Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 20 years, you’ve probably heard once or twice about the practice of Yoga. And if you live in North America, you probably pass at least one Yoga studio on your commute each day. But unless you actually practice Yoga, you might still be wondering what all the fuss is about. Is Yoga actually that good for you and can it really make you a better surfer? We think yes.
Although it’s predicted that Yoga has been around for some 10,000 years and surfing (in one form or another) for close to 3,000, it’s likely that the two disciplines only came into contact in more recent years, when they became popular in Western culture. But even though the two practices developed on independently for thousands of years, there’s no denying that they compliment each other perfectly.
As two of the most ancient forms of self-expression, both surf and yoga require steady focus and breath, and flexibility and strength. In Yoga philosophy, these dualities are referred to a lot. It’s said that you cannot find balance unless you harness both the yin and the yang, sthira and sukha, steadiness and ease within your mind and body. And it’s because of this, among many other physical benefits, that Yoga is so beneficial for surfing.
Because on a yoga mat you are not battling the extreme conditions of the ocean, you have longer to explore that sense of balance. And once you cultivate it on land, it’s can be easier to apply to your time in the ocean. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or when the whole process of catching a wave and standing up seems to fast, you can recall the lessons you learned in Yoga to help you steady the breath and focus the mind, to help keep you present and focused.
But aside from the mental benefits that Yoga brings to the sport of surfing, there’s also the physical component as well. We’ll often observe our guests hobbling around with tight hips and stiff shoulders after their first day out in the surf. So an hour of stretching them out in our clifftop yoga shala is exactly what they need.
The hips will often get tight from straddling your surfboard, and the shoulders from paddling for hours on end. The neck can also get sore if you’re not used to holding your body in prone position for long periods of time. So why wait until you join us down here to begin practicing Yoga? start cultivating some of that strength and flexibility in your body and mind now with these 5 poses that we have found to be perfect preparation for your surfing vacation.