10 Beneficial Yoga Poses for Kiteboarders by Emely Freja

10 Beneficial Yoga Poses for Kiteboarders by Emely Freja

Here are ten poses or asanas, which are beneficial especially for kiteboarders both physically and mentally.

All yoga poses have benefits, physically and mentally, but I have chosen ten poses or asanas, as they are called in Indian Sanskrit, which is beneficial especially for kiteboarders!

There’s a lot more to each pose such as the breathing sensation, where to engage etc. But in this article I have tried to keep it short. It’s a good idea to keep each pose for a couple of breaths, in through the nose and out through the nose. Inhale all the way down to your stomach and exhale completely.   

1. Sun Salutations – Surya Namaskar

Why: Warm stretch and tone the muscles of the legs, hips, arms and spine. Tone and stimulate the internal organs. Teach us to flow with the rhythm of the breath.

It’s a good idea to do more salutations in a row without pausing in between. A good amount is five. (One is when you have repeated the cycle on both legs)

Sun salutations can be used as a great warm up before kiting.

How:

  • Start in tadasana – mountain pose – Inahle / exhale
  • Inhale –sweep your arms towards the sky and activate your buttocks as you slightly bend back.
  • Exhale come down with a straight back – heart leading to a standing forward fold.
  • Inhale – step your right leg back into a low lounge and place your knee and foot down – look up.
  • Hold your breath and step back into a plank.
  • Exhale knees, chest, chin down
  • Inhale cobra
  • Exhale tuck your toes under and lift your hips back into downward facing dog.
  • Inhale step your right foot between your hands, lower your knees and feet to the ground.
  • Exhale your left leg between your hands, look at your knees. 
  • Inhale come up with a straight back, tighten your buttocks in a slight backbend
  • Exhale your hands in front of your heart.
  • Repeat on opposite site

2. Downward facing dog / Adho muka svanasana

Why: Stretches and strengthens the spine, hips, legs, arms and shoulder. Kiters often feel a lot tension on their shoulders – downward facing dog, will you give you a nice release in this area.

How:

  • Come to hands and knees, with hands below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Walk your hands slightly forward of the shoulders and spread all fingers wide. Curl all ten toes under and lift your hips to the sky. Try to elongate through the spine and hips. Your feet don’t have to touch the ground.
Emely Freja

3. Plank pose – Uthita chaturanga dandasana

Why: Strenghtens the entire body, from the inside, out. Can bring presence in the body. If you’re jumping or unhooking you’re using your core a lot.  A strong core will reduce the risk of injuries in the rest of the body.

How:

  • From downward facing dog rises up on your toes and with the navel leading shift your body forward into plank pose. Press your heart forward and roll your shoulders back.
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4. Dolphin pose

Why: Strengthens especially the upper body. Upper body strength is really important especially if you wish to improve your unhooked skills.      

How:

From downward facing dog come down on your forearms. Keep the same engagements as in downward facing dog. If you want a challenge repeat this motion a couple of breaths. Try not to put your forearms down, but to glide them down.

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5. Warrier III / Virabradrasana III

Why: Increases your balance and strengthen the muscles in the standing leg. In kiting and especially in hard or uncontrolled landings there can be a lot of strain on your knees, therefore it’s extremely important to keep them strong. Balancing on one leg activates and strengthens all the small muscles in and around the knee.   

How:

  • Start with legs wide apart, hips and feet facing forward. Hinge slightly forward from the hips and come up onto the toes of the back foot. Hug the navel in. Slowly straighten the front leg, as you lift the bag leg up into a straight line with the torso or as high as possible. Either keep your hands in prayer position in front of your heart or straighten them alongside your ears.
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6. Wide legged forward fold with interlocked hands behind the back.

Why: Stretches legs, hamstring and opens up the shoulders, which are under a lot of tension while performing unhooked tricks.

How:

  • Take a wide stance with your feet; let the toes point slightly inwards. Lengthen through your spine and interlock your fingers behind your back, hinge forward from your hips with a straight back and the heart leading. When you cant get any further, slowly round your back. Let your arms fall over your head and try bringing your shoulder blades together on the back. Let the crown of your head sink down to the earth.
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7. Bridge pose – Setu Bandhasana

Why: Stretches the chest, neck, spine and hips. Strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings. If you’ve ever tried kiting for hours at a time or even just going in one direction for a while you know that your lower body is working! It’s a good idea to keep those muscles active and healthy so you have more stamina on the water.

How:  From a supine position plant your feet on the floor about 15cm from your sitting bones. Extend your arms down by your sides, palms flat on the floor. Engage the inner thigh muscles. Inhale as you lift your lower body up. Slightly draw the shoulders underneath the torso, interlace the hands and extend through the forearms. Extend the knees forward and lift the chest and drag it towards the chin. As a variation you can extend one leg towards the sky. To come out of the pose, release your arms and come down vertebrae by vertebrae, last thing touching the ground is the tailbone. 

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8. Head-to-knee pose / Janu Sirsasana

Why: opens all of the muscles along the backside of the body. Massages and brings circulation to the abdominal and reproductive organs.

How:

  • Sit in an upright position with your legs extended in front of you. Drag the right leg towards your left leg in a 90 degree position, so the feet touches your inner left thigh. Extend through your spine and the crown of your head, turn slightly towards the left leg and exhale as you hinge from the hips over the leg with your hearth leading. Repeat on the opposite site.
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9. Half lord of the fishes pose – Ardha Matsyendrasana

Why: Stimulates the liver and kidneys. Strengthens the spine. Stretches the hips, shoulders and neck. A really nice pose to do after your kite session to release tension from your muscles.

How:

  • Sit with your legs extended out in front of you – place your right feet over your left leg. If available for you, also drag your left heel to the side of your right buttock. Inhale as you straighten your spine and reaches the right arm towards the sky, exhale the arm to the outside of the right knee, the left arm goes around your back as close to your body as possible. As you inhale you straighten your back and as you exhale you twist deeper. Repeat on the opposite site.
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10. Savasana (corpse pose)

Why: Relaxes the whole body. Calms the mind and improves mental health. Reduces stress, cultivates body awareness.

How

  • Lay down on your back. Arms by your side palms facing up. Feet falling out to the side. Relax your entire body and the mind. Find a conscious relaxation. Feel the weight of your torso, legs, arms and head sink into the floor. Soften the face, the space between the eyebrows, the muscles around the eyes, and the jaw. Give yourself over to a conscious relaxation.
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