According to the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, Hilton Head boasts eight of the world’s top 100 tennis resorts and camps. And whether you’re a singles player or doubles champ, or whether you play for fun or are working up the USTA ranks, you know tennis serves up a workout that requires mobility, mental focus, flexibility and strength — all of which can be improved by these five yoga poses and techniques.
Standing Crescent Pose
Standing at the front of your mat, inhale your arms up overhead. Interlace your fingers, releasing your pointer fingers. Exhale to release your shoulders and any neck tension. Inhale while drawing in your core and exhale, leaning to the left. Remain here for five to 10 full breaths, using each inhale to bring in oxygen and each exhale to sink slightly deeper into the pose, elongating the space between your right rib and hip. Make sure to stay relaxed in your shoulders and neck. Repeat on the opposite side.
Utkatasana, or Chair Pose, is one of those poses that few people enjoy but everyone benefits from, and the one-legged version takes it to a whole new level. From standing, inhale your right leg up and cross the right ankle above the left knee. Exhale and squat down, ideally until the left leg is at a 90-degree angle. Your arms can extend up or forward, rest on your right knee and ankle, or come into to prayer position. Remain here for five to 10 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.
Also known as Cow Faced Pose, this position starts in a seated position with your right leg crossed over your left, knees bent and stacked on top of each other, and heels by your thighs. If this is too intense, extend your left leg straight out or place a block under your bottom. Inhale your arms up and then cross your left elbow under your right, interlocking the forearms and bringing the palms together. Inhale and relax your shoulder blades down your spine. Exhale, bend forward and reach both arms forward. Remain here for five to 10 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.
Foam Roller Ab Exercise
Start seated on a foam roller with your knees bent, your feet flat on your mat, your arms extended straight forward and palms facing each other. Tighten your abs, open your upper chest, and slowly roll from your sacrum to your upper back, stopping just below the shoulder blades. Hold here and do 10 to 20 sit-up pulses before slowing rolling back to your sacrum (using your hands if necessary). Repeat three times.
Lying on your back on your mat, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together for Supta Baddha Konasana, or Reclined Bound Angle pose. (Note: You can place a pillow under each knee for support.) Inhale to a count of five, hold your breath to a count of five, exhale to a count of five and repeat for five minutes.
Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com) and graduate of the Clemson master gardener program.