There is a reason why surfing and yoga has become such a popular combination for surfers around the world. In the words of the the great Gerry Lopez:
”The benefits that yoga can have on surfing are pretty far-reaching. Whether it’s through strength, flexibility, or simply just breathing better–all these things are pretty damn important in surfing, right?”
I have surfed for over 30 years, my mother was a yoga and fitness instructor for a large portion of those years. As a result, there is 1 thing I can say one thing with absolute certainty.
”I feel and surf better, when I take the time to make yoga a part of my daily routine.”
That’s enough about me, let’s dive in and look at the reasons why surfing and yoga are so great together.
Increasing your core strength and flexibility helps to improve balance. Balance is vital for most sports, but particularly important for surfing. More strength, means more power, which in turns helps to improve surfing turns and maneuvers. Without a strong core, performance declines and injuries occur.
Yoga helps to strengthen major muscles and stabilizing muscles. When your secondary muscles become stronger, your entire body becomes more balanced. This means better body awareness in the water and less injuries.
Increased range of motion means more time on waves, less falling off, less soreness, and less injuries. Better range of motion means more agility and more ability to synch your movements with the waves. These factors will quickly help you to improve your surfing.
The ocean is not our natural habitat. The ocean and waves can be particularly unpredictable. There is always an increased sense of risk and danger when participating in adventure sports. When we are successful at activities that take us out of our comfort zone, the result is the we develop increased confidence. A more confident you is a happier and more successful you, in all aspects of life. Make sure that confidence doesn’t turn into cockiness though, or your friends might stop talking to you.
Surfing and Yoga will both help to improve how you sleep. Surfing requires a lot of physical exertion and uses a lot of different muscle groups. Quality sleep means more energy in the water and faster muscle recovery and repair. It means a calmer nervous system which leads to less stress. As a result not only will you become a better surfer, you will enjoy healthier and more fulfilling life.
Learning how to breathe properly is really important. First of all, proper breathing strengthens the heart and lungs, trains the diaphragm, increases circulation and detoxification, and minimizes lactic acid build-up. When done properly, breathing can really contribute positively to your overall health. For surfers correct breathing is even more important. Whether you are a novice taking surf lessons or have years of experience behind you, improved breathing will help you deal with those challenging underwater moments.
Stretching, twisting, and compressing the internal organs from yoga stretches, and as a result of similar movements when surfing. When also combined with proper breathing facilitates faster toxin removal in the body. Toxin removal means a good working metabolism and as a result a lean, healthy body.
Finally, when the metabolism is optimal, body weight is also be correct. The better you feel, the more time and energy you have in the ocean. Furthermore the more time you spend in the water, the more your surfing will improve. Though maybe not in my case.
Throughout my many years of surfing, there have been periods during which injuries have been more prevalent. These injury prone periods have always coincided with periods when I have not been regularly stretching before and after surfing.
Surfing involves a lot of repetitive movements for the body and therefore repetitive work load for the muscles. As a result we can get stiff and sore, which in turn makes surfing harder and can contribute to injuries. Finally when surfing, your neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and knees are especially at risk. Regular yoga can help you prevent these strains and consequently help you to recover faster.
Both surfing and yoga help us to clear our minds. Learning to surf requires time and dedication, because the learning curve is so steep. If you’re not fully tuned in to your surroundings and completely focused on what’s happening around you in the lineup, you’re going to fail. Likewise, the regular practice of yoga needs discipline and patience. Consequently when you learn to focus your mind and stay in the present moment, your surfing and yoga will both improve.
As a result both activities are the perfect compliment to one another. Problems in life can disappear during those moments when we are sat alone in the ocean, surrounded by nature. We are able to take in the beauty that is all around us. Above all surfing and yoga can help to bring calmness and tranquility into our lives, this can only be a good thing.
Like many others around the world we have come to realise that surfing and yoga are perfect when practiced in complement to one another. Surf and yoga retreats provide the perfect opportunity for people to experience both activities together. Maybe you surf already and have never tried yoga, or visa versa.
Experience has taught us that our guests benefited greatly from doing the two together; that they learned better, their bodies were more relaxed, and their minds more open. Furthermore we feel that if guests commit to five lessons of each, we are able to have the time and opportunity to really teach them, help them build strong foundations, and teach them many of the valuable lessons to be learned both in the yoga studio and in the ocean.
Finally, we firmly believe that once you try surfing and yoga, you’ll enjoy them so much that they’ll be with you for the rest of your life.