Yoga stretching for kiters
The benefits of stretching before and after kitesurfing
Regular stretching lengthens the fibres of the muscle and over time creates flexibility. When you are deeply stretching a muscle group, you are also helping to bring oxygenated blood to the area. But yoga does not only provide physical benefits to kiters it can also help you to stay focused and get mentally strong.
When should I stretch?
Stretching should be done before and after a kitesurfing session. Stretching before exercising can help prevent injury while stretching after an activity aids in muscle recovery. However, stretching immediately after kiting is usually not as important as stretching 4 to 5 hours later.
Here is a selection of three poses that you can practice before and after your kiting session, but please remember that everybody's body is different and that there is not one right way to stretch. If you feel pain during a stretch find an alternative that can work for you.
Downward facing dog for arms, shoulders and calf muscles
The downward facing dog is a great strengthening stretch for the whole body. Holding this pose stretches your arms, shoulders and calf muscles, which are all used in kitesurfing.
If you are unfamiliar with the downward facing dog pose you can view this instructional video:
Low Lunge to stretch hip flexor muscles (Psoas)
The Low Lunge is a great pose for stretching the main hip flexor (or psoas muscle). When the abdominal muscles fatigue the hip flexor muscles take over, which can lead to lower back problems. The Low Lunge is a great pose to stretch and strengthen the hip flexor muscle group tp prevent lower back injury during kitesurfing.
Watch this video on how to transition to a low lunge:
The cobra pose for abdominal muscles
The cobra pose is a great stretching pose to open up the chest and elongate the abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles are heavily used during kiting, especially during jumps and turns. Stretching the abdominal muscles before and after a kitesurfing session is therefore important.
Cobra pose directions: Lie on the floor and stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor. On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don't harden the buttocks.
Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.
Pictures: Kite Camp at tepee.co.nz