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Why Kitesurfing & Yoga
is a perfect match
There’s a reason why so many watersport athletes include a regular Yoga practice to their training in order to enhance their performance. As a kitesurfer, Yoga has many benefits for your body. Let’s find out why!
Originally Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions originated in ancient India. The primary spiritual aim of it was Uniting the human spirit with the Divine. The noun itself comes from Sanskrit root yuj to attach, join, harness, yoke. To put simply, it is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines with ultimate goal Moksha or liberation.
Although it depends on the philosophical or theological system in which it is integrated. Later gurus from India had introduced Yoga to the West where it took the form of a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique.
We will demonstrate you below why you should add Yoga practice in your daily life. Whether you are an athlete or simply a sport lover, Yoga is beneficial for everyone.
How Yoga can enhance your kitesurf performance
Enhance your performance and prevent injury by adding yoga to your daily plan.
Physical & Mental Aspect
Kitesurfing offers a whole range of sensations such as happiness, freedom and adrenaline. Moreover, kitesurfing is a complete workout, both physically and mentally; you’re using your bodyweight, stamina and concentration. We often forget to warm up before leaving for our kitesurfing session and our muscles as well as our concentration are constantly stressed.
Yoga is the key to prepare both, body and mind, for your kite sessions but also for your overall life. With additing Yoga to your daily practice, you will work other physical traits which will help you to improve your movements such as flexibility, balance and agility aspects. It can be in the morning to warm up your body or at night to relaxe it.
In kitesurfing we want the body to be able to do many different types of motions at once, which means that you absolutely need a strong core. To perform your bodyweight training, Yoga offers many exercices where your support muscles get a total workout.
The worst enemy in our daily life, for keeping a good balance and stay healthy, is stress. Not only the stress accumulated during physical activity, but also everything that invested you during the day.
Yoga is not only taking care of your body, but also includes moral (not harming, being truthful), relationship (generosity) and conscious (mediation, enlightenment) aspects – it is a way of life. The physical aspects of Yoga are to improve flexibility of vertebral and peripheral joints, but the asanas are ultimately for mental wellbeing. Pranayama is a practice part that focuses on breathing trough different techniques that are incorporated in exercices.
When you practice Yoga, you are clearing your mind and so, learning to focus more directly. But you can also strengthen your concentration by doing meditation exercises. Mindfulness meditation is simply paying attention to body and breath sensations, to better control how the brain processes pain and regulates emotions.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that allows the reduction of stress and so the Cortisol (the stress hormone). Practicing mindfulness constantly, allows the body to learn to relax and manage stressful moments in a healthier way. In addition, it helps to create a more positive and proactive mental approach to difficulties, which is also useful for improving sports performance.
Yoga also helps you stay away from injuries. Kitesurfing involves a lot of repetetive movements and therefore repetetive work load for the muscles. This makes you stiff and sore, which again makes the practice harder and can contribute to injuries. When kitesurfing, your neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and knees are especially at risk. Yoga can help you work against these big loads and make you recover faster from a day of kitesurfing.
As Yoga improves muscle strength and joint flexibility, it will protect against minor and major injuries while practicing the activity.
Practicing daily Yoga or simple stretching exercises can help you to prepare for the next season, your next Kite Trip and your overall life. With a bit of workout you can avoid silly sprains and subluxations or tense ambulance and even insurance company calls. Moreover, you will perform and progress way better with trained and ready to roll body than with rusty and unprepared skeletomuscular system.
If you want to kitesurf for the rest of your life, a daily Yoga practice is the key!
Overall, practicing Yoga can relieve stress and anxiety, may reduce inflammatory processes in the body, improve lung capacity, sleep quality and cardiovascular health.
Kitesurfing & Yoga
Some people say they don’t have the time to add yoga to their intense schedules. Others say, they don’t see how “Stretching & Breathing” can be a benefit in their sport activity. Some say, they’ve discovered yoga to recover from an injury.
Osteopath Point Of View
I am not a Yoga expert but through my studies of Osteopathy I developed a good expertise of the anatomy, the physiology and the balance of the body. From my point of view, Yoga is complementing Osteopathy, meaning it can only bring beneficial aspects to those who practice sports activities such as kitesurfing. Find out the 3 majors factors:
First principle of Osteopathy: The body is unit and the person represents a combination of body, mind and spirit; meaning that for an improvement of the body we have also to consider the mind and the spirit. In that way the Yoga, especially the respiratory and meditation part, allow improvement of mind and spirit and as consequence the holistic triangle (Mind, Body, Spirit) therefore the body. An article in the Jornal of Nurse practitioners present the benefits of mindfulness: Lindsay Maxwell, MN, NP, Elsie Duff, PhD(c), NP, (2016) .
Second principle of Osteopathy: The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance. I often say to my patients, if everyone was practicing Yoga I won’t have any work. Indeed by training, stretching the body with Yoga practice, the kitesurfer use the self capacity of its body to rebalance and therefore to avoid creating compensation which would predispose a body to lesion. As an example there are strong evidence that Yoga can help with low back pain in the following meta analysis: Cramer, Holger; Lauche, Romy; Haller, Heidemarie; Dobos, Gustav (2013). “A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Yoga for Low Back Pain”. The Clinical Journal of Pain. 29 (5): 450–460. doi:10.1097/AJP.0b013e31825e1492. PMID 23246998.
Third principle of Osteopathy: Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. Lesions can result from 2 different origin; somato-visceral meaning that the unbalanced structure is having consequences on an organ and therefore on its function or viscero-somatic meaning that the disfunction of the organ will generate an adaptation of the structure. Yoga will not only work on the posture and therefore the structure of the whole body but also on organ balance and respiration, so it will improve at the same time structure and function. On that note I highly recommend the practice of Chi-kung or Tai Chi.
Why all the benefits of Yoga listed above will improve your kitesurfing practice?
Simple working on the body balance, will improve the overall balance in every situation, included during your kite session, your propioception managing your balance being more trained will allow you to adapt you board position, to increase the preparation for a jump maintaining balance in air and probably more important to avoid lesion having a better reception. Yoga practice is used since years by surfers and will develop more and more in kitesurfing world.
Osteopath in Tarifa
If you have some injuries, back pains or some traumas and want further tips or simply looking for a good Osteopath in Tarifa, feel free to get in touch with Cédric.
Yoga Teacher Point Of View
Even if people stretch after making sport, they are usually just stretching the muscles in the same direction of thinking it has been used during the exercices. Yoga goes beyond simple stretching by working the muscles in depth, activating the little-used muscles that support the primary movers, through all ranges of motion movement.
To keep a good balance in your body it is important to work in 3 dimensions making sagittal, frontal and transversal movement as the Yoga practice is, to support and strengthen a full body development and keep it healthy.
Kitesurfing requires a high level of concentration and coordination in every movement so I will suggest you to practice Yoga ideally before, to warm up your body and after your kitesurf session, to relax your mind and stretch your muscles.
In Yoga It is important to listen to your body and not challenging yourself making hard postures. It is not a performance contest. A good Yoga class will make you get connected to yourself with the aim of findind your own flow. There are many Yoga styles, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha, Yin, Bikram … There is not one better than another, the best is to test different courses. Your intuition and your feelings will direct you towards the one that suits you!
Remember to warm up your body before your kitesurfing session and stretch it after.
INYOU - Yoga Teacher In Tarifa
If you need further tips or think about participating to Yoga classes in Tarifa, get in touch with Lætitia.
Starting with Yoga
Warning Before Starting
I have many patients presenting after yoga wrong practice, it is key to start with a profesional teacher who will show you the right movement depending on your morphology, age and capacity. How to recognise a good teacher? Simple, this teacher will come to you often and correct your posture. It is also very important when you attend to Yoga class that you don’t enter in competition mode over pushing your limits and therefore increasing the risk of lesions. You can also get in touch with your Osteopath to consult which postures and exercises are safest and effective for your body. Cédric, Osteopath.
Morning Warm Up Yoga
Prepare your kite session by warming up your neck! Doing some slowly movement with your head. Then, Sun Salutations will prepare your entire body to lengthen and tone your muscles.
Sun Salutations are a great way to energize the body and centered yourself. It will improve your blood circulation and strengthen your physical body. You can start with 4 to 6 rounds and move up to 12 rounds as the days go, closing your practice with Savasana. It will be lot of benefits for you digestive system as well as muscles and joints.
Gentle Yoga evening
Strech your psoas and relief down back pain making the Low Lunge pose or High Lunge pose. Kitesurfing can contract your psoas muscle, that’s why it is really important to strech it and to take a deep breath when you do this pose. For this asana, strech your back, relax your shoulders and enjoy your breathing to feel the sensation of the benefit of this pose.
With the Downward-Facing Dog you build strength while stretching the whole body; your wrists, arms, shoulders, back and legs. In this pose, bring your eyes to your belly button, relax shoulders, bring your hips into the sky and your heels to the floor. Remember the importance to respect your body and do not stop breathing. At the begining you can bend your knees. Enjoy this asana, one of the most complete one!
Relieve lower back tension, relax abdomen and aid digestive system with Twist Poses such as Noose Pose, Half Lord, Revolved Triangle… Doing a Yoga Twist helps your body refresh. Twisting Yoga poses also help maintain strength and suppleness in your spine – key components of lifelong health and well-being.
At the end of the day, does not matter what sport you practice, as long as it brings you to a state of fulfillment, inner calmness, joy and makes your body fluids circulate fully!
Share your experience!
Do you practice Yoga regularly? Did this article make you want to get started?
Feel free to share your experience in a comment below.
After years of travelling the globe and kitesurfing along all the best coasts, I've decided it was time to settle down and share my knowledge. Sports teacher since more than 10 years, share my passion for sport activities is natural.All stories by: FRT
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