The Ultimate Guide to Yoga for Surfing

Surfing and yoga are not an unusual duo. You may have noticed yoga & surf retreats all over popular surf travel destinations. While surfing and yoga may seem unrelated, the two have much in common. Taking up yoga for surfing will do wonders for your on-water surf capability, fitness and skills.

Consistent yoga will help ease aches and pains from long sessions, increase paddle strength, improve balance, and prevent injuries. Aside from the physical benefits of yoga to your surfing skills, there is the mental side of yoga.

Doing yoga helps you focus on your breath, which tends to calm the body making it super useful if you have a wipeout or dive through a wave. The benefits of yoga are numerous, and in this guide, you will understand why surfers do yoga.

8 Best Types of Yoga for Surfing

Originating from India, Yoga is an ancient practice that dates back to 3000 BCE. Its practices involve deliberate stillness, balancing, stretching, and breathing periods. The benefits of yoga are widely documented.

But does yoga help with surfing? Yes, yoga helps with surfing; regardless of whether you practice it on a paddleboard or dry land, it offers incredible benefits. Here are some types of yoga you can practice improving your surfing performance.

1. Yoga for Surfing: Warrior 1 – Virabhadrasana

Virabhadrasana

In yoga, there are different types of warrior poses, but what differentiates them is the alignment of your hips. In warrior 1 or virabhadrasana, your hips are facing front. As such, you will have a deep stretch in your rear leg.

With your front leg bent almost at a 90-degree angle, it also helps activate the muscles in your front leg. Also, keep your front knee secure and stable when trying to get in this position.

When practicing the warrior 1 positioning, lift your hands to get more into this stretch and ensure your shoulders are relaxed. Generally, this pose is great for surfers to practice as it helps your hip become more flexible and increases your stability.

2. Yoga for Surfing – Warrior 2: Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II

Warrior 2 is another great pose; it improves your balance, works up your hips and groin area, and opens up your chest. From a standing position, place a foot in front and a foot behind at about 5 feet apart. And as you bend your legs deep into the front knee, try to keep your knee in line with your big toes.

Also, when practicing the warrior 2 pose, raise your arms at shoulder level and relax your neck. Furthermore, engage your lower belly as you drop your pelvis while ensuring your lower back is straight as possible.

Repeat this move on both sides and hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. And while you are in this position, lightly inhale and exhale while ensuring your quadriceps are parallel to the ground.

3. Yoga for Surfing: Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

The pigeon pose is one of the most challenging pilates for surfers, but it is efficient if you want to open up your hips and get a deeper stretch. This pose targets your hip flexors and is great for increasing mobility, which are excellent features for surfers.

In the pigeon pose, the front leg is bent and lying flat on the yoga mat, while the back leg is straight and being you. Your chest should be relaxed but in a proud position.

The pigeon pose is a classic yoga position that offers a fantastic stretch for your glute muscles. As a surfer, this pose aids in improving the flexibility of your hip area. If you aren’t very flexible, using blocks for this pose will be nice.

4. Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana

Vasisthasana

The side plank pose is another incredible pose that will help strengthen your wrist, shoulders, and abs. It also helps with improving your overall balance. To start with this pose, get into a side plank position with one arm on the ground and the other straight up.

Keep your shoulders and core activated and engaged as you get in this position. Also, ensure your body is aligned with a neutral neck. When done well, this pose activates your side core muscles and gets a stretch at the same time.

This pose is a good combination because you work out every body part and improve core strength. And if you’d like to make this pose more advanced to help your next surf session, lift your upper foot and hold it with your raised hand.

5. Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

The cobra pose is a great way to increase the spine’s flexibility and relieve pain in the lower back. It involves laying on your stomach with your hand next to your cheek. Ensure your legs are at your back and a hip-width distance.

In that position, your hands should be pressed down to lift only your upper body from the ground. And as you lift from the ground, spread your shoulders outwards, and your chest held high. This pose looks similar to how you will lay on a surfboard.

When in the cobra pose, have your chest up and slightly bend your back while you try to keep length in your lower back so there is no uncomfortable pressure. Compressing your spine and arching in the spine are common, especially after surfing, so this pose is great to practice before and after surfing.

6. Locust Pose – Shalabhasana

Shalabhasana

The locust pose is more like the inverse of the cobra pose. It is the perfect pose for surfers trying to improve their paddling ability. It involves exhaling and lifting your head, upper torso, legs, and arms away from the floor.

In the locust pose, you should rest on your belly, front pelvis, and lower ribs. In this position, you must keep your toes touching as you stretch to reach your legs.

At first, reaching your leg seems challenging, but with practice, it gets easier. Remember not to spread your legs apart in this pose. And when you want to use the locust pose, repeat it three times and remain in the position for about 5 to 10 seconds while lightly inhaling and exhaling.

7. Yoga for Surfing: Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

The upward-facing dog is similar to the cobra pose, but unlike the cobra pose, your legs, hips, and tops of your feet lift off the floor, and your arms are straight in the upward-facing dog pose. It starts by lying in a prone position with your legs stretched backward.

Ensure the top of your feet is on the floor. Then bend your elbows, spread your fingers apart, and bring your hands close to your rib cage. As you inhale, use your hands to lift your upper body. Ensure your hands are right under your shoulders, keep your neck in line with your spine, and keep them right under your shoulders.

Also, your things and legs should be touching the floor. Press your tailbone towards your pubis and lift the pubis towards the navel. When you get in this position, try to hold it for about 10 to 15 seconds while you inhale and exhale. From the upward-facing dog, you can roll on your toes and find yourself in the downward-facing dog. You can use the downward-facing dog pose to relieve back pain.

8. Chair Pose – Utkatasana

ATTACHMENT DETAILS

The chair pose is another popular yoga pose where you stand tall and inhale while raising your arms. As you exhale in this position, bend your knees and try to make your thighs parallel to the floor.

In the chair pose, as you try to lift your toes, feel the weight of your body. Also, it would help if you kept your arms up and aligned with your ears. Your tailbone should be down toward the floor, and keep your lower back long.

When you get in this position, try to stay in it for 10 to 15 seconds as you inhale and exhale slightly. This pose is a great way to warm up your legs, and it also helps you with takeoffs and longer waves.

Conclusion

Many people think yoga is all about extreme flexibility, but it is not. Yoga poses also help with balance, strength, and endurance, all of which help surfers improve their skills. If you are wondering what yoga is best for surfing, you can try out any of the poses in this guide during your next yoga practice.

However, the poses in this guide are only the tip of the iceberg. There are several other poses you can try out to improve your form and alignment, which will improve overall surfing performance.

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