Surfing and yoga go hand in hand these days.
Many surfers use yoga to improve their balance and flexibility while keeping their minds focused and clear.
It’s easy, it’s fun, and it could make you a better surfer—what more could you ask for?
Whether you’re completely new to the practice or you already have some yoga poses under your belt, the following guide will help you to improve your surfing with yoga.
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How Can Yoga Improve Surfing?
Yoga is a low-intensity form of exercise that benefits the body and the mind.
The spiritual nature of yoga practice means it is closely connected to surfing and other laidback sports, but you don’t need to believe in life energy to derive benefits from practicing yoga.
There are genuinely scientifically benefits to this practice, including all of the following:
Regular yoga practice will build your core strength.
It might not feel like you’re doing much, but when you strike those poses and remain locked in them, you’re forcing your core to work hard.
Upper Body Strength
Yoga won’t build your chest, back, or arms like weight lifting.
But it’s a great alternative to all of those things and one that will still put those muscles to work.
Certain pose stretches will activate all of your upper body (including your deltoid and trapeze muscles), forcing those muscles to contract, testing them, and ultimately improving your strength and tone.
Upper body strength is essential for surfing, as you’ll need to do a lot of paddling.
Lower Body Strength
Yoga poses are even more effective for lower body strength and you need that strength to keep popping up off your body and to carve those waves.
Yoga improves your balance by forcing you to adopt poses and positions that you’re not used to.
When you’re surfing, you’re putting your balance to the test, but the rest of the time, you’re probably walking, sitting, and supporting your body.
As a result, you’re not testing yourself and honing your balance.
Yoga poses can help with that, and you’ll notice the difference after just a few weeks of daily practice.
Yoga can help you to stay calm and centered.
It’s an introspective and meditative practice, making it the perfect accompaniment to what is a pretty meditative sport.
Do you have shoulder pain or back pain?
Do these pains limit your movement on the waves and make it difficult for you to surf successfully and enjoy yourself?
If so, yoga could be the answer.
It’s low intensity and low impact, so you’ll be activating those injured muscles without pushing them too hard.
To some people, yoga is about twisting into weird and uncomfortable positions like a contortionist.
But in reality, it’s about slow and methodical movements and staying within your limits.
If you suffer from muscle or joint pains and need to take it easy, yoga could be one of the best ways to improve your surf performance without risking injury.
Improved Lung Capacity
A major part of yoga practice is based on the breath.
It teaches you to breathe deeply and stay in the present moment.
In doing so, it could help to increase lung capacity and improve blood flow, all while reducing stress and anxiety.
Where Can I Learn Yoga for Surfing?
Yoga is something that you can do in your own spare time.
You don’t need expensive equipment or extensive lessons.
A few YouTube videos can provide you with all the guidance that you need, teaching you basic yoga poses like the Downward Facing Dog, Eagle Pose, Angel Pose, and Extended Puppy Pose, and allowing you to progress at your own pace.
After all, it’s just a series of poses that transition into one another.
As long as you’re not forcing yourself into difficult positions and are focusing on breathing deeply and slowly, you can’t go wrong.
If you want more information on yoga practicing for surfers, check out Gerry Lopez.
Also known as “Mr. Pipeline”, Lopez is a massive yoga fan and he has videos, retreats, and guides based around yoga for surfers.
Greg Long is also a big advocate of yoga for surfers.
You can also follow daily yoga classes through live streams or at your local fitness center.
How Do I Increase My Stamina for Surfing?
To build stamina, you need to focus on exercises that emphasize endurance and fitness, as opposed to strength and power.
Rowing machines are a great example.
They activate your back and shoulder muscles while requiring a lot of drive from your lungs.
It’s a powerful movement, but it’s still cardio and so it will still improve your stamina.
Boxing is another great option.
In fact, boxing is one of the best sports for humbling people who think they are super fit and strong.
It doesn’t matter how fit you are, if you spend 3 minutes throwing non-stop punches and adjusting your footwork, you will be out of breath and ready for a rest.
What Else Can Help me with my Surfing?
Resistance training is good for surfing as it could help with injury prevention while improving pop up ability and paddling power.
You can use progressive overload methods (consistently adding more weight to the bar) and stick with compound exercises (squats, bench press, deadlift) or you can focus on bodyweight exercises.
After all, you’re not trying to break powerlifting records.
You’re just trying to make it easier to balance, paddle, carve, and pop up, and so push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and planks are ideal.
Whether you’re lifting heavy weights or sticking with the basics, always pay attention to your form.
Focus on smooth and fluid movements and use lighter weights until you get it right.
You’ll have fewer issues later in life (painful shoulders, tight hips, clicking knees) and will be less likely to cause yourself an injury.
Stretching before and after a workout can help, but why stretch when you can practice yoga instead?
Does Kelly Slater do Yoga?
Yes, there are many articles and interviews out there that suggest Slater is a big fan of yoga.