It’s no secret that surfing requires good (or at least DECENT) balance. Guess what? Yoga is the perfect compliment to this. Whether you already have great balance, or you’re working to improve, practicing yoga will help TREMENDOUSLY in this area through standing balancing postures and lunges specifically.
Practicing yoga is a great way to build strength and flexibility in the feet, which is super helpful when you’re standing on your board.
2. Hip Opening
Typical when people think of surfing, they only think of upper body strength. Because, yes, paddling makes your arms do WORK. But the truth is, it’s a full body experience. And, all of my more advanced surfers (typically only the men) would comment on how much hip opening yoga postures helped them to improve their turns.
These postures can be anything from relaxed shapes like Reclined Butterfly, to more active postures like Crescent Lunge, Warrior Two, or a deep Lizard Pose.
3. Functional Mobility
The difference between mobility and flexibility is that flexibility lengthens the muscles (typically in a more passive fashion), whereas mobility targets the joints by increasing their ability to move actively through a complete range of motion. Working on mobility will undoubtedly serve you in all areas of life. But, we’re here to talk about surf. Which joints benefit the most from functional mobility with surfing?
Ankle mobility is huge for helping with balance. Shoulder mobility is a great way to support a strong paddle. And hip mobility ensures the hip flexibility needed for turns is supported through a more active process.
Breath is just as integral to surfing as it is to yoga. Regardless of if you’re surfing monster waves, or cruisy littler peelers, increasing lung capacity is an important piece of the surfing puzzle. Why? Well, because whether you like it or not, you WILL wipe out from time to time. And, sometimes that means being held under by white wash or waves.
If you’ve taken time to work on your lung capacity, then you’ll feel more comfortable holding your breath for longer periods of time. The more comfortable you feel, the less likely you are to panic. And the less you panic, the less energy you waste. It’s a win-win, really.
This is where we get into the yummy stuff. Think about how your back, neck, and shoulders feel after a huge morning surf. They’re probably tight, maybe even a little tweaked from looking over your shoulder, or a bad wipe out.
When you surf, your back is arched most of the time (think about when you paddle, how you lift your chest up- this makes all the muscles in your back body engage, and tense up). Gentle yoga is a great way to counter the strength you’ve exerted in the water.
I’d suggest targeting the upper back through eagle arms. The back through reclined twists and rag doll folds. The neck with small half circles of the head. And the shoulders through prayer Puppy Pose on blogs, or a gentle fold with a chest expansion grip.
If you’re still not convinced, check out one of our surf and yoga retreats where you’ll have the perfect blend of both.