The best way you can be perfect at surfing is surfing more. As much as we both agree on this, several other exercises can boost your surfing performance. Surfing and yoga is a perfect combo you need to indulge in. You can confirm this with expert surfers-most of them do yoga regularly. Talk of people like Kelly Slater, Greg Long, Fergal Smith, and several others. You will learn from them surfers yoga is a great deal. But this is not to mean that only the expert surfers benefit from yoga. As a beginner surfer, you have a lot to gain from practicing yoga.
Surfing requires a lot of strength, flexibility, focus, and balance. Where can you get all this out of the waters? Simply by practicing yoga. Most of the yoga poses tend to focus on those requirements of good surfing. Although most surfers have been familiar with this combo, it is only recently when surfers started taking the two serious together.
First exercise for surfers’ yoga
You cannot mention yoga and leaving breathing behind. In all yoga poses, breathing is the basic thing you will start with. As a surfer, you should spend some minutes and engage your breath before practicing any of the poses intended for surfing purposes. While on your mat, take a deep breath until your rib cage expands. Focus on your breath as you work on the postures. Ensure that you are moving with your breath trying not to hold it at all.
Pains and aches that surfers deal with
Every sport is not without its imbalances on the muscles. Without proper exercise, you cannot make it through the waters. Surfing is a challenging activity requiring one to be fit both mentally and physically. The most demanding thing with surfing is that you have to keep on pushing your body. This is what can make you experience pains and aches. Fatigue is what follows next in both the mind and muscles.
This is what you can expect with surfing
- Tight hips – when surfing, you are likely to overuse your hip rotator. With this, your hips tend to be tighter than before.
- Pain in the lower back – as you surf, you exert pressure on your lower back causing pain
- Rigidity in the neck, shoulders, and back – the paddling exercise can make your shoulders and neck stiff and rigidity in your spine.
- Closed chest – this is a dangerous thing since it results in a bad flow of oxygen in your body.
- Joint pains- experiencing pain in your ankles and wrists. This is because you will use these joints more when surfing.
- Side body tightness
Advantages of yoga for surfers
As said always, prevention is better than cure. But reducing recovery time is also of a big importance. Think of being the best in surfing, with no injury risks, and improved overall fitness. The best thing is that it is attainable and you can make it. Yoga is the only bridge you need for satisfying results as a surfer. It is the only thing that makes those individuals you refer to as experienced surfers be ahead of you all the time.
An interesting part is that out of the 60% you spend paddling when surfing, you only spend 8% riding through the waves. For this reason, you need endurance and strength for a successful surfing session. Dealing with waves is not an easy thing. It only requires adequate preparation and timing.
Here is what you can gain with yoga as a surfer
- Reduced injury risks
- Relieving pains and aches
- Increased motion range and flexibility
- Improved balance
- Building core strength
- Increased stamina
- Improved posture
- Improved body coordination and awareness
- Reduced recovery time
- Energizing the mind and body
- Muscle relaxation for efficient movements
- Better breathing
Apart from gaining physically, surfers’ yoga has more other aspects that will be of advantage to you. You will learn how to remain calm as you face challenging situations. True enough, surfing involve puzzling situations. You will also learn about the fruits of being patient through yoga. Keeping in mind that surfing takes a lot of dedication and time, you should take advantage of yoga to perfect your game.
Best surfers yoga practices
If a given pose mimics the pop-ups, stance, and other movements you make on the surfing board, it is perfect for you. It is of ultimate value that you make it your routine. As a rule of thumb, taking breathing exercises whenever planning to practice in the yoga pose meant for surfers. Get into Sukhasana (easy pose) to clear and relax your mind. Fill your lungs breathing through your nostrils and exhaling with your mouth. Upon every exhale, let go of any worries, stress, or tension.
Engage your breath as you move to various poses. Beware of your surroundings. This is what mindfulness is all about? Listen to car horns, birds singing, or dog barks at night. Listen only, no talk. Keep your focus on the breath.
Now that you have relaxed, let’s go through some yoga poses that should follow to improve your surfing experience.
- Downward Facing Dog
Also Adho Mukha Svanasana. You must have heard of this yoga pose that works well for everybody. It perfects shoulders, calf muscles, hamstring stretching, and lengthening your spine. For stronger upper body, arms, legs, and wrists, this is the yoga pose you should practice as a surfer. Other extra things you will get with Dog down are pain-relieving, calming the nervous system, and energizing your body. Once you feel like you are perfect on this pose, you can move on to a more perplexing variation. A Dolphin pose is suitable for you at this stage. This pose helps in core strengthening and opening your shoulders.
- Plank Pose
Also Phalakasana. From a Dog down Pose, you can get to a plank for further engaging your core. Phalakasana targets on strengthening your abdominal muscles, toning your spine and arms. You will also gain stability, endurance, and posture improve. By maintain this position for around 1 minute, welcoming sweat drops and the heat will give you good results impacting your surfing. With at least 3 sets each day, you will be on top of the game. For a more challenging exercise, get into Vasisthasana (Side Plank). This is a powerful exercise for strengthening your wrist and arm. It will tone your body side improving balance and posture.
- Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Also Chaturanga Dandasana. From the plank pose, get into Four-Limbed Staff Pose by lowering your body. This is an essential asana in the traditional Salutation Sun sequence. It is good in upper body workouts. It works wonders is lengthening your spine, strengthening triceps, core muscles, and your lower back. You will be faster and stronger in your surfing pop-ups.
- Upward Facing Dog
Also Urdha Mukha Svanasana. Similar to the Four-Limbed Stuff pose, Urdha Mukha Svanasana has similar movements with those you make while preparing to get on your surfboard. Practice this yoga pose to improve your pop-ups. You will also prevent soreness on your lower back muscles.
The upward dog will help you in increasing flexibility at your back, lengthening your spine, shoulder, and chest opening, stretching your neck and thighs front.
- Pigeon Pose
Also Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. This is one of the deepest yoga practices to open up your hips. This pose will help in taking your surfing game to a different level- which is higher of course. Pigeon pose is good in stretching psoas muscles, groin, and glutes while opening your shoulders and chest. It helps in increasing your blood flow all over the body and counteracting the forward bending pose. Since you know that this posture is popular in surfing, add this pose to your workout routine.
You can get to Pigeon pose through your Down dog. From the pigeon pose, transition to Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Spinal Twist Posture). This pose will make your spine perfect. It is good at stretching your glutes, ribcage, oblique muscles, outer hips, neck, and shoulders. You can release any stiffness that you might be having on your upper body.
- Warrior 2
Also Virabhadrasana II. This pose looks similar to the stance you make on the surfboard. It will benefit your whole body. You will stretch your ankles, groins, legs, hips, stimulating abs, and shoulders and chest open up. You will gain in improving body balance, focus as well as endurance. From Virabhadrasana II you can turn into a Reverse warrior. It will help in deep stretching the sides of your body. You can also stretch your thighs and hips by coming down to the Low Lunge pose (Anjaneyasana).
Yoga plays a vital role in our day-to-day activities. From gaining physically to increased awareness, you cannot ignore yoga if you want to be perfect in any of your undertakings. You can perfect surfing by including yoga in your workout routine. Surfers yoga is good since it helps you gain endurance as you learn to deal with challenging situations. Try the yoga pose mentioned above to at the same level as other professional surfers.