Stretch for surfers


POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009

With the popularity of yoga, it was just a matter of time before techniques were applied to address the needs of specific athletes.

Surfers will have an opportunity to see how yoga can help them enhance performance during Michaelle Edwards' workshops—“;Surfers Yoga: Alignment and Fast Flexibility Techniques”; and “;YogaAlign: Pain Free Yoga from Your Inner Core”;—at the North Shore Yoga Festival, taking place Saturday at Turtle Bay Resort.

YogAlign, a style invented and taught by Edwards, focuses on optimal alignment of the human body rather than concentrating on poses. “;It's painless to practice because the focus is on functional movement and alignment.”;

In her class designed for surfers, Edwards focuses on the psoas muscle group, “;the core of all core muscles,”; she explained. The psoas connects the diaphragm and lumbar spine to the inner leg bone.

“;If (the muscles) are short and weak, they can contribute to pain, misalignment and injuries all over the body, and especially to the shoulder joint,”; she explained. “;Surfers' yoga focuses on activating them to provide support and balance from the center of the body.”;

YogAlign involves using deep breathing to activate the psoas as a spine stabilizer, initiator of movement and support for the diaphragm muscle. YogAlign differs from traditional practices where the practitioner must try to keep the legs straight while the trunk is upright.





        North Shore Yoga Festival:

» Where: Turtle Bay Resort


» When: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday


» Fees: $20 to $150 for a full-day festival pass, which includes four classes, an evening concert with Steve Ross and Ty Burhoe, and a T-shirt


» Call: Kate Baldwin, (757) 651-0953


Her sessions will focus on optimal posture, proper breathing techniques and movements to reduce muscle tension. Over time, this will allow individuals to surf with less effort than they are accustomed to. Special movements will be shown to maximize time spent waiting for waves, as well as simple beach tune-ups to warm up the joints and connective tissues.

Participants will be shown charts of the lines as well as learn to practice experiential exercises that enable one to feel the lines in their own body.

Edwards' workshops are designed for all levels of fitness, and no experience in yoga or surfing is necessary to enjoy the resulting fluid movement that will have them recapture the feeling of being a kid again,”; she said.

“;YOGA COMPLEMENTS not just surfing, but any and every activity from running to biking to golf,”; added festival organizer Kate Baldwin. The festival, which is the first of its kind, is designed to honor various yoga philosophies. Other classes include “;Kundalini Ascension,”; “;Exploring the Parallels of Pilates and Yoga”; and “;Sanskrit Mantra: Unveiling the Power of Sound for Practical Transformation”; as well as a Thai massage partner class.

Baldwin established the conference with the idea of gathering people together for a common purpose. “;Hawaii is a spiritual place that supports this kind of lifestyle. I've been to lots of yoga conferences on the mainland. It helps people recharge, reconnect and get inspired.”;

Baldwin, owner of True Union and an instructor at North Shore Yoga Co-op, Turtle Bay Resort and Open Space Yoga, said she hopes that the one-day event continues to grow.

If all goes well, she has plans of hosting four-day conferences which will offer ample opportunities to become immersed in yoga practices and the lifestyle, she said.

“;We go to group yoga classes to get motivated, but yoga is an individual thing. It's about finding out what works best for you. It's an opportunity to bring positive change into people's lives.”;