Finding your balance – Surfing & Yoga
Yoga and Surfing may seem like very different activities at first glance, but recently surfing and yoga have become like two sides of the same coin with many of the core principles complimenting each other perfectly. So what are the real benefits of Yoga to your surfing?
Just looking at a list of core benefits it’s hard to tell whether you are describing Surfing or Yoga:
- Injury Prevention
Have you ever been surfing and then the next day find yourself aching in places you didn’t know you existed? Specific strength training for surfing can be difficult without actually surfing. While you can train certain key areas like your arms and shoulders to have the power for strong paddle strokes and quick pop-ups, it’s all the smaller muscle groups everywhere from your chest and lower back, down to your feet, that are harder to train, many of these are essential for your fine motor control and balance. This is where Yoga can help! Yoga and Surfing are both full body activities, Yoga uses a variety of different positions specifically targeting both large and small muscle groups to improve overall muscle tone and conditioning.
Everybody knows that Yoga is great for working on your flexibility, but many may not know how much your surfing can benefit from improving your flexibility. Increasing your flexibility in your shoulders can improve the range of movement you achieve, which in turn will make your paddle strokes more efficient. This means that you can paddle for longer and harder, without feeling that burn sensation in your arms telling you to stop. Improving your range of movement and flexibility in your chest and hip flexors mean that you can pop up to your feet quicker and more accurately, helping to move towards more advanced surfing and skills
Balance is one factor that is equally important in Surfing and Yoga. Similarly to the way of strengthening, training your small muscle groups and core muscles will help your surfing technique. The more time spent wobbling between off-centre and balanced, the more you will train your muscles to respond quickly and in a more controlled manner. So if for no other reason, Yoga could be the difference between getting spat out the barrel right at the last second or landing yourself in a heavy wipeout!
In Yoga the aim is to slow down your breathing, focusing on inhaling through your nose, completely filling your lungs. This skill can be essential for surfing big waves, but even for smaller waves, every surfer at some point has been held under and thrown around for just a little bit longer than was comfortable. By learning to properly control your breathing you will instantly feel more comfortable and confident paddling out into the sets.
Surfing requires a lot of repetitive movements, which can put you at an increased risk of wear and tear on your muscles, particularly in your neck, shoulders back and hips. Short term, yoga will reduce your risk of injury by improving your flexibility and strength. In the long term, you can use specific yoga positions and routines to target specific muscle groups or any problem areas, as well as maintaining overall muscle tone to help prevent injuries in the first place.
Our top key positions to try:
- Plank – Kumbhakasana
- Four-Limbed Staff Pose – Chaturanga Dandasana
- Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Eagle Pose – Garudasana
- Locust Pose – Salabhasana