Standing postures in Yoga are a great way to integrate the activation of your lower body, core and upper body. This basically means to maintain balance in a standing posture your legs need to be active, your core engaged, and your upper body stable yet soft.
These principles also apply in the proficient completion of nearly every surfing turn, from nailing an air reverse like Chippa Wilson, to maintaining control in a monster barrel like Anthony Walsh. By completing Surfbodysoul standing Yoga postures regularly these surfers have the ability to transfer power efficiently between their legs and upper body. This translates to power surfing, using less effort, whilst helping to provide that graceful touch to your surf sliding.
Today we will examine a posture I include in both Chippa and Walshy’s Surfbodysoul program named the ‘Triangle Posture’, or in ancient Sanskrit ‘Utthita Trikonasana’. Apart from the benefits listed above this specific posture stretches and lengthens the entire side of our torso, including the ‘Latissimus Dorsi’ (lats) and ‘Quadratus Lumborum’. Why is this important for surfers? Quite simply the ‘Lats’ are one of primary paddling muscles used to draw the arms through the water. By stretching our lats we maintain movement in our shoulders, and can more freely reach our arm forward in the paddling motion, improving overall efficiency. The Quadratus Lumborum is a triangle shaped muscle originating at the side of our pelvis on either side, which then runs and attaches to the lower back or spine. By keeping this muscle flexible we increase our ability to laterally flex the spine, or bend sideways. This gives us a major advantage in completing turns that involve a critical change of direction that requires this side bend. Examples include rotating through a re-entry, sharpening that roundhouse cutback arc, or compressing the body sideways in flight. Keeping this muscle flexible also reduces the risk of debilitating lower back injury.
So now we know the benefits, lets take a look at the steps involved to complete this posture safely and effectively:
- Triangle Posture (Utthita Trikonasana)
- Step the feet just over a meter apart
- Turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right
- Turn the left foot slightly toward the right
- Extend (reach) the arms parallel to the floor/at shoulder height
- Inhale, reach and extend the right arm towards the side
- Exhale too lower the right hand in front of the right leg as demonstrated in the photo
- Extend the left hand directly upward above the left shoulder
- Tuck the chin in towards the chest and gaze up past the left hand without forcing the head and neck
- Hold and breathe for 6-10 smooth breaths in and out of the nose
- To release raise the right arm as you lower the left to return to an upright position
- Repeat on the left side
Add this posture to the middle of your morning practice after you have warmed up. I look forward to seeing you on the mat, or in the water!