Wouldn’t it be nice to surf using the full range of movements in our bodies?
Imagine quickly popping up, surfing top to bottom, using every part of the wave, feeling really balanced on your board.
Just think how much better your surfing would be not to mention your added confidence in the water…
But right now you’re body feels stiff, popping up takes effort and rotating your hips feels like you might need a hip replacement.
Sound about right?
If this is you, then you have two options:
Take NO action and get frustrated
Take action and progress quickly
If you answered take action then welcome to yoga for surfers.
Surfing good is about elasticating our bodies.
You only need to look at WCT to see how the best in the world move and shape their bodies into positions we could only dream of.
What’s the best way to get your muscles nimble and really flexible?
This is the place to start and it’s really not too hard. All the answers are here right in this article.
All you have to do is read on and start stretching
Before we begin let’s take a quick look at where yoga originated.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOGA
Yoga began in Ancient India around 3000BC as a way to cultivate the mind, body, and soul on a path to enlightenment.
At the time the practice was heavily focused on mediation and yoga was introduced by a means of supporting the body for sustained periods of time during meditation.
What we know today as Yoga was born.
Brought to the west in 194o’s and later popularised by America, yoga has grown into a billion dollar industry.
Scientific evidence continues to support the many health benefits associated with yoga.
Let’s begin on the mat…
SURF & YOGA A PERFECT MATCH
The benefits of yoga can have on surfing are pretty far-reaching.
In fact, the combination of both has been around for some time and for good reason.
Think of it like strawberries and cream, you can have one without the other but to really hit the taste buds you need both.
Surfing and yoga complement one another.
A lot of it has to do with flexibility. The more flexible you are as a surfer the more likely you are to advance your surfing.
Just think of all the different movements you perform when your surfing.
And what about all the mindfulness similarities.
And the list goes on…
All of these factors can be found in yoga too. In fact, you will be to notice they cross over nicely.
Yoga for surfers assists the body to move and breath more functionally so when you’re next out in the water you can perform at your best.
The learning curve in surfing is steep, if you can find anything to help then you will have more success.
Here’s an example:
A faster and more fluid pop up will result in higher success rate on take off. This will allow you to catch more waves and have far more fun!
Surfing is hard. There are only a few percentages of surfers in the world that surf good. The rest fall into either the intermediate and beginner category.
How many of those surfers do you think practice yoga?
Not many. Because when you get older you lose your flexibility.
You only need to look at a toddler to see how naturally flexible we are when we’re young. As we develop bad habits and unhealthy lifestyle choices we limit our ability to be flexible and nimble.
Therein lies the problem…
Practicing yoga regularly you will begin to notice how complementary it is to your life and to your surfing.
Take pro surfer Nicki Van Dyke are a great example of introducing a daily yoga practice into her life.
“It’s been so amazing for my mind, my surfing, who I am and how I feel,” she says. “I’ve learned so many things about my body that have helped improved my surfing. I’ve noticed significant improvements in my fitness. Not only has it made me stronger and more flexible, it’s also influenced my breathing.” –
Nicki Van Dyke
If you need further evidence on how yoga can improve your surfing take a look at these benefits.
Start stretching and begin hitting the lip with force, not fear.
LANDLOCKED SURFERS TAKE NOTE
Maintaining your flexibility out of the water is key for when you’re back in the water.
Yoga for city surfers is an epic way to feel connected and will help with the surfing fix whilst you’re having to grind out city life until you revisit the water.
You won’t be able to replace the surf stoke but it’s going to be the next closest thing.
If you worked on your flexibility for the winter months and entered back in the water the following summer you would see some MASSIVE improvements.
A few yoga studios host classes for city surfers, this is a great way to connect with like-minded people in the concrete jungle.
Here’s a list of some:
Yoga for surfers is a way of staying supple to help you maintain and build your surfing fitness, and prepare muscles (and mind) for your next surf session or trip.
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Breath-work has long been associated with yoga, but it’s often overlooked as a fitness component in surfing.
The ability to breath correctly has a positive effect on your fitness levels and with your overall confidence in the water.
Staying calm when you find yourself in uncomfortable situations can be a lifesaver.
Take wiping out for an example. Most beginners, in particular, find wiping out rather uncomfortable.
Learning to stay calm with the correct breathing technique can instantly change the way you feel about the situation.
Not panicking will give you a massive confidence boost to surf bigger and more challenging waves in the future.
Most of us breathe in short, shallow breaths limiting the amount of oxygen supply into the body.
If you’re not getting all the oxygen you need it’s impossible to perform at your best.
Eastern cultures have long associated good breathing techniques with longevity and optimal health.
Learning the correct way to breath will see significant changes to your overall wellbeing.
It’s rare to come across a surfer who hasn’t got a few aches and pains in their body.
If you’ve been surfing a couple of times a week for a long period and not stretching, then chances are you will encounter a few niggles in your body later on.
Surfing is highly addictive and you really want to be surfing well into your later life.
Setting aside a small amount of time each day will pay dividends to your body in the future.
If you have ever spent time out of the water due to an injury, you will know firsthand how frustrating this is.
Driving past the surf watching pumping sets come through and you have to sit out and talk to your friends who are coming in saying “It’s pumping out there” and you’re like ahhhhhhhhhhh!
Yeah, it’s not cool.
The good news there is something you can do about it.
Yoga for surfers helps to prevent any future injuries and any old injuries from re-occurring.
There are two categories of injury that can be sustained by surfing:
Traumatic a time when you may have had a fracture previously, and then more commonly, repetitive, manifesting in the form of a strain through overuse.
Most injuries in surfing are repetitive. Overuse of the same muscles groups can eventually cause strain and pains in the body.
Paddling is commonly where you will find most of the problems.
Most of your time is spent paddling.
Your neck, shoulders and lower back are the areas you need to be careful of. Yoga for surfers targets these specific areas and strengths and loosens your body to feel more nimble.
FITNESS LEVELS INCREASE
A regular practice of yoga will see an increase in your overall fitness levels.
This is particularly awesome if you aren’t able to surf regularly.
One of the hardest things is maintaining fitness levels out of the water.
Yoga focuses on balance, flexibility, and agility. These same areas are equally important in surfing.
Surfing requires core strength. Nearly every action in surfing involves the core.
Strengthening this area through certain yoga poses will enable the body to perform many different motions at once.
Most of the muscles you use for yoga is exactly the same as when your surfing.
The combination of both makes it a perfect match to achieve better results both in and out of the water.
HOW TO GET STARTED
For such a small set up fee these three components will help to begin your new yoga lifestyle.
When you roll out your yoga is like you’re affirming to the universe that this is your personal space to connect with your inner self.
Yoga mats are helpful for certain poses so your hands and feet don’t slip.
They can be helpful to make any ground a little more comfortable.
There are so many to choose from but very few are made with quality.
Go check out Mundaka. They have an incredibly high-quality range to suit all yogi’s.
Sign up below to access the 36 Yoga Techniques to increase flexibility and strength which in turn helps to improve your surfing.
Creating time in your day for yoga is challenging.
However, once you begin to feel and see the differences you will re-align your habits and priorities to make sure yoga is part of your day or at the very least a couple of times a week.
When you working on new skills it’s well documented the key to success is repetition.
The more you are able to practice the better you will become.
If you practice yoga for more than half of your week you are building healthier habits and this will re-shape your routine.
As with anything new, getting started is the most challenging.
If your needing an extra motivation and guidance then maybe an online class is a great place to start.
Most people nowadays are leading busy lives and a commitment to a class each week can be hard to stick. This is where an online class comes in handy.
The pros of an online class:
Most online yoga classes let you have a free trial or an opt-out time period, so why not give a go and see if you enjoy it?
When you consider the health benefits and the improvements to your surfing is crazy not to start.
Yoga for surfers is a great stepping stone to advancing your surfing.
A 15-minute practice 4-7 days a week would be so valuable to your health and your surfing.
Taking your cutback to the next level might just be a yoga class away.
Let’s do a quick recap to make sure you’ve taken the most important information from this article:
Okay, now I’m interested to know what are your favourite yoga tips?
Let me know in the comments below!
Lauren is the founder and head technical coach of the House of Surf.