Until recently, a one hour surf would be followed by aches and pains and often a visit to the physio.
An MRI scan showed that I had broken a vertebrae in my lower spine which explains the numerous back issues I have had over the years. I was faced with the decision – “Do I give up surfing, which is my passion, or do I take positive steps to address my back problems?”
A friend of mine suggested I try yoga and so I started going to Emma Jaulin Yoga classes (formerly Hang Ten). Initially I found it very challenging and was easily the worst in the class.
At first I learnt the Downward Dog position which seems to be the basis of a lot of yoga moves. It involves putting the palms of your hands and feet on the floor, with your torso bent over and legs as straight as possible. This yoga position gives your back, hamstrings and calves a beautiful stretch. Initially I found the downward dog very hard to maintain but after a few classes, I can now hold the position comfortably.
Another good back exercise is the Cat and Cow position. This involves being on your hands and knees and alternating between arching your back skywards with your head down and dropping your chest downwards to the floor, lifting and extending your head and neck in the process.
My yoga has gone from strength to strength, as has the quality of my active life. I can indulge in my two main sports: surfing and stand-up-paddle boarding, and for the most part, remain injury free.
On a recent trip to Portugal, I took one of Emma’s new yoga videos and found a 30 minute stretch every evening kept me supple and raring to go for a surf the next day. I still managed to attend the obligatory “meeting” at the bar every evening at 7pm.
I would encourage anybody who has flexibility and injury problems to consider yoga to help resolve them.
Yoga – the way forward.