By Faye Martins
Many practitioners enjoy cross training between their Yoga practice and a diversity of other athletic activities. In the summertime or in areas that are warm year round, water sports are very popular. Activities such as surfing, sailing, wind surfing, kayaking and body surfing are all very popular and require stamina. Surfing is a water sport that offers the simplicity of being surrounded by the ocean and depending on the surf, a ferocious physical challenge.
Whether you are new surfer or a seasoned surfer who is interested in surfing the bigger waves, asanas can help you improve your balance, muscular stamina and mental concentration. These skills will help you to excel in the sport of surfing to the best of your ability and experience. Power, Ashtanga and Bikram Yoga practices offer a flowing style of Yoga that is quite challenging and builds strength and stamina rapidly when practiced several times a week. These vinyasa based sequences link together various postures within the basic framework of the Sun Salutation. Ujjayi breathing is usually practiced during these types of Yoga in order to increase energy, endurance and the ability to focus.
Eagle Pose – Garudasana
Eagle Pose is one of the classical standing asanas that is included in Ashtanga and Bikram Yoga routines. This pose will increase your balance, coordination, ability to concentrate and your leg strength. It also helps to release tension throughout the shoulders, arms and neck. Eagle Pose is generally practiced after the Sun Salutations and standing Yoga asanas.
To practice Eagle Pose, come to Mountain Pose at the front of your Yoga mat. Take a moment to pause and notice the distribution of weight between your feet. Play with your balance until you feel evenly grounded on both feet. With your next inhale, bend your right knee and raise your right leg to hip height. Raise your arms to shoulder height. With your next exhale, wrap your right arm underneath your upper left arm and bring your palms together while bringing your right leg on top of your left quadricep and wrapping your right shin behind your left calf.
If you have the flexibility, you may want to hook your right toes behind your left calf. Your arms should remain at shoulder height. Optimally, your palms will be pressing flush against each other. To increase the quadricep strengthening aspect of Eagle Pose, sink six inches further down and lean forward a few inches. Keep your gaze steady on a spot several feet in front of you. You may wish to visualize that you are an eagle soaring over a resplendent mountain valley. When you are ready to come out of the pose, exhale and release your arms and legs. Come back to Mountain Pose at the front of your Yoga mat and pause for a moment to feel the energizing and calming reverberations of Eagle Pause. Repeat on the left hand side.
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