Yoga & Surfing

Yoga and surfing – the perfect symbiosis

Experience the unity of body, soul and spirit

Yoga originated in India and means unity of body, mind and spirit. The special asanas (postures) are practiced to achieve more flexibility and strength in these three units. Pranayama is practiced to lengthen and deepen the breath and finally meditation helps us to reach a higher level.

Why this also fits the life of a surfer? As with most other sports, we strive to improve our skills. But this requires more than just a good dose of passion and fun. Many of us are often not granted the opportunity to go surfing every day and thus improve our own surfing. So we have to learn again and again to strengthen our muscles, to learn how to control our body and to train our own balance and flexibility. All these physical qualities can be positively influenced by your regular yoga practice.

More power and stability through yoga

In preparation for your next surf vacation, you should strengthen the following muscles: shoulders and latissimus dorsi for paddling power, triceps for a powerful pop-up, your core muscles for the right body tension and the back muscles for optimal fine trim on the board and finally the quadriceps for perfect turns in the wave.

Depending on your individual surfing level, you should focus on different muscle groups. As a beginner surfer, you should first focus on strengthening your triceps as well as your back and core muscles. This will give you enough strength and stability in the water and on the board. The more waves you can paddle powerfully and the more often you practice the pop-up, the faster your surfing will improve.

As soon as you start to pop up green unbroken waves, your shoulders and latissimus dorsi will be activated and challenged even more. Want to improve your turns and create more spray in the maneuver? Make sure leg training is high on your training plan!

The best asanas to prepare for your surf vacation

Here are some of my favorite asanas that you can use to prepare for your next surf vacation:

Stretch: Dolphin Pose – Catur Svanasana
Strengthening: Thread the Needle – Parsva Balasana

Latissimus dorsi
Stretch: Fish Pose – Matsyasana
Strengthening: Half Tortoise Pose – Ardha Kurmasana

Stretch: Plank – Kumbhakasana
Strengthening: Cow Face Arms – Gomukhasana Variation

Stretch: Half Locust – Ardha Salabhasana
Strengthening: Child Pose – Balasana

Stretch: Boat Pose – Navasana
Strengthening: Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Stretch: Chair Pose – Utkatasana
Strengthening: Camel Pose – Ustrasana

Surfing is not only about strength, but also about flexibility. Even for the first movements like the paddle movement or the take-off you need flexibility in your spine, shoulders and hips. The more advanced and frequent you surf, the more important this flexibility becomes for powerful turns and compression in the wave. It can be said that in general, the movements in surfing are rather repetitive. The individual movements build up a lot of tension in the body and muscles. Therefore, it is all the more important to stretch and pay attention to those muscles where you feel tension. Proper stretching helps you avoid unnecessary injuries that can result from hardened muscles and reduced flexibility.

Practice the following yoga poses for more flexibility

Yoga Pose: Cat Cow Pose – Chakravakasana / Lord of the Fishes Pose – Ardha Matsyendrasana

Yoga Pose: Garland Pose – Malasana / Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Yogapose: Wide-Legged Forward Bend – Prasarita Padottanasana / Eagle Arms – Garudasana

We’ve all seen pictures of wipe-outs or experienced for ourselves what it feels like to be whirled around and pushed underwater by a wave. The time under water often feels like an eternity. In reality, it is usually only a few seconds. What remains is the feeling of being overwhelmed by something. With pranayama (breathing in yoga) you can learn how to control your breath in such stressful situations, stay focused and do not panic. Once you learn how to breathe properly, the next situation where a wave pushes you underwater, you will remain much more relaxed and calm. That sounds unimaginable to you at this point? If you want to learn more about breathing techniques, be sure to read our blog post on pranayama and surfing.

Just like yoga, you need mental and physical balance when surfing. Surfing can be quite frustrating at times and you may simply find yourself blocked. Then nothing really works. In such moments, try to stay calm and relaxed and let the influences of the day and your thoughts pass by. Yoga practice helps you to do this. Only when you are relaxed can your body and mind be balanced. Accept how much you gave that day, how resilient you were and where your limits were, without expecting more from yourself or judging it. If you can do that, you’ll soon experience it yourself: The next day will feel much better, much lighter.

My favorite Balancing Exercises:

Eagle Pose – Garudasana / Warrior 3 – Virabhadrasana III

Corps Pose – Shavasana / Ujjayi Breath

Yoga combines all of the above. It strengthens your body and your mind in the same way. Yoga helps you to overcome fears that you have in your everyday life, but especially in surfing. Regular yoga practice allows you to stay more calm in situations that put you in stress and rely on your mental and physical strength. The right yoga exercises will also help you to prevent injuries and to relax tense muscles and body parts, which are under a lot of strain, especially when surfing. Only in this way, your body can recover sustainably and is ready for the next surf session!

The presented asanas and exercises are only a small part of the world of yoga, but have helped me personally for many years – whether on land, when my thoughts are spinning in circles or in the water, when a wave whirls me through the water again.

Surfing or Yoga? Book your trip to Drivethru Camp Madiha now!

written by Vivi