STRETCHING & YOGA
A bit of gentleness in this rough world !
Nowadays, stretching is undoubtedly part of the sportsman’s routine.
It is easy to progress everyday, you just need to begin!
Stretch and breathe with me.
The Cobra pose – Bhujangasana will strengthen the lower back muscles while cushioning the spine.
WHAT ABOUT STRETCHING ?
Stretching is a sports discipline, full-fledged muscle building. It is a physical function and is based on a succession of stretches. The main objective is to gain more flexibility.
WHAT EFFECT ? On a daily basis, stretching allows you to untie your joints and stretch the different muscle groups of your body one by one. It allows to evacuate a large part of the toxins present in the muscles and reactivate the blood and lymphatic circulation.
WHERE & WHEN ? Whether in my house as I wake up, in an airport after a long flight or simply on the beach after a riding session, I am a huge stretching fan. It can be a way to wake your body up in the morning – just look at what cats do! In the evening it is also a perfect way to relax and get rid of the physical fatigue before going to sleep. After an intense physical activity, it is essential. It is a healthy activity for all ages you can practise until your very old days. Why don’t you try now? Better late than never.
A good stretching session needs a perfect breath control. My advice is to start your stretching with some belly-breathing : fill it up with air and then breathe out in a deep and slow breath. Repeat this exercise three times while holding to a regular breathing rhythm. During the whole session, your breathing will oxygenate the muscles that are at work and help you gain flexibility and suppleness.
Stretching requires a quiet place, a slow execution of the moves. You have to stretch slowly so that you do not hurt yourself while doing it. Never force your movements. Do not forget that stretching makes your body progress day after day then be patient, suppleness will come progressively.
PROVIDENTIAL AFTER THE EFFORT
It puts the muscular system back in place, ready for recovery. It allows muscles to get back to their normal resiliency, therefore avoiding permanent tensions on tendons. Stretching consists in emptying the muscles from the toxins accumulated during the effort. It allows reactivate the blood and lymphatic circulation. Passive stretching (done with still postures) uses the body weight to stretch the muscle. Each posture has to last thirty seconds approximately in order to be efficient.
VIEW YOUR BODY MENTALLY
Even if the postures seem easy to realise, they require a good concentration level. It is preferable to have a proper mental representation of the area you are going to stretch, then try to picture the joint or muscle that you are working on. It will help having a better knowledge of your body. Furthermore, you will have a better notion of when and how to liberate the energy flow, in order to obtain an accurate and efficient body language. Regular stretching will improve your gymnastic ability which is the key to achieve your tricks perfectly.
As for bodybuilding, stretching is a physical activity that first needs the help and advice of a qualified professional (physical coach, physiotherapist, osteopath, etc…) or an experienced adept.
The warrior II pose – Virabhadrasana helps for better strenght, stability and space positioning. CLICK ON THE PICTURE for more positions and advice.
WHAT ABOUT YOGA ?
Yoga is much more than just a sporting discipline. It has a spiritual function in the sense of personal development and self-discovery. It is a true way of life. Yoga is not the search for performance. The word “yoga” comes from “Yuj” which means “union” in Sanskrit. To practice yoga is really to seek the union of mind, body and heart to anchor oneself in the present moment. Thus, my practice of stretching sometimes becomes “a way to yoga”, without completely switching over to yoga. In the meantime, I continue to practice and learn. To better position myself, to better breathe. And above all to calm my mind that is sometimes going in all directions … While stretching, with a good coordination between your breathing, movements and meditation, you may become a yoga adept. It is a long term job.
RELAXATION & MENTAL IMAGERY
With your mind, go further to performance
Apart from the muscular aspect,
the only necessary condition in order to make your tricks is
a good vizualisation of your body in space.
It will enable you to predict the accurate gesture.
Imagery helps me to regulate the anxiety I experience during competitions. It is also an important key for me to stay confident, focused and mentally tough.
TECHNICAL MENTAL IMAGERY
Bodyboarding is an aerodynamic sport that requires precision in your moves. To be successful, you have to know how and where to position your body precisely. To achieve this, you must know your body but also picture it as fast as possible – you will not have much time for calculation when you hit the lip ! Imagery means using all of your senses ( see, feel, hear, taste, smell) to rehearse your sport in your mind for skill learning. The mental practice is the cognitive (thinking) rehearsal of a physical skill without movement. I visualize and decompose my manoeuvre, I see the points where I place my eyes, I feel the water and see the wave and I detail all my gesture mentally.
POSITIVE MENTAL IMAGERY
It is the act of creating and rehearsing a positive mental experience in order to enhance your ability to achieve a successful outcome in real life. It is an instinctive method honed since childhood and often shared by great athletes. Mental imagery is effective both for skill learning and preparing for competition. Top athletes use imagery extensively to build on their strengths and help eliminate their weaknesses. To compete more effectively. Sport psychologist often use visualizations and rehearsal to help in motivation, self-confidence, and to reduce competitive anxiety.