If I could offer anyone my one golden nugget of advice in life it would probably be to breathe. Which, considering it something we have all got going on all day, every day, is possibly a little deflating. But its something that, when we think about it, can totally chance a situation.
So when people come to the Flow studio, worried they wont get their breathing right in class, we always reassure them if they are breathing comfortably, they are doing a great job.
By taking away the effort, the strain, the force & complexity of ‘getting it right’ & allowing your body & breath to guide you, it means you can tune in and reap the true benefits of healthy movement.
This principle can be taken into anything you do. I feel the one golden asset you have is getting to know your body really well. How do you feel? Noticing your breath, where your body is, using your whole body & moving easily. These principles are taken from my yoga training with Strala yoga. With Strala, you will often hear the phrase ‘move easy, everything you’ve got, in every direction’.
Take this into surfing, when you paddle out, when you position yourself, pop up & ultimately ride the wave, all this is done by learning how you move, where your body is. The more relaxed you are, the more comfortable you are & the more aware of how to move your body easily & fluidly enables you to move into the next phase of the movement. Paying attention to your breathing is a great way of connecting to how you are doing, right now.
So often we hear people straining, pushing, stiffening. So how can we put this into practice to help us both in the water and in life?
- A great place to start is downward dog, seeing this ‘pose’ as more of an area than a static posture. Start by moving around a little, pressing into one heel at a time, maybe roll about a bit in the hips & belly, sway a little side to side
- From here inhale and allow the hips to lift you high onto your tiptoes, exhale and soften right back down. Repeat this 2 more times, just allowing the breath to guide the body
- Then inhale high onto the toes again, this time rolling the spine out to a plank position with a nice smooth wave looking forward. Settling in here, move around a little. Breath here for a few moments, try and make yourself as comfortable around this plank as possible
- Then gently sinking the hips and knees into an up dog, rolling around a bit in the belly, maybe look over one shoulder then the other, softening through the shoulders and elbows
- Sink down onto your belly, interlacing the fingers behind for a big stretch up as you breathe in
- Planting the palms, a big inhale lifts you all the way up to top of your push up, exhale softens you back down. Repeat this a few times, inhaling your body all the way up, exhaling yourself down
- Then lifting the hips a little take a big breath in and roll onto a side plank on your left hand side, keeping your feet unstacked or stacked. Again, roll around here using your breath to help you get comfortable
- From here then roll back through the plank pose, softening through the body as you move from one side, inhaling and opening everything up to the other side for a few easy breaths
- Then gently sinking the hips and knees into an up dog, rolling around a bit in the belly, maybe look over one shoulder then the other, softening through the shoulders and elbows.
- Then gently settle the hips back into child’s pose for a few breaths, moving round here however feels good for you
This little sequence is great to do any time, be it before/after a surf, or if you are feeling a little creative lull with life. Next time you go for a surf, you might be getting a little frustrated with your pop up or duck. Take a big breath, notice where your whole body is, visualise the easiest way to get to your feet, or duck dive. Keep breathing, softening & trust me, you’ve got this.
Watch the full sequence here!