Yoga and surfing go together like the ocean and the sand, like bacon and eggs, hipsters and beards.
Whichever analogy you want to use, yoga is a brilliant way to improve your surfing skills by creating strength and flexibility in the exact muscles you use whilst surfing. You can bring your surfing to your mat, and you can take your yoga to your board.
Being a fairly practical person I like to know why I am doing things. If I understand the reasoning behind what I am doing I am more likely to follow through.
So incase you are a little like me, and even if you aren’t, here are some reasons why incorporating yoga into your life will benefit you both in and out of the water:
It all starts and ends with the breath. Same as in life. Developing breath awareness will help you on the physical level by expanding your lung capacity. Greater lung capacity means more oxygen to your cells, which means better efficiency of the body, leading to longevity in the water and less fatigue. It also means you’ll be able to hold your breath for greater lengths of time. Pretty handy when that monster set comes out of nowhere and you’re forced underwater for a bit longer than you’d like.
Mentally and emotionally it helps to calm, to bring you into the present moment. The more space in your mind, the more time and space in your life. When you’re in the present moment time seems to slow down.
It is said that if one can control the breath, one can control the mind. If we can control the mind we come closer to controlling the body.
Surfers are known for having some pretty impressive muscles, guns in particular. What you don’t see are the muscles of the core as they are internal (nope, those awesome six packs are not actually part of the group of core muscles). “Core” is a word used almost as often as “Namaste” in yoga, we dedicate a fair amount of time strengthening these muscles in the studio.
Here’s something you might not know. The muscles work by “contract inhibition”. As you contract and activate one muscle, something we’re doing constantly out in the surf, it’s opposing or antagonistic muscle relaxes. The more flexible that opposing muscle is, the less hard the active muscle has to work. And that means…longer surfing time before fatigue starts to set in! Winning!
I will always encourage you to learn how to do these poses correctly under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor…such as moi 😉 …not just to prevent injuries but so that you can gain absolute maximum benefit from your yoga practice. Inside and out.
You can find me in the studio at Serenity Eco Lodge on Jl. Nelayan, Canggu (see below for my schedule).
But for those times when you just can’t get there I am going to share with you some of the most beneficial poses for surfers.
Hold each pose for several breaths, but come out at any time if you feel pinching or jarring pain. Move slowly in and out of each pose. Remember to keep your breath smooth and even. If you’re struggling to breathe, ease up a bit. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
It stretches the shoulders and calf muscles, builds strength while toning the arms and legs, lengthens and straightens the spine helping to prevent and relieve back pain. Added goodie is that it relieves stress by helping to calm the nervous system.
Tones the abdominal muscles while also strengthening the arms and spine.
Think of your paddle out, we need lots of mid and upper back strength and flexibility when surfing. Cobra nails that.
The stance of Warrior II is very similar to the stance we use as we stand up on our boards. On the mat it can help us with our concentration and balance, it also helps to stretch and strengthen the legs, hips, groin and shoulders. Develops stamina and strength.
Why: One of THE best hip openers we do in yoga. Awesome for all that time we spend sitting on our board looking forward to the next wave. It also stretches the thighs, groin and psoa muscles while releasing the chest and shoulders.
…little hippy side note: We tend to store a lot of emotions in our hips, so if yours are particularly tight you might want to look a little deeper at something you might be holding onto. Energy work such as Reiki is fabulous for this.
So those are my top 5 poses I believe every surfer will benefit from. There are sooo many more and I love them all…except maybe Salabhasana (Locust pose). For some reason that one just irritates me.
I have designed a 1.5 hour Vinyasa sequence bringing them together in a lovely fluid flow. Just like the ocean. Lovely and fluid.
For those of you local to Canggu and surrounds you can find me at Serenity Eco Lodge on Jl. Nelayan on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays.
I also do private lessons, both in person and via Skype.
So come to your mat to bring your surfing to your yoga, and take your yoga to your surfing. Really experience just how beautifully the two are paired. Like the sun and sea.
9:30am : Beginners
11:00am : Naturopathic Yoga – Endocrine System
9:30am : Naturopathic Yoga – Digestive System
11:00am : Yin-Yasa for Surfers
5:00pm : Yin-Yasa for Surfers
1:15pm : Naturopathic Yoga – Nervous System (Restorative-Yin)
What’s this “Naturopathic Yoga”? Read this Blog Post to find out more. 🙂