Yoga is the connection of the body, mind and soul. It is the self-knowledge of our inner essence the contemplation of our real self through movement (Asanas) and breathing (Pranayama). Believe it or not, yoga has a lot of similarities with surfing, and it can highly impact to your surfing performance, that's why we recommend you to start adding a yoga practice before and after your surf sessions, for sure you will notice the difference!
But how can you integrate a yoga for surfers routine? There are several types of yoga which are very different from each other, so first it is very important to observe your body and adapt your yoga session to your energy levels and how your body feels.
Pre Surf Yoga: Before going into the water it's highly beneficial to save some time for an active yoga flow which could be Vinyasa or dynamic Hatha style, including a few rounds of sun salutations to warm up your body and prepare your muscles for your surfing session. Surfing is a very complete sport, so it is important to put attention to every part of our body: shoulders and arms that we will use for paddling, core which will help us with the take-off and legs for riding the waves. You can add a short 15-20 minutes yoga flow, and meditation before your session to improve mobility, consciousness and focus on your surfing session!
Post Surf Yoga: When we go out of the water we might feel exhausted and tired, but it is very important to dedicate a few minutes for our surfing stretches to avoid soreness the morning after. A slow yoga practice such as yin, where poses are hold for longer time and movements are slower is very recommended restoring your body after the intense paddling.
Which are the best yoga poses for surfers?
-Balancing Poses: Balance is an important skill for surfers! If your mind or your body are not balanced, it will be hard to stand on your board, and you might keep falling again and again. That's why we recommend you to add into your yoga for surfers practice a few balancing poses. There are endless options, if you are a beginner you can start working your balance with easy asanas such as tree pose, or one leg standing. However, if you want to go deeper in the practice inversions are a great way to work your body and mind balance.
Why are they good for surfers? As it's obvious, the main benefit is improving balance, which will rebound in your surfing. However, that's not all, balancing poses increase strength in all the body, but overall in the core to help keeping the balance, having a strong core which help you to maintain your position on the surfboard. Last but not least, they increase focus, which is essential if you are trying to catch a wave.
-Downward Facing Dog and Dolphin: Downward Facing Dog might be the most popular Asana in yoga and with dolphin, its advanced version (same pose placing the forearms on the floor) they are recommendable surfing stretches for both before and after your surfing session.
Why are they good for surfers? They strengthen arms, shoulders and wrists and elongates the shoulder area. But they are not limited to the upper body they also stretch the hamstrings and calves. After surfing is a good yoga pose to release back tension and stretch the spine, so stay for 10-15 breaths and your lower back will thank it! This Asana is considered an inversion as the head is lower than the heart which also encourages blood flowing.
-Heart Openers: They are poses that expand your chest and rib cage to provide postural benefits. In this category you can find beginner surf stretches such as cobra and upward facing dog and advanced asanas like camel and wheel.
Why are they good for surfers? When we are paddling on our surfboard we need to bring up our chest and our neck instead of collapsing over our shoulders. It's a great practice to add some heart openers to our pre surfing warm up, so the body is ready for the paddling posture. These asanas increase energy and strength in the back muscles which are so important for surfing. They are called heart openers as they are related to the Heart Chakra located on the chest, opening this chakra will benefit on our daily posture, and it will create space for love and compassion.
-Flexibility asanas: As we mentioned before, surfing works the whole body and it is so important to work flexibility not only of the arms and shoulders, but also of legs and spine. Flexibility poses are perfect for the post surfing yoga to stretch the whole body and feel lighter after your surf session. Leg and hip stretches for surfers are the asanas of pigeon and frog. We can stretch the arms staying a few seconds or even minutes seated with eagle arms and plow pose (halasana) will release your back tension after surfing which is a counterpose to the main paddling posture.
Why are they good for surfers? Physical flexibility is very important in surfing to prevent joint or muscle injuries but also to feel more agile and fast while performing on the wave.
Now that you know the benefits of yoga for surfers, choose your favorite asanas and surf stretches and improve your surfing level!