Marichyasana C (Seated Twist)
Seated twists are easier to do on paddleboards than say, a standing balance pose. They are perfect for beginners. When doing a seated twist, try to maintain your back upright. Imagine you have a string pulling you up from the crown of the head. Once in the twist, use the breath to deepen the posture.
Get Into It:
- Sit in the center of your board with both legs extended in front of you. Make sure you are sitting upright and that your spine is neutral.
- Bend your right knee to bring your foot in front of your hip. Check in with your spine and ensure it is still straight.
- Begin to rotate towards the right by placing your right hand behind you. As you exhale continue rotating and bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
- Use your elbow to gently deepen the rotation. Open your hand and face your palm away from you.
- Hold here for five breaths. With each inhale to grow taller and exhale to twist further.
- Removes toxins
- Stretches the shoulders
- Improves blood flow
- Creates space in the spine relieving lower back pain
- Alleviates digestive issues and constipation
Bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana) or East stretch pose (Purvottanasana).
Exercise caution is you are working with a serious back injury. Move carefully and stop if you experience any pain.
Parivrtta Janu Sirsana (Revolved Head to Knee Pose)
Often the culprit of a sore lower back is tight QL’s (quadratus lumborum). These large muscles are part of the posterior abdominal wall and connect the pelvis with the spine and lowest back ribs. This posture is ideal for stretching these muscles out and relieving some of that tightness.
Get Into It:
- Sit in the centre of you board with your legs stretched out in front of you (in Dandasana).
- Bend your left knee into your chest and bring that leg down to rest onto the board, opening from the hip.
- Lean towards your right leg, aiming to bring the right side of your torso onto it. Grab hold of your right foot with your hand if you are able. If not, rest your hand on your shin.
- Reach your left arm up and over your head. You may be able to also grab hold of you right foot with it as well. Maintain your shoulders away from the ears.
- Stay here for a good five breaths before repeating on the other side.
- Stretches the external obliques, QL, upper back spine, shoulders, and hamstrings
- Massages and stimulates organs like the liver and kidneys
- Expands the intercostals (muscles between your ribs)
- Improves digestion
- Relieves anxiety and fatigue
This posture is usually practiced in a series of forward bends that, once completed, can be followed by an opening posture such as Purvottanasana (East stretch posture).
Avoid this asana if you have any serious knee, hip, arm or shoulder injuries.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Bound angle pose is practiced to open the hips, something that makes many people uncomfortable. However, unlike more advanced hip-opener like Hanumanasana (the splits) or King Pigeon, this posture can be done with ease. Tip for women: practice this posture regularly to prepare for childbirth.
Get Into It:
- Sit over the center of your board. Bring your heels towards your pelvis with the soles of your feet together.
- Hold your feet like a book as you open your knees out to the sides. Allow your hips to open or use your elbows to gently push your legs down and open further.
- Lengthen the spine by pulling up through the crown of the head, keeping your weight centered. You can bring your torso down by either keeping your spine neutral or by rounding it towards the water (each is a different version of the posture).
- Relax your shoulders and keep them away from your ears. Hold for five deep breaths before coming out of the posture.
- Stretches the hips, knees, and inner thighs
- Stimulates digestive organs and improves circulation
- Soothes sciatica pain and menstrual discomfort
- Lengthens and creates space in the spine
Staff pose (Dandasana) or seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana).
Avoid this posture if you have a recent hip or knee injury. To decrease the intensity of this stretch, move your heels away from your pelvis.
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
If you’re wondering why people have gone nuts over inversions, it’s because it makes you feel great. Along with giving you a fresh perspective, it also claims to have many other benefits, like allowing freshly oxygenated blood to flow to the brain.
Get Into It:
- Come into a squat with your feet together and your knees apart. Place your hands down shoulder-width apart about a foot in front of your feet. Make sure your hands are near the middle of the board.
- Lean your body forward keeping your elbows bent. Place the knees behind your upper arms. You may need to come onto your tiptoes.
- Engage your core and round your spine as you lift your feet off the board.
- Gaze down and forward on your board. This will help you keep your balance while you fly.
- Hold for five breaths before releasing slowly and with control.
- Strengthens the shoulders, neck and arms
- Relieves a buildup of fluid in the legs and feet
- Slows and reverses signs of aging
- Increases mental awareness and clarity while soothing the mind
- Improves posture and digestion
Child’s pose (Balasana) or Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svasana).
Those suffering from spondylitis, slipped disk and other conditions of the neck and spine should avoid this asana. Also, people with vertigo, high blood pressure, blood impurities, thrombosis and other heart conditions should avoid this pose.
Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.