a simple spinal twist. Twist to the other side after a few moments in this pose (25).

Come back to center and then stretch your legs out and arms along side your body, lying flat on the floor for #Savasana, the final relaxation pose. Stay as long as you can and feel ready for the next #surf session.


Written by: Ana Zarzosa, Yoga Instructor 200hr


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