If you’ve been on a surf trip in the last decade, you may have noticed the yoga studios, retreats, and resorts popping up all over popular surf travel destinations. While yoga and surfing are seemingly unrelated, the two have a lot in common and can be mutually beneficial when practiced together. Whether you’re new to surfing, new to yoga, or new to both, taking up yoga will do wonders for your surfing, health, and mental well-being. Practicing yoga for surfing will help ease aches and pains from long sessions, improve balance, increase paddle strength, and help you prevent injuries. Continue reading below for How Daily Yoga Can Improve Your Surfing: A Complete Guide to Yoga for Surfing.
Yoga for surfing increased paddle strength
Yoga, especially Vinyasa yoga, involves a lot of shoulder stabilizing movements. During a typical Vinyasa session, practitioners flow through a series of poses that complement each other and challenge the practitioner’s strength, flexibility, and coordination. Many surfers turn to yoga to increase their paddle strength by strengthening their shoulders and upper back. A great flow for surfers begins in High Plank and flows between Downward Facing Dog and Upward Facing Dog. To make the flow more challenging, add Dolphin Pose and Chaturanga. Regular yoga practice will increase your muscle endurance in your shoulders and upper back, which will allow you to paddle longer and harder.
Yoga for surfing improved balance
Beyond yoga’s strength-building abilities, it’s also great for improving balance which will directly benefit your surfing. The key to building better balance through yoga is to not only master the challenging balancing poses, like Utkatasana (Chair Pose), Vrksasana (Tree Pose), and Eagle Pose but to remain balanced and in control while moving through poses. Transitioning from one pose to another mimics surfing. Just as we must remain balanced while flowing from one pose to another, surfers must stay in control and balanced as they pop up, bottom turn, top turn, and pump down the line. Yoga will also do wonders for your core strength, which will increase your rotational power and allow you to perform more forceful turns.
Yoga for surfing injury treatment and prevention
While surfing keeps us active and healthy, surfing for prolonged periods can take its toll on the body and lead to muscular imbalances and overuse injuries. Surfers are plagued with muscular imbalances and inflexibility due to the sport’s asymmetrical nature. Since we put the same foot forward on every wave, we engage our muscles asymmetrically over and over, which can lead to muscular imbalances. Additionally, surfers are always in closed positions, from when are sitting in the water waiting for waves with our hips closed to when we’re surfing in a crouched position. All the time we spend sitting and in bent-over crouched positions can limit our flexibility and range of motion in our hip flexors and cause injury. Yoga elongates our muscles and strengthens the small supporting muscles around our joints to help us prevent injuries in and out of the water.
If you’re planning a trip to Oahu, book your stay at Turtle Bay Resort to stay close to the action on the North Shore. Turtle Bay offers daily yoga classes to complement our North Shore Surf Lessons. If you’re feeling up for a challenge, try SUP yoga in our Stand-up Paddle Yoga class or our Flow and Glow SUP Yoga After Dark class.