SUP & Yoga: How to recover with Yoga after your Stand-up-Paddling workout?

Author: Katja Schäfer, www.cocoSUP.de

How to recover with Yoga after your Stand-up-Paddling workout

Yoga is an instrument wich helps us balancing our body, mind and soul. You can calm your mind, improve your concentration and compensate physical imbalances.

The awareness about yoga increases daily. You can see it is already included in the daily training routine in other sports. For example the German soccer team is using Yoga for regeneration and preperation. The whole team has benefited from Yoga in 2014 when they won the soccer world championship because their coaches were ready to go new ways. Yoga is now accepted in the team as part of the training.

So why don’t we practice Yoga as part of other sports?

As I am doing Stand-up-Paddling (SUP), I am curious to see how Yoga can affect the workout and regeneration time of a Stand-up-Paddler.

Stand-up-Paddling is a very nice and smooth workout for the whole body. It strengthens the core muscles, the abdominal muscles as much as the arms and shoulders. Also it is challanging for your balance and it calms you down while being out in nature and on the water.

However, a lot of Stand-up-Paddlers suffer from tensions in different parts of the body after their workout. The main problems are located in the feet and lower back and are caused by the long time spent standing and balancing on the board.  Tired shoulders and arms are also a common issue for the paddler.

Recovering Yoga session for Stand up paddlers

The following sequence is concentrating on how Yoga can help to release the pain and tensions in your body after paddling. The holding posturers should ideally be held for 2-3 minutes. If you can’t hold them that long, release the posture ealier in a safe way.

If you haven’t practiced yoga before, you might want to see a qualified yoga teacher before performing the sequence. They can help you to align all the postures in a healthy way and can point out the body parts you should focus on during the practice.

Tadasana

Start the sequence in standing position/Tadasana and take a couple of deep long breaths to show your body it’s time to come down and relax now.

Preparing Arms and Wrists

Slowly start bending your wrists up and down in front of your body for a while and continue with wrist rotation clockwise and anticlockwise. After that, focus on your shoulders. Bend your arms and place your hands on the shoulders. Now draw big circles with your elbows also clockwise and anticlockwise. As you lift your elbows inhale, as you lower them, exhale.

Preparing Feet and Legs

Now give treatment to your feet. Move the toes of your right foot up and down, lift and rotate your ankle in both directions. Continue with extending (inhale) and bending (exhale) your knee. Repeat with your left foot.

Forward Bend

Coming to the performance of the standing forward bend / Pada Hastasana. The standing forward bend will make your spine becomes supple and lengthened. It mobilises your  joints and it gives a good stretch to the back muscles of your legs and lower body. Grab your elbows and just hang there for a while. Surrender yourself to feel the benefits of this posture.

Table Top Position

Come into table top position, with fingers facing towards your knees. Push yourself slightly forwards and backwards to stretch and mobilise you lower arms.

Leg Raising

Come to seating position with legs extended. Straighten your spine and lift up your right leg. Grab your shin-bone, ankle or toes, it doesn’t matter how far you can reach, but keep your leg straight, as you inhale slowly pull your leg towards you. If you can’t pull it, just hold it and keep breathing, Keep your back straight. You should feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Repeat this posture with your left leg and hold each side for about two minutes if you can.

Butterfly

Continue in butterfly position to losen up your inner thighs by lifting and lowering your knees in this position. For two minutes fly mentally to your favourite beach but make sure you come back.

Half Spinal Twist

From butterfly come to half spinal twist. This sitting asana does not only help to relax your whole back after paddling, it also improves the rotation of the spine in both directions. While paddling you rotate your spine with every stroke. As you switch the side of the paddle and continue there you twist your spine also to the other side.  The space in between your vertebrae that you are creating during the performance of the half spinal twist will make your stroke even stronger during your next workout.

Shoulderstand

The next practice is shoulderstand. Performing this asana is giving a bunch of benefits to your body.  As you are in an inverted position the venous blood can not stagnate in the lower limbs. This improves the blood circulation which gives great relaxation to the feet and legs of the paddler, as he is standing on his feet during the whole paddle session. It also gives a stretch to the shoulders to release the tension.

Bridge and Fish

Now do the counterposes for shoulderstand; the bridge and the fish. The bridge gives a stretch to the thoracic and lumber region of the spine in the other direction. So at the same time it relieves tension in the lower back and improves the strength in your abdominal and lumber muscles. When holding the fish posture you profit from a natural massage in your shoulders and neck and it increases your lung capacity. Improved lung capacity equates to better fitness or stamina and will make your paddling workout more enjoyable.

Bow

The paddlers final pose is the bow. It is a full back bend which opens the chest to improve the breathing. And finally it’s also a very good lower back pain reliever.

Savasana

After this sequence you should rest in Savasana for 5-10 minutes and relax all parts of your body, from the toes to the top of your head. Now your body and mind can soak up all the nice benefits you have given them and they can let go all remaining tension after SUP.

No time? Try this quick relief!

If you don’t have much time to practice the full sequence but still want to give yourself a nice relieving treatment, use the time while your SUP-board is getting dry and just practice forward bend, half spinal twist, bridge, fish, bow and savsana. It only takes a few minutes and it makes you feel great after paddling.

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