If you only do one land based activity before getting out in the ocean for a surf then do this!
The only surf warm up you’ll ever need! The 5 Tibetan Rites
The benefits of this ancient practice, which originates from a condensed daily yoga practice created by Tibetan monks over 2000 years ago, are touted as everything from the reduction of anxiety and stress, to reversing the aging process! As surfers though the main benefits of this mini spiritual workout that we’re interested in are: improvement of overall strength and flexibility, the strengthening of core and back muscles, improved respiration, oxygenating the blood stream, and improved endurance, focus and stamina. Really, what more could you ask for from a warm up! Those Buddhist dudes on their Himalayan mountain top really knew their stuff!
The video in this post performs each of the 5 rites in sets of 7, which takes about 5 minutes and constitutes a good all round surf warm up for if you’re just too gagging to get out and get involved to spend longer. This could be doubled to sets of 14 if you can spare more time, but make sure you don’t speed it up to the point where you loose the flow of your breath with the movement. Conscious and controlled movement is the key. Traditionally however, each rite would be performed 21 times. Fans of performing the 5 Tibetans rites daily set aside around 15 minutes, ideally in the morning and claim that they wouldn’t be without their daily zen stretch, whether surfing that day or not!
The perfect thing about this all round warm up and mini work out is that it can be performed just about anywhere. In the comfort of your own home, down on the waters edge before you dive in, or on the balcony of your beach hut if you’re on tour. The only bit of kit that this compact little gem needs is a towl if you’re practicing on a hard surface, but other than that you’re good to go! So here’s a breakdown of each rite and a summary the benefits from a surfing point of view…
From standing, bring your arms out either side of you so that they’re parallel with the floor. Spread your palms and looking at your right thumb begin to move in slow conscious circles to the right.
Benefits: Mental focus and clarity. Coordination.
Lying on your back with you legs extended straight up, your feet flexed toward the sky and your hands behind your head. Inhale, then as you exhale raise your shoulders up into a crunch. On your next inhale lift your buttocks off the floor, the exhale release down.
Benefits: Builds core strength. Stretches hamstrings.
Come up onto your knees, hands supporting your lower back. As you exhale push your hips forward and allow your back to arch back, dropping your head back slightly to wherever feels comfortable and keeping your hips stacked over your knees. Keep your quads engaged. Inhale and come back to neutral. This is known as Supported Camel pose in Yoga.
Benefits: Opens your chest and improves respiration. Strengthens thighs and lower back.
Sit down with both knees bent and your feet on the floor about hip width apart. Hands are a few feet behind you with your fingers pointing in the same direction as your toes. Inhale push down through your hands and bring your hips up in line with your knees into what is known as reverse tabletop. Then as you exhale allow your hips to drop down and scoop back so that they are in line with your arms, avoiding contact with the floor.
Benefits: Tones and strengthens arms, hip flexors and core muscles.
Make a V shape out of your body by pressing into the earth through your hands and then doing the same with your feet, sending your sit bones high. Note that your knees can be bent here if necessary. As you inhale drop your hips towards the ground and then lengthen through your spine whilst at the same time broadening across your chest and looking up. This is like an Upward facing dog but with your toes rolled under still. Exhale push back to Downdog.
Benefits: Stretches out the whole back side and front side of your body. Strengthens your back and shoulders.