I’m amazed by what 15 minutes of Yoga a week can do!
I started going to Yoga classes, only once a week or so, 2 years ago. Initially, it didn’t grip me like it has other people. But over time it grew on me, as I started to see the benefits. I never enjoyed stretching and found the process a bit painful. It was nearly impossible to touch my toes, which is a terrible state for a surfer and kitesurfer to be in. However, I noticed after a few yoga sessions that I was able to do much more than just touch my toes. I was able to wrap my fingers around the balls of my feet and hold them there, in a relaxed, comfortable state! It was damn incredible. The best part was that I didn’t feel any pain at all throughout the yoga! I was unconsciously giving myself a thorough stretch! Since then, I’ve been amazed by what 15 minutes of yoga a week can do. Sure, I prefer to do more, but I can still maintain my flexibility and prevent injury with just 15 minutes of self-love – and it is so important! I’ll tell you why:
Big air kitesurfing places an immense amount of strain on your lumbar region (your harness pulls you from this region), knees and ankles (landings and crash landings). Over the years I’ve learnt that your body needs to be able to move fluidly and unencumbered through certain motions in order to prevent injury. In particular, you need to be comfortable and familiar with extension and flexion movements, shown in this image:
For example, when you’re coming down hard and fast and you’re going to crash, as can be the case with a loop gone wrong, a) your body needs to be able to enter extreme ranges of motion and b) your muscles need to be strong enough to keep your body in one piece, preventing dislocation.
I practice some basic yoga that I’ve picked up over the years to loosen up my hamstrings and lower back – those regions are the focus, but as you can see, I also stretch my shoulders, neck, ankles etc.
It’s especially important to have stretched your hamstrings before a session, as these muscles link up with your lower back, and are an extremely common source of tension all along your body, in the modern man – considering how often most of us sit.
As for the strength part, I practice calisthenics and bouldering (technical rock climbing, at low heights, with pads underneath you to break your fall), but more on that in my next post!