On the surface, surfing may seem like just grabbing the surfboard and riding the waves. But dig a little deeper into this and you will find that the discipline is more complex than you would think. It requires a lot of focus, flexibility, strength and balance to successfully move through the currents. And if there is a workout that can offer these skills to suffers, it’s yoga for surfers.
Surprisingly, many people don’t associate surfing with yoga. But as it turns out, both disciplines can have a powerful impact on each other.
Look at it this way, yoga enables you to have a clear mind, improves your concentration, and gives you a lean body. This is all you need to nail that wave ride. Of course you will need to bring along a wetsuit, a board leashes maybe, and other surfing accessories, but being surf fit will give you the power and flexibility you require to prevent injuries and have maximum fun when surfing.
Want to find out more about the physical and mental benefits of yoga for surfers? Great. Keep reading!
1. Builds Strong Core Muscles
From your feet and leg muscles, to your abs and core, all the way to your shoulders and arms, surfing gives you a full body workout. It not only activates the large muscle group responsible for paddling and navigating the waves but also triggers off the thews needed for buoyancy and efficient surfboard control.
Just like surfing, yoga works the whole body, toning both large and small group of muscles and getting you into a great wave riding shape. It is not uncommon to find some parts of your body sore after a good yoga session, but this is a good reminder of how stronger your muscles are getting.
Of all the benefits of yoga for surfers, having strong paddling muscles is the most important. The more the strength the easier it gets for you to maneuver against the currents.
2. Gets You More Flexible
Don’t you sometimes envy these bendy people who can kink themselves into quirky shapes and twist like knots? That’s just how flexible yoga can get you.
Unfortunately, most surfers don’t realize how large a role flexibility plays in water sports, until they encounter some danger that demands quick paddling strokes. If you are serious about improving your surfing skills, then you need to start getting yourself whippy.
Working your hip flexors, chest, and shoulder muscles will go a long way in making you more flexible. Practicing yoga lengthens these muscles getting you stretchy. You become an efficient paddler and advance from a novice surfer to a more skilled one.
3. Improves balance
Most yoga poses require balance. You need to use your strength, focus, and breath to achieve well balanced postures. If you are able to master this when practicing yoga, you will naturally transfer the skill onto the surfboard giving you a finer control of things when they go off balance.
Whether you are hitting waves or doing yoga moves on a paddle, your body and mind will stay tuned into balance. Consequently, you will be able to remain on track and respond faster to situations.
4. Gives You Better Concentration
Concentration and clarity of mind is important not only in surfing but in other activities as well. Whether you are driving a car, working on a project, or meeting a deadline, being always present is essential.
Being in a water body is no different. There is just so much to look out for. Sometimes the waves get stronger than you anticipated and your surfing equipment gets swept away. Other times, there are just so many obstacles and surfers around you thus, you need to be extra careful.
As you can see, there is just so much to be aware of right, front, and center. You therefore need to be in the right state of mind as any wrong move could lead to an unforgettable disaster.
Practicing yoga forces your mind to focus more and keeps you safe in the waters. A focused and calm mind gets you catching more waves and helps you paddle faster.
Yoga Postures For Surfers
If you are a water sports lover and haven’t thought of giving yoga a shot, you are really missing out on the benefits of yoga for surfers. Yoga warms up your day, strengthens your muscles, and prepares you for the next surf.
Want to make your back and arms stronger, prevent surf injuries and look hotter in that bathing suit? Yoga will get the job done! Here are 5 poses to get you started.
1. Eagle Pose
Stretches you upper back and shoulders and strengthens your hip and thigh areas. This move is also known to improve body balance and enhance concentration. It should be performed prior to and after a long surfing session
- Stand straight with both arms placed at your sides.
- Looking at a point straight in front of you, bend both of your knees slowly.
- Maintaining balance with your left foot, lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh.
- Hook your right foot at the back of your left calf. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
- Move your arms and stretch them toward the front.
- Bending your elbows, lift your wrist and fingertips perpendicular to the ground.
- Raise your elbows and slowly move your forearms upward. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
- Slowly return to the starting position and switch to the opposite side.
2. Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Strengthens the lower back, abs, arms and wrists.
- Get into a plank position with your elbows directly above your wrists.
- Keeping your back straight and engaging the abs and leg muscles, lower your body toward the floor such that it hovers just a few centimeters above the ground.
- Move your elbows toward your ribcage but keep them pointing the back part of your feet. Don’t let them splay sideways.
- Squeeze the lower part of your knuckles into the ground, making sure that your arms are perpendicular and form a 90˚ bend at the elbows. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then get back to your starting posture.
3. Locust Pose
Strengthens your glutes and spinal muscles, tones the legs and arms, and stretches chest and shoulders.
- Lie on your belly and rest the front part of your head on the mat.
- Moving your arms toward your sides, stretch your legs straight so that they appear parallel with the ground.
- Breathe in and lift your head to face toward the front. As you breathe out, raise your chest and upper arms.
- Lift the upper part of your spine and move your arms toward your heels.
- Raise your legs upward using your inner thighs and reach your back with your heels.
- Keep your upper body raised as you broaden your collarbones.
- Pull your shoulder blades toward your back ribs, maintaining an even, smooth and controlled breath.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and then get back to the start.
- Repeat four to five times.
4. Downward Facing Dog
Strengthens your shoulders and arms, tones the waist and core, lengthens the calves and the hamstrings, stretches the back, strengthens the spine, and allows efficient blood circulation. In simple terms, downward facing dog works the entire body.
- Using your hands and knees, come into a table posture.
- With your knees hip distance apart, breathe in and raise your knees and thighs off the ground.
- Straighten your legs slowly without locking your knees.
- Stretching your back and pressing down with your palms and top of your feet, raise your behind upward.
- Making your arm muscles as firm as possible, raise the arms toward your shoulders.
- Pull your shoulder blades toward your back ribs and downward to your tailbone.
- Keep your head facing downward and let it rest between your arms. Hold this position for 10 to 100 breaths.
- Return to the starting position.
5. High Push Up Pose (Plank Pose)
Stretches the spine, strengthens the inner and our arm muscles, and tones the abs.
- Begin by going onto your hands and knees. Make sure that your shoulders are directly above your wrists.
- Splaying your fingers and drawing your chest outward, press down with your palms.
- With your face looking down, pull your tummy toward your spine while lengthening you neck.
- Step backward, making sure that your head and body are in a straight line.
- Keep your hips lifted and pull your pelvis toward your spine, while contracting your abs.
- Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths and then get back to the start.
Globo Surf Overview
Surfing and yoga go together like peas and carrots. If you want to reap maximum benefits of yoga for surfing, then you need to start taking your yoga classes seriously.
But if you feel like taking classes is just too much for you, you can try any of the poses we have discussed above. Good thing is that these can be done almost anywhere. You can bring your mat at your backyard or get a yoga paddle and do a few locust poses in the ocean. Practicing these regularly will give you the flexibility, strength and concentration you need to ride those waves.