By Renee’ Fulkerson
You might be thinking, what does sitting in a chair haft to do with an ocean’s reefs? I would be thinking the same thing if I had not made the connection personally. Last time I was out in the ocean snorkeling.
A little back story:
Last year April 2018, Kauai received 50 inches of rain in 24 hours that devastated the island. The north shore communities of Wainiha and Haena were isolated from the rest of the island. Due to countless mudslides that covered the only two-lane road in or out of these communities. It took over a year to repair the road to a safety standard that would allow all non-Wainiha and Haena residents to re-enter the area.
During this one year, the only folks allowed in and out of the while massive road repairs were taking place were the full-time residents. As a full-time resident living in Haena, I saw with my own eyes the land transform. The locals and I had an opportunity of a lifetime to spend time on the secluded and empty beaches. We began to see the fish returning, turtles nesting that had not been there since folks could remember. The reefs were coming alive again.
That happened to be the time when I began my regular snorkeling adventures! During this time, I continued teaching and practicing YogAlign – pain-free yoga from your inner core. I began to realize how my movements in the water reflected my postures in my practice. Breathing through the snorkel replicated the YogAlign SIP breath. And similar to YogAlign, the activity of snorkeling required full-body engagement and global body perception. The primary muscle groups needed to engage in snorkeling are the Hip flexors, hamstrings, upper and lower abdominal’s, quads, and gluteal muscles. A fair amount of flexibility in the ankle region and the ability to point the toes like a dancer is necessary (if you prefer to avoid leg and foot cramps). A strong core (abdominal, Oblique, and back muscles) helps to create a stable platform. And allows your legs to kick and balances your front and back leg strength.
Here is were the sitting in a chair comes in as none of the core muscle groups are engaged during sitting – it is quite the opposite. (the average American spends 7.7 hours a day sitting)
Take an average person who sits 7.7 hours a day in a chair put them out in the ocean snorkeling. Chances are they and the ocean reefs (fragile underwater ecosystem) are going to suffer.
Why? Because they would be expecting their bodies to perform in a way it was not capable. The primary muscle groups they need to fire when they are snorkeling have amnesia. Why? Because they are sitting in chairs all of the time. The flexibility in their ankles and the ability to point their toes would be limited. Due to the shortening and tightening of the front line while sitting. Their core would be void-creating, an unstable platform for their legs to kick. Thus, creating an imbalance between the back and front leg muscles.
How does all of this affect the ocean’s reefs?
On my last snorkeling adventure, I realized I had gained greater endurance, strength, and stamina (all supported by my regular YogAlign practice). When I looked all around me as far as my eyes could see, people were STANDING ON THE REEFS! Why? Because they were tired and or had leg/ foot cramps and difficulty breathing (and yes, I asked).
I swam up and said do you realize you are standing on a fragile underwater ecosystem that has had a year’s gift to repair itself from the endless years of damage it has received? Usually, the response was I was so tired I could not get back to shore or, I was having trouble breathing and got a leg cramp. lol
I encourage everyone to get out and get moving. However, not for the sake of our ocean reefs (fragile underwater ecosystems) or their safety. #getupstandupforyourlife