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Part 1 -Lie on back, bend knee and place feet flat on floor, hip width apart and toes pointing straight ahead in parallel -Pressing feet strongly into the floor, raise hips as high as you can, using your glute muscles and hamstrings (backs of legs). Try to achieve a straight line across the front of the hip in full bridge REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES Part 2 -Repeat Part 1 with one leg raised, bridging on one supporting leg. Ensure bottom kne stays in line with centre of bottom foot REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES, BOTH LEGS Part 3 -Repeat Part 1 and 2 with HEELS RAISED. Do not lower heels for entire exercise. Ensure foot does not roll outwards over outside of foot, towards baby toe. Place more pressure under big toe and inside of foot. Keep inside of heel bone in line with centre of hips REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES, BOTH LEGS THEN SINGLES Part 4 -Repeat Part 1 and 2 in TURN OUT position (knees open to frog/diamond shape). Use outer edge of foot to push off floor, activating outside of upper leg and hips to bridge REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES, BOTH LEGS THEN SINGLES
Why are these exercises important? The hip bridges fire up the upper hamstrings and glutes, targeting small groups of muscles that are vital for full extension and powering from the backs of legs to help raise the hips and not sink back in the pelvis. The bridges with heels raised strength a group of muscles just above the knee joint, called the VMO, which assist in stabilizing the knee and ensuring that the leg is fully stretched in extension (knee caps full lifted). Bridges in turnout build strength and stability in external rotation and any circular movements of the leg. This series is crucial for building stability, balance and tracking of the knee joints when on the surf board, as well as building the power to pop up and ride that wave…
Just as it is essential to ‘wakeup’ and prepare our body before we hit the surf, there are a few stretches and warmup exercises we can do to ready ourselves for an intense dance class. Before you move into any stretch, you first want to ensure that your muscles are warm. Stretching with cold muscles places you at risk of tearing and straining the tissue.
To heat up the lower body before moving into a stretch, try this hip opener to get the blood moving and start your internal furnace:
-place one hand on a barre or counter top for stability
-begin to swing outside leg, slightly turned out from the hip and bent at the knee, from the front to the back in a ‘pendulum’ action
-ensure that there is no tension in the hip joint; allow the weight of the leg with gravity to drop to the floor as you brush from front to back
-release tension in hip, although ensure ribs remain closed and navel draws in towards spine to project the lower back
-repeat x 32, both sides
-next, face the barre or counter top and repeat swings, this time opening leg to the side, then allow it to drop and swing across the body (sideways pendulum)
-imagine a string attached to the knee cap, drawing the thigh up and then releasing to fall back towards the floor
-ensure torso does not move or twist with the action of the leg; remain still and square in upper body
-repeat x 32 each leg Now you are warm and open in the hips, ready to move into some basic stretches before you begin class!
PASSIVE HAMSTRING & GLUTES STRETCH
-face barre or counter top and place one leg up, extended to the front, ensuring square hips
-raise opposite arm and bend forward, crossing hand over to outside of leg
-bend and stretch standing leg slowly 4 times
-hold stretch with straight standing leg for 2 minutes
-standing tall, extend same arm as raised leg to the side, then twist body towards it and place back of hand against back; use the pressure of the hand pushing to increase the torsion of the twist; breathe and hold for 30 seconds
-finish by folding forward again, this time straight forward, one hand on either side of leg, reaching for barre; hold for 2 minutes
Repeat other leg
-place leg on barre or counter top with 90 degree angle bend at knee, outside of foot resting on barre
-fold body forwards over leg and take hold of barre, one hand on either side of leg; hold for 1 minute
-bend and stretch standing leg slowly 4 times
-rock body in towards barre, decreasing angle at the knee, then back out, increasing angle x 4
-cross two hands to outside of raised foot and pulling body into diagonal stretch; hold for 1 minute
-next, cross hands to inside of raised foot and pull the body once ore into the opposite diagonal stretch; hold for 1 minute
Repeat other leg
So here is the inside scoop from a Canadian gal who gave it all up to move to Nosara ( a.k.a Playa Guiones ) and live my dreams of surf , sun and Pura Vida! This is my take on this gorgeous little surf town, how I live, experience and see it everyday! This is the HOT spot for surfers and fitness enthusiasts worldwide yet it has managed to maintain a yet peaceful and angelic quality to it. Just last week we had Brooke Shields and Julie Ann Moore both hit the waters of this beach break and yet I barely heard any buzz…. it wasn’t a riot of people following them around… life is more than that here, its really Pura Vida! I am using this as an example of the mind set that locals and travellers to Nosara have to a simple and un-cluttered life focussing on nature and family. The pipa (baby coconut water) I drink every morning now gives me more joy than a US weekly magazine ever did although I have no idea who has a baby bump nowadays!
I decided to make the move to Nosara just over a year ago after another visit here. It just seemed natural, felt like every time I went back to Toronto I left part of myself back in Costa Rica. Its a place that can restore you and make you feel whole. I currently wake up every morning and check out the surf, head out into the ever so consistent waves and start off my day on a wet foot! Playa Guiones is the best beach breach I have ever surfed and its as soft and gentle for beginners as it is challenging out back for those more advanced. The culture on the water is very friendly and welcoming in comparison to some breaks I have surfed in this world. It is a sandy bottom, over a mile long sandy heaven. I have been so lucky to share my love of the sport by teaching others to surf as well. I personally love teaching the kids.. they are fearless and well I can’t resist a little grom (surfer term for surfer kid) in a rashie charging waves.
Surfing also means for me… bleached hair, salted and dreaded after every session. My pale and freckled skin is now a somewhat golden tone (for an irish chica) and what I wouldn’t give for a good facial! Nail polish and pedicures are a thing of the past but its all worth it to me. Staying fashionable is also very important to me as that what my background has been in for over 10 years! I am usually rocking a rashie or swim suit for Canadian designers Akela Surf (www.akelasurf.com) or my favourite surf leggings from another wicked Canadian designer Michi (www.michiny.com)
Physically surfing has transformed my body. My upper body and back have developed trememdously and its a new strength that is welcomed. I maintain a very healthy life style down here and run weekly workouts each week with my girlfriends. This is when I get to dance! This is when my feet and toes hit the sand and my arms come into first position and I push my entire self to train in The Extension Method way. (www.extensionmethod.com) This methodology of training truly changed my life… it changed my posture, flexibility, strength and also my attitude. I miss the studio back in Toronto but always new I could combine both my love for surfing and ballet fitness. This is how Pointe Break Retreats was born. (www.pointebreakretreats.com) The two are complimentary to each other and both are FUN! Isn’t that what its all about anyways!
Lastly I will comment on my favourite part of Nosara… THE SUNSETS. Never ever have I been bewildered every dusk by these stunning sunsets. I think I actually fell in love with them before anything else here, even my tico boyfriend (stay tuned for love in Nosara!) They will stop everyone on the beach at sunset in their tracks. People gather at the beach every night to watch the spectacle, businesses close their doors so their staff can head down in time to watch the golden orange globe disappear behind the aqua horizon. Babies (usually naked) and families run and frolic and there is nothing but laughter that fills the air. The sun sets quite early here in Playa Guiones, usually around 5 30 depending on the season which allows for a coming down period before you sleep. Its a natural sleep-wake cycle… up with the sun and down with the bright moon.
I hope this is the beginning of a glimpse into the life of me here in Costa Rica and I can’t wait to share more stories about my daily adventures in my dream world. Mom and Dad I miss you everyday xo
Love and Pura Vida
Co-owner Pointe Break Retreats
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