Top Tips from the Pros: Gillian Gibree
As the popularity of SUP has exploded in the past few years, so has the number of participants in SUP yoga, many of whom rave about the added challenge of holding poses while on the water. And if we were asked to name just one person who's leading the SUP yoga revolution, it'd be no contest: Gillian Gibree.
In addition to helping people worldwide launch SUP yoga and fitness businesses (and landing the cover of Yoga Journal), the San Diego resident is also pretty handy with a paddle, too, as shown by her win in the distance event at the 2014 GoPro Mountain Games in Vail and 3rd place at the 2014 Payette River Games. SUPthemag.com's Brody Welte from PaddleFit caught up with Gibree to get her top three yoga poses for paddlers. —Phil White
1. Half Moon Pose
"The half moon gives you a nice stretch in the obliques, which often get tight from paddling," Gibree said. To start, lace your hands together over your head and aim your "pointer" fingers toward the sky. Then, move your hips slightly to the left as you pull your arms slowly to the right. Your body should now be in the half moon pose. If this is too difficult, just drop your right hand down against your side and keep the left arm extended. Hold the position for 10 to 15 deep breaths and then switch sides.
2. Eagle Arms Pose
Your shoulders and upper arms take a beating when you spend a lot of time paddling, and the eagle arms pose can help relieve tension in these areas. First, draw your hands over your head. Next, sweep your right arm under your left so your elbows cross and wrists and palms are touching. Then, move your elbows slowly and smoothly side to side or raise your arms upwards to get a different stretch. "You can also make circular motions to really open up the shoulder blades," Gibree said.
While it's your back and back of the shoulders that often hold tension after repeated on water sessions, "the front of the shoulders and chest can also get tight," Gibree said. That's where the chest opener pose comes in. First, interlace your hands behind your back and draw your shoulder blades together. You can then either lift your chin to direct your gaze skyward, or fold forward as you exhale and draw your hands over your head, with arms still straight. These two variations will help open up your chest and the front of your shoulders.