While yoga might not be the first thing in your mind when it comes to improving your performance as a surfer, snowboarder, or sports enthusiast in general, the evidence is clear: Yoga might be the most essential piece of your arsenal to date.
Aside from having the correct board, yoga has been recognized by many from the everyday surfer hobbyist to those within the professional industry as a great way to improve your skills and increase your mental, as well as physical responsiveness.
The 11x world champion surfer, Kelly Slater practices yoga routinely, while other surfers attribute their ability to surf big waves, as tall as six-story buildings due to their yoga devotion. Many yoga teachers themselves have seen the benefits yoga has to offer surfers and other athletes, alike. Therefore, there are many sports-specific yoga retreats being organized by many of the top yoga practitioners throughout the world, for example, Shiva Rea has yoga retreats for surfers.
Surfing and yoga are somewhat similar in many regards; both disciplines require their followers to be able to balance well, have workable strength and flexibility to execute all of the necessary movements. There are many lessons that yoga imparts, which are vital while surfing, learning to control your breathing, being able to hold positions for long periods of time, and being stable for the whole duration of that time are all extremely crucial for sports such as surfing where balance is key.
Yoga has the additional benefit of lending mental clarity and control over the mind, which can give unparalleled advantages regardless of whether you are about to surf, snowboard or enter an extremely stressful situation. The ability to eliminate all external factors and distractions, while focusing on only what is essential in order to execute the required task will help to further any surfers or athletes performance out in the world.
Yoga helps surfers to achieve the most optimal body composition as well, which will only help you with your surfing in the future. Yoga can also be used as an effective way to warm up and cool down before and after you hit the waves, it is also a great way to minimize the chance of injury, as it helps to loosen up your muscles before you begin your workout. While you may have some apprehensions about yoga, as it’s seen in many ways as a spiritual or mystical experience, however really it’s a science that has been 5000 years in the making and therefore we will share with you some of the most essential positions to improve your surfing.
Downward dog, this position is renowned throughout the Western world and is probably the poster position of yoga; this easy position will help you in stretching your shoulders and calves. It helps to reduce your back pain, elongate and strengthen your entire spinal cord and also helps to lower stress through the soothing of the entire nervous system.
If you have insanely tired arms after paddling, the eagle pose will aid you in strengthening your upper arm muscles and will help you have not only longer paddle sessions, but more effective energy conversion during the time you are out in the water, as well. The garland pose is a fantastic way of stretching out your lower half of your body; this particular pose is an amazing way to help prevent cramping in your hips during long sessions out in the ocean.
Four limbed staff pose is similar to a pushup, this particular pose is an excellent way for you to increase the speed and effectiveness with which you perform your pop ups on the surfboard. In addition, this pose will help you to increase your supper body strength, which will be beneficial for surfing, as well as a variety of other sports too.
Finally, warrior pose is similar to the position taken when standing upright on a board, it not only stretches out your full body but also helps to strengthen out your body, and this will also be a great way to improve your balance and mental focus while balancing.
Yoga is the secret to be more engaged and effective in surfing, snowboarding, and the like. The only thing left to ask is; when will you be pushing out your next downward dog?