Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Remembering like yesterday my first time trying to surf. I LOVED IT :-) Lying on the board, struggling to paddle and keep balance, going a long with the speed of the white water, feeling exhilarated! From that day I was hooked. Every chance I got I went traveling to find waves and even went surfing in the country I lived... Holland when the days allowed it. My whole mind was set on surf, it was even a time in my life that I put my Yoga practice a side just to get in that extra surf time. You can imagine then what a disappointment it was that after a year of full on surf practice, I still didn't seem to be able to get my pop up right... That back foot just kept on getting stuck, dropping my knee on the board first before I was able to plant my foot where it needed to be..
It wasn't until I got so desperate and started practicing my pop up on my yoga mat, that I recognized the enormous connection between Yoga & Surf... As one of the best examples of comparison is your take off on your surfboard and going from Downward facing Dog to a full lunge. If you are finding the latter hard and you need to every time grab the back of your foot to place it those few centimeters further so that it is right between your hands and your ankle in a 90degree angle with your knee. Great changes are that you then, like me at that moment, are also having difficulty with your take off.
This was such an eye opener for me, especially as this was a time in my yoga practice that I was also struggling, with my hips... And I found out that a take off, just like placing your foot between your hand from Down ward facing dog to high lunge has all to do with hip flexibility and core strength.
So to help you a long and hopefully improve faster with your take offs. These are some simple tricks on how to engage the core strength during this flow so that you can practice it on your Yoga mat and into the Ocean:
1. Slow it down. The next time you try this maneuver, do it as slowly and deliberately as possible. When it starts to get difficult, make sure you're engaging your core by pulling your belly in and pushing the floor away with your hands.
2. Pay attention. One of the best ways to transform your body is by noticing when you fall into your old patterns, and making a conscious effort to break the habits. In this case, notice when you tend to stop engaging your core (you'll know you're not engaging if your foot makes a loud noise when it hits the floor). Then, try the action again with awareness.
3. Work your core. Practice moving slowly from Downward Dog to Plank and back again, remembering to engage your core by pulling the belly toward your spine and pushing the floor away with your hands. Then, from Down Dog, lift one foot behind you and keep it up as you rock forward into Plank Pose, bringing your knee into your body and toward your nose.
In your Yoga practice you can start adding poses like Baddha Konasana, Ananda balasana, Malasana and Parsvokanasana to open up your hips and create strenght in your legs and of course flow as often as possible from your Adho Mukha Svanasana to your High Lunge using the steps described above.
But above all have fun & enjoy!
Namaste, love & light,