Yoga Sequence: 6 yoga moves to help strengthen your core
Want to get into surfing this year, but not sure how to prepare yourself? Rachel Lingham, head of pop-up retreats for Soul & Surf, is here to help with this yoga sequence. Rachel uses these six moves daily as a way to strengthen her core, and get fit and ready to hit the waves.
The short, high-intensity sun-salutation yoga sequence can be completed in 10 minutes and will train you and your core so you can easily spring to your feet and will help increase flexibility in hips and hamstrings for better turns and also build strength in biceps, triceps and shoulders.
Although perfect for preparing you for the surfboard, this speedy and snappy workout is also great for anyone looking to strengthen the core.
Check out Rachel’s six-step yoga sequence, which you can repeat as many times as you like:
THE YOGA SEQUENCE
1. CHAIR VARIATION
For Glutes and Hip Flexors
Start in a standing position with your left foot on the floor and place your right ankle just above the left knee.
Slowly sit back with your hips to increase the stretch, taking your hands out in front of you.
Hold for two to five breaths and repeat on the other side.
2. DIVERS STRETCH
For Rotator Cuffs and Hamstrings
Interlock your fingers behind your back, and slowly lift the hands up. Allow your head to draw down further as you fold forward.
If you would like more of a hamstring stretch, slowly straighten your legs without locking your knees, and draw the hands away from the lower back to deepen the stretch across the shoulders.
3. PLANK TO CHATURANGA
For Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs, Glutes, Hamstrings, everything!
In High Plank, shoulders are in line with the wrists, the body is in a straight line and the heels are pressing backwards. If it’s too much, then pop the knees down.
Hold here for a full breath, hug the elbows in towards the ribs and press down into a low push up (Chaturanga) with the elbows tracking backwards.
As you move the body down, make sure that the core is engaged by lifting the pelvic floor and pulling the belly button in and up – don’t allow the elbows to dip below the shoulders.
If you feel strong, you can press back up into Plank (without letting the hips sag to the floor) before lowering yourself all the way to your belly for Cobra.
For Lower Back
Press the palms into the floor and lift the chest. Shoulders are moving away from the ears, and the pelvis presses down into the mat.
As you lift your chest, make sure the front of the core is engaged too.
5. FIVE POP-UPS
Now for the fun part. From Cobra, pop up with your leading foot landing between your hands, staying low (the action is like a twisted burpee!)
If you’re a surfer and use a longer board, using your toes to help is an option, but if you surf a shortboard, then practice springing up from your thighs (keep the feet lifted before you jump to avoid using them.)
Keep your hands on the floor as you jump into this low, drop-knee position.
Then step back to high plank (or jump to Chaturanga if you are full of energy!) ready to lower down for four more pop ups.
After the fifth pop, step back to Plank and press back into Downward Dog
6. DOWN DOG
For Shoulders, Arms, Chest, Hamstrings and Calves
Take five breaths in Down Dog. Hands are shoulder-width, feet hip-width.
Press evenly into the fingers and knuckles, move the shoulders down the back, away from the ears, and lift the hips high.
You can keep the knees a little bent if you like, and don’t worry if your heels don’t come all the way to the floor.
When you have finished your five breaths here, step forward to the front of the mat to start again.
Rachel Lingham is head of pop-up retreats for surfing and yoga specialist, Soul & Surf. Soul & Surf have three permanent surfing and yoga retreats in Kerala, Sri Lanka and Portugal and also run pop-up retreats in Peru and Lombok. To find out more visit www.soulandsurf.com. Photography by Peter Chamberlain.