Some of you may be hitting the coasts this summer and maybe your surfboard too, so here is a useful guide to yoga for surfers by guest blogger Charlie Page from finbin.net …
For the most part, not many surfers correlate yoga with surfing. To most surfers, they are two completely different forms of exercise. The thing that surprises most surfers is that yoga can actually have a profound effect on your surfing abilities. When you surf, your goal is to pop up and ride a wave with power and confidence. The entire process of doing so requires clear focus, a strong mind, and a balanced physical strength. Yoga can help in building all of those attributes, as well as helping you to better control your breath. Not only does it greatly strengthen the necessary muscles for surfing, but can also help to give you mental and spiritual strength to overcome your surfing obstacles.
What Exactly Is Yoga For Surfing?
It is essentially having a yoga practice with the goal of becoming a better surfer in mind. Surfers tend to share similar ideals to those who practice yoga, especially when it comes to mother nature, though our aim here is to focus more on maximising your physical strength and abilities. Yoga for surfing can not only help to train your body to help you become a better surfer, but can also help to repair past problems to create a happier, healthier, and more balanced body. That is why we’ll be discussing the specific benefits that you can obtain from practicing yoga, as well as a few poses to get you started.
3 Benefits For Surfers
Balance is probably one of the most important factors when riding waves. It allows us to effortlessly flow with any wave that comes our way and ride with stability and confidence. The majority of yoga poses help to improve our balance. This is done through the process of relaxing your body and mind by learning to control your breath. It helps you to focus on your breath rather than tighten up your body so you can stay looser and more comfortable. When you eventually get up on your board, you’ll notice that the muscle memory of breath focus and body relaxation helps in better stabilising you.
Another very important factor in the practice of yoga is the potential to improve flexibility. In surfing, the more flexible you are, the easier your pop ups will be and the better your turns and manoeuvres will flow. When your body is stiff, these things become much more difficult. They can also result in unnecessary soreness when your session is done. There is no question that the majority of surfers (especially those who have been surfing for a long time) experience tension in their shoulders, lower back, chest, and arms. Practicing yoga can not only help to prevent further tension and possible injury, but can also help you to recover after each session by putting your muscles in a more relaxed state.
There is still somewhat of a cliché out there in the world about yoga. Many athletes don’t seem to view it as a “tough” or “strong” practice. The thing is, yoga probably utilises more muscles than any other sport, helping those who practice it better develop their overall strength. When you have more strength, you have more energy and better endurance. Those who have been surfing for a long time know that it can have a negative effect on their lower back, chest, and arm muscles. By working these muscles in their full ranges of motion, you can better help to strengthen your body and prepare it for longer surf sessions.
3 Yoga Poses That Help Surfers
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is certainly one of the most popular yoga poses, and for good reason: it’s excellent for the entire body. It can help to stretch and elongate the muscles in the shoulders and calves, improve strength in the arms and legs, and lengthen the spine to help recover from and prevent further injury. Beyond building strength and balance, it can also help you to practice focusing on your breath and keeping your body calm.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
The Four-Limbed Staff Pose is a miracle worker for your upper body. It is especially great for those who believe that the practice of yoga is all about stretching and flexibility. You will seriously begin to feel the burn with this pose. Don’t think that you’ve maximised your pop-ups? This is probably the best yoga pose out there to help you in making your pop-ups not only stronger, but much quicker as well. In terms of actually toning and defining your muscles, the Four-Limbed Staff Pose will give you that ripped look in your back, triceps, and abs. Think of it like a plank 2.0.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior II is also an excellent pose for surfing because, well, it looks just like your stance when you’re on your board. Though it may look pretty simple at first glance, there are actually quite a few things going on here. Warrior II can help to stretch and strengthen your legs, hips, groin, and shoulders. It can also help to greatly improve your balance and endurance as you hold the position and concentrate on your breath. The more you practice these poses, the more you will begin to feel more uplifted. Your stamina will greatly increase, as well as your ability to focus on the breath.
How Can I Begin To Incorporate Yoga Into My Surfing Routine?
To begin, we would highly recommend trying and becoming comfortable with the three poses above. If you can, have someone who is experienced with you to ensure your alignment is correct so you can reap all the benefits. Refer to these three poses as your ‘Beginner Flow’ and practice them before each yoga session, trying to hold each pose for at least a minute, revolving between them a few times. Once you become comfortable with these poses, look into other poses which focus on specific muscle groups that you want to strengthen.
Can Yoga Help Me Mentally?
Yoga can greatly benefit you in reducing your mental and emotional stress while building a spiritual awareness, whatever that means to you. Because you learn to focus on your breath and body, you will begin to feel more present and less distracted. You will connect better with your environment, in turn, helping you to enjoy life and every moment you have in the ocean. If you find that you are stressed constantly or can never seem to learn how to relax, try yoga. The benefits are astronomical, we promise.
Should I Take a Class, and if so, What Kind of Class?
There are many different kinds of yoga to choose from, which can make it a bit overwhelming to get started with. Each type of yoga (hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram etc) has slightly different benefits and philosophies, but there are many similarities across the board. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding what works for you. So try different teachers, different styles and with an open mind, you can achieve anything and will really start to see the benefits for your watersports practice!
Visit finbin.net for lots more material on all things watersports!
Share this Post