2 Poses and a Flow to Strenghten Your Paddling

Emma Lovick

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Updated 3076d ago

Last month we looked at how to strengthen your lower back and lift the chest whilst paddling, aiding your paddle technique. This month we are going to look at two Yoga poses and a Yoga Flow which will help to strengthen your paddling.

You will read this every week, but as you work through the below postures, please work to a level that is available to you. Nothing beats practising Yoga under the guidance of a teacher. If you are in any doubt whether these poses are appropriate for you, consult your local Yoga teacher, doctor or physiotherapist.

Reminder – Breathing Technique
Sitting on your mat or the floor, inhale into the rib cage, expanding the chest. As you exhale draw your belly in. Focus on the breath whilst working in the postures; try not to hold your breath, move with your breath.

Pose 1 – Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)


  • Strengthens the arms, upper back, chest and abdomen


1. From Adho Mukha Svanasana exhale into a high plank
2. Keeping the elbows close in to the body, pushing back into the heels, allow the body to release down towards the ground, holding a few inches above the floor if you can
3. Try to keep space between the shoulder blades and don’t allow the back to sway

Pose 2: Dolphin Pose 


  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms and legs

  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and arches of the feet


1. Starting on your hands and knees, bring your knees under the hips and your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly under the shoulders
2. Curl your toes under, as you exhale press the palms of your hands and forearms into the ground and lift your knees off the mat
3. Keep the knees slightly bent and the heels off the floor. Lengthen your tailbone Lift the sit bones up towards the sky, creating length in the spine
4. Allow your head to fall in between the arms. Don’t allow the head to touch the floor
5. Keep length in the spine, avoid rounding the upper back, keep the knees bent to avoid this
6. Hold here for 10 breaths, then release back to the mat with an exhale

Yoga Flow – Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) – Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) 

Strengthens the arms, upper back, chest and abdomen
Stretches the back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and arches of the feet

Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana

1. Come down to the floor onto your hands and knees, with your knees directly under your hips, hip width apart and your wrists under your shoulders, shoulder width apart. Spread your palms with your index fingers parallel and turn your toes under 

2. Take an inhale and as you exhale lift your knees off the floor. Keeping the knees slightly bent lengthen your tail bone to the sky
3. Continue to breath, with an exhalation push your quadriceps back and reach your heels towards the ground. Feel here that the whole of the legs are active and you are able to lift the knee caps. Don’t lock your knees, if you tend to hyper-extend keep your knees a little bent

4. Draw your focus to your arms and firm the outer arms pressing through the bases of the index fingers
5. Allow the head and neck to stay long and follow the natural line of the spine 

Exhale releasing through Chaturanga Dandasana

6. Keeping the elbows tight into the body allow the elbows to bend and drop the nose as close as you can to the floor
7. Allow the body to lengthen with the pelvis releasing down into Chaturanga Dandasana

Inhale and sweep up into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

8. If you have a healthy back, straighten the arms keeping the torso lifted and the legs a few inches off the floor, (if you are prone to any lower back problems take this pose very gently, keeping the elbows bent and the legs slightly parted)
9. Keep the thighs strong and draw the pelvis forward. Bring your gaze straight ahead. Be careful not to compress the back of the neck or strain the throat

10. Exhale and draw the tailbone to the sky, pushing back into Adho Mukha Svanasana- Downward Facing Dog
11. Repeat this multiple times to build strength in the upper back and arms


Emma Lovick from Hang Ten Yoga is a certified instructor and specialises in teaching Yoga to surfers in South Devon. She looks closely at breathing, alignment, strengthening, opening and increased flexibility, reducing the potential for injury. Emma also teaches SUP Yoga in Devon throughout the summer, so you never have to be off the water.

You can follow Hang Ten Yoga on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or even better join Emma and Hang Ten Yoga for a Surf, SUP & Yoga retreat in Devon or Cornwall.

Emma Lovick

Yoga Instructor