Yoga has become a popular choice as a complementary activity for athletes, and nowadays, athletes ranging from casual to professional in basketball, football, tennis, surfing, and more practice yoga regularly and see the benefits in their sport and other aspects of life. If you’re either thinking of learning to surf or perhaps have already been on a surfboard and are itching to get back out into the water, you may have asked yourself: “How can I best prepare myself to surf?” Improving your surfing may just be on your list of things “to do”, and our best recommendation for beginner surfers is to start by practicing yoga. Here’s why.
Here is the thing about surfing
As you may have already heard, surfing is a sport that takes time, dedication, and a lot of practice in order to master – in fewer words, the learning curve is steep. I’m not talking about learning to stand up on a surfboard or riding white-water waves — I’m talking about the learning curve for becoming a surfer.
As one of the head surf instructors at Bodhi Surf + Yoga camp, I am constantly asked “how can I shorten my learning curve, and become better at surfing in a shorter amount of time?” There is one thing that I recommend to my students and that is to begin by doing yoga. With some dedication and learning, you can practice anytime and anywhere. After some dedicated practice, you will see both the physical and mental benefits in your life which will not only help to make you a better surfer, but will also make you a better (happier, and healthier) individual!
Want to physically prepare to surf? Practice yoga
If you can only do one thing to prepare yourself for your surfing time then the activity of choice is yoga. Here’s why.
Surfing requires the following:
- Upper-body strength, specifically shoulder and back
- Core strength
- Good balance
- Cardiovascular stamina
These are the foundation for your surfing development. If you can check all these off your workout list then you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor when you finally get your hands on a surfboard. The truth is that by having the physical strength, flexibility, balance, and stamina to paddle and pop-up on your surfboard for an entire surf session, you will drastically help position yourself for success in your surfing development.
Yoga meets a number of the physical demands of surfing. It helps build core and upper-body strength, improves flexibility, and enhances one’s balance. Granted, your mat is a very different place than your surfboard, but the truth is that only surfing can fully prepare you for surfing. Yoga is the best option for people who don’t have access to the ocean or a surfboard, or who don’t feel like they have the appropriate physical conditioning to surf.
The mental and spiritual value of yoga for surfers
What about those who may feel mentally overwhelmed, nervous, or otherwise incapable of surfing? Both surfing and yoga are very mental and some may even say spiritual activities. One of the great benefits of yoga is that you can practice in a safe and controlled environment, mastering breath, focus, quieting of the mind, and perhaps the most important skill of all — letting go. The true practice of yoga is much more than physical, and the benefits of a dedicated practice will not only help you in your quest to become a surfer, but also in your everyday life.
Get on that yoga mat!
Learning to stand on a surfboard is easy, but learning to surf is a challenge. Surfing is a sport that takes time, dedication, and a lot of practice in order to master due to the challenges the ocean presents. The best thing a beginner surfer can do to improve is surf on a regular basis. Surfing consistently will develop an individual’s physical and mental capacity as well as familiarity with the ocean, and a or beginners one of the greatest obstacles in this learning process is having the opportunity to surf consistently. However, for those whom that is an impossibility, you’re in luck, as yoga can be practiced anywhere.
At Bodhi Surf + Yoga, we’re so convinced that surfing and yoga are so complementary to one another that we actually insist that our guests try both. Check out our page on the benefits of combining surfing and yoga, and take a peek at our Bodhi Sessions surf and yoga camps if it feels like the right fit for you!