Get your body ready for your best adventures yet…
Spring has arrived, and a new summer of adventuring awaits. Now more than ever, we welcome a fresh start as we look ahead to a more positive season packed full of new experiences, exhilaration, and restoration. So as the anticipation builds, we’ve asked Verbier-based yoga instructor and health coach, Milly Rose Harrison to guide us through the most effective yoga poses to rejuvenate your body in preparation for your best adventures yet…
A word from Milly…
“I came to yoga, like many, with a fitness approach in mind, but I felt immediately struck by the transformative qualities that the practice had to offer, both on and off the mat. Yoga has shown me how to enjoy each and every nuance of this amazing journey that we all get to share and be a part of. Through yoga, I want to share these learnings and help us all reconnect with our most authentic and powerful selves as we start to be able to explore the world once again!”
1. Half Splits - For runners
When running, especially uphill, our hamstrings and glutes are responsible for extension in the hip as well as propelling the leg forward. As a result, these muscle groups can become sore and fatigued; the half splits yoga pose is the perfect antidote for this:
• Start in a low lunge, walk your hands back and at the same time start to extend your front leg and lift the toes.
• Stack your hips over the back knee and maintain length along the spine.
• Press down through your heel and try to slide it back without it actually moving! This will activate your hamstrings and create a safe and healthy environment for the stretch to happen.
Modifications: If you are finding it difficult to keep your back straight, place two blocks (or books) on either side of your hips to put your hands on and lift your torso up. If you have extremely tight hamstrings, you can also keep a small bend in the knee of your extended leg.
2. Low Lunge – For cyclists
The hip flexors have to work incredibly hard when cycling. This can lead to a shortening of muscles and stiffness down the front of the hip and the thigh. When set up correctly, the low lunge is one of the most effective ways to release tight and overworked hip flexors, allowing them to recover efficiently and in time for your next ride.
• In your low lunge make sure that the back knee is lowered to the ground and the front knee is stacked on top of the ankle.
• Make sure that your glutes are fully activated, and your core is strong to avoid overarching in the lower back.
• Press down firmly through the heel of your front foot and gently push the hips forward.
• The more engaged the glute is on your back leg, the more sensation you will feel down that hip flexor as you start to press the hips forward.
• Reach your arms up and overhead, lifting the chest slightly.
Modifications: Place a cushion underneath your back knee if you are experiencing any discomfort or pain.
3. Warrior III – For surfers
This strong posture improves balance, coordination, strength and endurance – the perfect concoction for optimising your performance on the surfboard!
• Start from standing and extend your arms overhead. Whilst keeping your hips level start to reach your arms forward and extend your right leg out long behind you.
• Recruit every muscle of the standing leg, from the foot up to the glute, to help with balance, and engage the right glute in order to elevate the right leg a little higher.
• Keep the core strong and stable by drawing your belly button towards the spine.
Modifications: Bring your hands to heart centre or arms by your side. Don’t lift the back leg so high (you can even keep your toes on the ground if you’re struggling with balance).
4. Upward Facing Dog – For swimmers
Hugely beneficial for swimming, the Upward Facing Dog pose strengthens the whole posterior chain (back body), especially the arms and back, as well as opening up the chest and abdomen.
•Starting from your belly, place your hands below your shoulders and roll the shoulders back and down.
•To protect your lower back, push down through the tops of your feet to strengthen your legs, activate your glutes, and ensure that the core is switched on at all times.
•Press down through your hands to lift the chest, abdomen, and front of the legs up, keeping the posterior chain strong, the heart space open, and the shoulders down and away from the ears.
Modifications: Bend your arms as much as you need to (baby / mid cobra) and keep your abdomen connected with the mat.
5. Twisted Half Lizard – For kitesurfers
This is a mega stretch that not only targets the quads, but also the muscles in the shoulders and back, as well as incorporating some spinal rotation just for that extra oomph. A perfect release and full-body rejuvenator.
• Directions for the right-hand side: start in lizard lunge with your right foot forward, left leg back and your left knee lowered to the ground. The right knee is stacked above the ankle, and the toes of the right foot should point out at approximately 45 degrees.
• Lift up the toes of your right foot to stabilise the ankle and roll to the outside edge of the foot. Gently press the knee away from you with your right hand to intensify the stretch into the hip joint and start to spiral the right ribcage up towards the sky.
• If it feels available, bend the back leg and squeeze the heel towards your glute, maybe reaching around with your right hand to take hold of the outside of your left foot.
• Continue to press the hips forward and rotate the chest up.
Modifications: You can do any one of these steps and still prosper from the amazing benefits. Option to use a block underneath left hand, as well as a strap to reach the back foot.
Yoga presents a wealth of benefits for the relentless adventurer, everything from increased strength and flexibility to stress reduction and injury prevention. If you’re feeling inspired and looking to continue your body preparation, join Milly for 30 minutes of live yoga on our Instagram stories by heading to @we_are_sungod at 9AM GMT this Sunday 4th April.