Yoga for Surfers – Does it make you a better surfer?
Surfing and Yoga have a lot in common when it comes to the physical advantages. Whereas not every surfer does yoga, a majority of them agree that yoga and surfing make a great combination. For starters, they both need strengthen, great flexibility, precision and both share a long list of both physical and mental characteristics that are acquired through regular practice.
The relationship between the two dates back way before the asanas. Perhaps the most common similarity between the two is that they both need you to be focused and in the present not to mention that they share a fundamental connection with the natural world. After all is said and done, the physical postures make a great start when it comes to discussing how surfers can benefit from Yoga practice.
I found it difficult to come up with specific postures that benefit your surfing. This is because it seemed like all of them help. This in mind, I have divided them into three broad categories that I believe will benefit you surfing lifestyle.
Getting ready for a surfing vacation
Since I am assuming that you have planned for this vacation for week or months and that you have committed you hard earned cash, then you will want to arrive at your destination fresh, and more flexible than ever before. The back and shoulders will be your priority unless you are planning to go chasing very long waves, in which case you will need your legs to be equally as strong.
You will need to work on your balance and standing twists since they will influence your ability to make turns and do stick drops. I recommend trying the Crocodile plank. With your knees lifted and your weight supported by your toes and forearms.
Assuming this pose several times in your practice session will help you build strength in the back, shoulders and core. For more strength and better wave handling, try different variations of the crocodile plank
The next pose will help you feel and be in touch with your body. When you surf, especially in new spot, you will want to know where your legs are in space. This is why I recommend the half moon and the twisted half-moon variation.
Having the twisting variations of the half-moon pose will add mobility to the core and strengthen the abdominal muscles required for you to achieve powerful manoeuvres such as quick pop ups on your board.
Same Day Surfing
If you want to enjoy a morning paddle out, it is always advisable to do a light warm up to ensure that you don’t tire quickly. I would recommend doing a patrol or a session based on mediation and breathe control.
You will no need to do complicated moves. You need only to flex your back, by doing back-bends; flex your waist and limbs by doing gentle twists and work on your balancing. I recommend trying the cobra. As you will note, the cobra has many similarities with the pose you assume when popping on your board. Watch YogaSadhhana demonstrates
Fine tune your body by looking over your shoulders and twisting your head.
Recovery After a Big Session
Now that you had fun all day surfing that you can’t even lift your arms with ease, you will need to take on some yoga to relax your body. You will need to open up your shoulders, hips, and do some light neck stretches. These are all geared to counter balance your time on the board.
I recommend a forward fold with yoga mudra. Since you spent most of your day surfing with your spine in extension, folding forward especially when standing is such a relief. When you combine it with yoga mudra, you force an opening to your chest reliving the thoracic spine.
Another way to relax is to do the Pigeon pose. This relaxes the hips that get tired from surfing all day. The pigeon pose introduces a different range of motion to the hips.
There are several variations of the pigeon pose. Check them out in the video below by: LivingStrong