Yoga has helped my surfing improve exponentially. Growing up surfing, I didn't develop a consistent yoga practice until I was about 22... And after 5 years of practicing almost daily, and surfing as much as I can, I've noticed a lot of positive changes. And I know many other Surfer/Yogis that have experienced the same. So, because I feel so passionate about the yoga-surfing connection, I thought I'd share a few reasons why a Vinyasa Yoga practice will benefit your surfing, and maybe encourage you to roll out your mat a little more consistently.
1. Strengthens the Core + Builds a Balanced Body // A strong core helps stabilize the entire body, while a weak core can increase your risk of injury - especially in the low back, an area most surfers experience issues. With a strong core you also begin to create a more balanced body, in that no area is working harder than it needs to, which in return creates that light, floating feeling on both your yoga mat and on your surfboard.
2. Flexibility + Agility // Good, powerful, efficient surfing requires a flexible and agile body. Flexibility can help reduce the risk of injuries while agility helps with a quicker response time to the ever-changing conditions of the waves and the ocean. Flexibility and agility, combined with a strong core, allows you to maximize your potential on each wave - think powering through maneuvers, being fast on your feet, and a quicker recovery time between/after maneuvers.
3. Breath + Presence // Surfing requires your complete attention and focus. Yoga teaches us tools to tap into presence so you can get the most out of each wave and session. The breath is one of the many tools which helps us to get present and focused, but yoga also teaches us effective breathing techniques that can help us to calm down + slow the heart rate, or to energize + get more oxygen in the body. Better, more efficient breathing equals a quicker recovery time after long waves, long paddles or long hold-downs.
4. Endurance + Stamina // Vinyasa Yoga can help improve endurance because it increases stamina on different levels - physical, physiological and mental. Yoga teaches how to better utilize our oxygen intake. A consistent practice creates an open chest/back for expanded lung capacity, as well as strong + supple muscles that don't fatigue easily. Yoga also teaches us to relax in the face of challenge, to preserve our energy, and to concentrate better.
Whether you're a beginner surfer or an experienced competitor let yoga help you improve and get the most out of each surf session. If you're looking to create a consistent yoga practice feel free to join me for a class or send me an email and we can chat more. And I'm curious - how many of you surfers already have a consistent yoga practice?? And have ya'll noticed any benefits?? I'd love to hear!