Today's Daily Tip
Riding the Waves
Alika Medeiros: Present Finder
At 17, Hawaiian-born Alika Medeiros shattered his ankle in a surfing accident and was told he'd never walk again. Medeiros became depressed and began abusing alcohol and drugs, but says that his grandmother's traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage brought him back to health. These days, Medeiros not only walks, but he also surfs and teaches his own style of yoga—a blend of hula and yoga that he calls Kilo Lani, meaning to look or reach toward heaven. A man with a mission, Medeiros teaches yoga and leads seminars on how to create an "aloha life"—that is, a life devoted to peace and harmony for the benefit of all beings.
How has yoga improved your surfing?
Can you talk about a spiritual or transformational experience you've had in the water?
I sat there for a moment and slowed down my breathing. As I became present, time seemed to slow down. Everything around me became vivid and colorful. The fear melted, and suddenly I had a focused attention to make the next big wave. As the next set came through, I used my intuition to put myself in the right place to take off. I started to paddle, which seemed effortless. Suddenly I was sliding down one of the most beautiful mountains I have ever caught on such a small board. I rode that wave all the way to the beach from what seemed like a mile out. It was an amazing experience, but it also reminded me that our minds love to live in the past and the future, and when I focus on my breath, I can become fully present. In that place, all fear subsides.
Best Five Before you Ride
Yogi-surfer Peggy Hall developed the Best Five Before You Ride sequence for surfers to do right on the beach. The practice she designed builds heat in the body and warms the muscles and joints used in surfing. To reduce the likelihood of tiring, Hall emphasizes moving with the breath and not holding poses too long. "Before paddling out, you want to mentally prepare yourself and warm up your body," she says. "You don't want to exhaust yourself."
Tai Chi Circles
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Interlace your fingers and reach your arms overhead. Exhale and stretch over to your right, then bend your knees and sweep your torso in front of you, keeping it parallel to the ground. Keep circling around until you stretch out to the left, then come back up to center as you inhale. Circle 4 to 5 times in one direction. Then interlace your fingers the non-dominant way and repeat on the other side.
Horse Stance Back Stretch
Take your feet wide apart and turn them out. Notice how this stretches your inner thighs. Place your hands on your thighs and dip your right shoulder down between your legs. Look to your left elbow. This will stretch your back, which can get fatigued from sitting on the board. Hold for a breath or 2, inhale, come up to center, and do the other side. Go back and forth like this 3 to 4 times.
Parivrtta Utkatasana (Chair Twist), variation
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Take your right arm across your shins and extend your left arm up toward the sky. Lengthen your spine and wist your chest and shoulder open. Look down at your feet. Stay for a few breaths, then switch sides.
High Lunge, modified
Interlace your fingers behind you and draw your shoulder blades together. Step your left foot back and, staying on the toes of your left foot, bend both knees. Bring your hands away from your back and down toward the ground. Keep your back thigh perpendicular to the ground and move your tailbone down until you feel a stretch along your left thigh.
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) with arm circles
Come into Side Angle Pose on your right side, with your right forearm resting on your right thigh. Circle your left arm around you counterclockwise, as though you're doing the backstroke. This counteracts the forward reaching you do while paddling. It stretches the inter-costal muscles between each rib, which can eventually increase your lung capacity.
Watch: A video of this surfer's sequence can be found online at yogajournal.com/livemag.
Jaimal Yogis is the author of Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea.
Page 1 2