Surfing and Yoga : two complementary practices?

Surfing and Yoga : two complementary practices?

Discover how yoga can help you to improve your surfing

You can be a good surfer and never have practiced yoga, just as you can be a great yogi and never have caught a wave, however these two sports are closer than you think. 

Yoga practice is recognized as complementary to preparation and performance in many sports, including surfing. Kelly Slater, eleven-time world champion American surfer, has integrated this balancing sport into his preparation routine. Yoga allows him to work in depth his mind with meditation, his apnea skills by controlling his breathing and his deep muscles thanks to simple or intense asanas. 

Surfing and Yoga requires 3 essential qualities: concentration, balance and precision. These 3 indspensable elements allow, on a board as on a mat, to master and maintain different positions.

Surfing & Yoga: muscles and skills required

  • Muscles

During surfing sessions, and in particular when paddling, several muscles are involved: biceps, triceps, pectoralis major, trapezius, deltoids and dorsalis major. Abs and glutes are also stimulated to keep a stable and raised posture on the board. 

Moreover, the legs are essential in this sliding sport because they keep us standing on the board. For that, glutes, calves, quadriceps and hamstrings are requested. 

Yoga also allows you to use all of these essential surfing muscles through various positions. Practicing this physical balance activity originating from India helps to prepare and strengthen these muscles, which will make it easier to progress and reach your surfing goals. 

  • Balance

To surf well, it is essential to have a good balance and to control your center of gravity. Yoga proposes postures allowing to work these 2 elements and to tame them. Thus, everyone can progress and improve his balance in surfing by doing yoga.

  • Flexibility

Although it is necessary to be sheathed during a surfing session, flexibility and suppleness are essential to practice this sport. A surfer who is too stiff will lose his balance faster. Flexibility allows you to chain movements, weight changes and balance on the board without falling into the water. Moreover, it helps to avoid injuries, the dread of professional surfers.  

With its wide range of positions, yoga aims to improve flexibility while stretching the muscles of the body and reducing tension, which makes this practice all the more complementary with surfing.

  • Endurance

Endurance is essential to last a long time in the water and perform well. To reach the line up without being breathless, it is better to have strong shoulders, heart and lungs because many waves can stop you before reaching the open sea. 

Yoga is not the first sport you think of to improve your cardio. However, it is a sport that helps to control your breathing and improves your resistance to effort. Thus, by becoming a yogi, you will be able to better control your breath which will allow you to be less exhausted while doing a physical activity.  

  • Concentration 

Yoga allows you to work on your mind and concentration in depth. This will help you to stay calm in stressful and unexpected situations, both underwater and on land, which can be a real advantage for your surf sessions. 

In addition, these two complementary sports, yoga and surfing, are considered as meditative activities. Who hasn't heard a surfer saying how much surfing soothes him? During a surfing session, it is possible to sit on your surfboard for several minutes waiting for the wave. This waiting moment is good for the mind and the body and reminds us relaxing yoga positions. 

Which yoga positions/asanas to improve your surfing?

To practice well this physical activity of balance, we advise you to place yourself on a yoga mat, of the size and thickness of your choice, in a quiet place that calms you. We advise you for example to try our Eco-friendly Yoga Mat which will enable you to practise yoga in all serenity, wherever you want thanks to its mobile format and its adjustable travel strap.

  • Plank Pose: cette position engage et renforce en profondeur les abdominaux tout en faisant appel aux bras, aux épaules, aux poignets et aux fessiers. La position de la planche rappelle la position du take off en surf et est donc idéale pour faire un renforcement global du corps et des muscles importants pour le surf.

  • The one-legged Chaturanga descent: cet asana renforce les biceps et les triceps, des muscles essentiels pour le take off et la rame en surf.

  • Downward-Facing Dog: cette posture permet d’étirer tout le corps : les jambes, les mollets, les épaules et le dos tout en renforçant les bras. C’est une position de yoga qui est reconnue pour prévenir les douleurs du bas du dos, souvent connues et appréhendées par les surfeurs en fin de session. 

  • Chaturanga Dandasana: cette position de yoga sollicite intensément les abdominaux, essentiels pour ce sport de glisse et permet également de travailler le pop-up.

  • Utthita Parsvakonasana : cette posture de yoga permet d’étendre le bassin, d’étirer les grands dorsaux et aide la zone du cœur à s’ouvrir, souvent fermée lors des sessions surf. Cette position permet de travailler la respiration, essentielle pour le sport et particulièrement pour ce sport de glisse.

Stand Up Paddle Yoga 

Also called SUP Yoga, this unusual sport between sliding and balance is practiced on a board longer and larger than a surfboard, most of the time on calm water. SUP Yoga is becoming more and more popular and attracts yogis and water lovers in search of new sensations.

This activity has a playful side that amuses the practitioners but requires additional work to succeed in maintaining a yoga posture on a moving element.

In addition to the intensified physical effort, this yoga on water reinforces the soothing side thanks to the power and the connection with the five natural elements: water because it is an aquatic activity, air and wind because this yoga is practiced outside, the earth which is found under the board and the fire incarnated by the sun.

Yoga is a physical activity that can be practiced alone or in addition to another activity, before and/or after a surf session. This meditation sport brings multiple benefits and is accessible to all. Try it and you will be won over. 

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