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Yoga for Surfers offers flexibility for riding, conditioning when waves are flat

A yoga expert offers moves to help surfers stay injury free and strengthen surf-specific moves.
October 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The International Surfing Association estimates there are 23 million surfers globally, and it's a sport that continues to rise in popularity. To help stay afloat, one expert says doing yoga moves can help surfers stay injury-free. Here are some moves to make when the surf is up.

"You want to do something that's going to replenish your energy. And in my experience nothing does that better than yoga," says Peggy Hall.

Peggy Hall not only trains yoga instructors, she created a surfing yoga format years ago geared to those wanting to spend the day in the water.

"The one thing we all have in common is we want to surf our brains out," says Hall.

Because she was a competitive swimmer, Hall battled overuse injuries like tendinitis. But she didn't want to give up being in the water. So she came up with a hybrid that combines the calming poses of yoga that counteract the forward flexion moves of surfing.

"We stretch the back, the shoulders, the hips, the neck," says Hall.

Specifically the "throw it behind you" pose that opens chest and shoulders, increasing circulation while checking out the surf.

The "Tai Chi circle" releases spine, hip and shoulder tension.

There's a conditioning lunge that strengthens quadriceps, the muscles used to pop up on the board and maintain balance.

One thing surfers are always looking for is increased energy and stamina. One particular breathing exercise actually increases lung capacity.

"It's like when you blow out a birthday candle, you do a short 'phew' puff. Only you're doing it through your nose, exhaling only and you're using your diaphragm," says Hall.

"I'll do maybe two minutes of yoga before I get out in the water at all. So I can do it while I'm looking at the waves, checking out where I want to go, where I want to surf," says surfer David Hall.

Husband and longtime surfer David Hall says this type of yoga is not intense.

Try a quick pre-surf warm-up, then some deep-stretch poses post-surf, then sneak in conditioning yoga to stay fit when the surf is flat.

The DVDs cost about $30.


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