07 December 2009

"Yoga for Surfers" DVD Series Review

Yoga is not a sport.
Yoga is not a competition.
Yoga is not a religion.
Yoga is a tool
To help you live better
And to help you surf better.
- Peggy Hall, Yoga for Surfers Vol. II

Several years ago I started doing yoga, and it has significantly improved my balance and flexibility for surfing. I've collected all three of the DVDs in the Yoga for Surfers series by Peggy Hall.

In each video, Peggy is flanked by pro surfers including Taylor Knox and Rochelle Ballard (who has just released her own DVD, Surf Into Yoga). Demonstrations of the poses, often performed oceanside, are interspersed with surfing footage.

On a recent morning, I awoke achy from the previous day's intense shortboarding session, which had me pushing through a lot of duck-dives using muscles grown lazy on small summer waves. The post-surf segment in YFS V1 was just the ticket to get the kinks out. The DVD also has pre-surf and on-the-water chapters. Peggy and crew demonstrate some warm-up stretches to get you loosened up on the beach before you paddle out. Once in the water, if you can remember them (or have a waterproof case on your iPod), you can practice some yoga moves on your board to stretch and release tired muscles.

YSF V2: Fluid Power Yoga is my favorite of the series, the one I've played so often I almost have it memorized. Chapters include Spinal Warm-Up, Vinyasa Flow, Balancing/Relaxation, and bonus techniques to increase lung capacity. As I'm often pressed for time, I mostly do the first and last segments which clock in under 15 minutes. When I'm less busy and feeling energetic, I'll burn through the Vinyasa Flow segment as well. If you only buy one of the YSF series, get this one.

More advanced yoga practitioners may want to pick up YSF VIII: Unleashed, which features chapters called Fit, Focused and Fearless. While there is just one pose in V2 that's too hard for me, V3 has quite a few contortions that I can't even understand how to do. Maybe I'll get there one day, but for now, I'm happy with V2. Namaste.

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