How are Yoga and Surfing related?

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf!”


Yoga and Surfing

How are yoga and surfing related?


The best training for surfing is surfing. However, it demands a lot from the body and can tighten-up, and close-off, specific areas in the body. In particular pressure is put on the lower back, the chest closes and the hips stiffen.


Yoga complements surfing well as it builds strength, range of movement and balance.  All of these are key when out on your board.  Specifically yoga is great for building core stamina, and mental focus and better breathing techniques.


Physically yoga is the perfect way to stay in shape when the surf is flat, for the prevention of injuries, warming up before paddling out and stretching out the body after a long surf session.


Why should surfers do yoga?


Learning how to breathe properly is the key benefit to surfers, as this will help to alleviate fear in big surf as well as giving you the lung capacity to handle being held down by the waves.


As your muscles are constantly contracting while in the water they stand to benefit greatly from yoga, as it softens the contracted muscle fibres and really helps to unwind all those knots that you can accumulate while surfing.


Adho Mukha Svanasana/ Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog is a good pose for the entire body.  It stretches the shoulders and calf muscles, builds strength while toning the arms and legs, lengthens and straightens the spine helping to prevent and relieve back pain.  A bonus effect of this pose is that it relieves stress by helping to calm the nervous system.


Garudasana or Eagle Pose

Eagle pose is excellent for stretching out the upper back and shoulders and is a must before and after long paddling sessions.  These are the muscles that get the most work in the water and they are the ones that will feel tight the next day if not taken care of.  This pose strengthens the latisimus dorsi, deltoid, and trapezius muscles which will help your paddling in the long run.


Malasana or Squat / Garland Pose

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The garland pose is a great stretch for the lower half of the body.  It helps to open up the hip flexors and helps to stretch and strengthen the back of the lower legs as well as the back and neck muscles.  This is an especially good pose to prevent cramps in your hips while in the water from sitting on the board for long periods of time.  It is also a great exercise for toning the legs.


Chaturanga Dandasana or Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana is a pose that will help you a lot with your popups, making them stronger and faster.  This balancing pose will improve your strength and tone  the back, triceps and  core.


Eka Pada Rajakapotasana/ One Legged King Pigeon Pose


The one legged king pigeon pose stretches the thighs, the groin and the psoas muscles while opening and releasing the chest and shoulders.  But where you are going to really feel this pose the most is in the hips. It counteracts the forward bending posture used in surfing.  One legged king pigeon pose also increases blood flow and provides a good energy boost.


Urdhva Mukha Svanasana/ Upward Facing Dog


You can probably guess from the image why upward facing dog is so good for surfers.  It is basically the same motion as when you are getting up on your surfboard.  It elongates and helps increase flexibility in the spine.  It also opens up your chest, shoulders and throat while providing a gentle stretch on the front of your thighs.


Incorporating Yoga into your Surf Routine


Once you start incorporating yoga into pre and post surf routine you will quite likely find that you don’t have quite so many aches, pains and knots the day after your surf!  If you do they definitely will not be as bad.

  • Reggie Yates
    Posted at 17:26h, 29 June Reply

    hi I only have about 5 minutes to warm up before I surf in the am. which poses above are best for me.

    • Chris James
      Posted at 17:33h, 29 June Reply

      If you have. only have 5 mins Reg, I would say high plank + down dog are your must-do poses.

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