Surfers yoga in recent years has become very popular. Yoga and surfing have always shared a certain harmony. A rare symbiosis between two leisurely pursuits. As both disciplines have continued to grow throughout the 21st century, so the complimentary effects yoga has on surfing have become more apparent.
If surfing gets you amped and you’re looking to level up your skills or loosen up your aches, look no further than surfers yoga. There are a couple of yoga poses that are best known for stimulating core strength, reducing back pain, calming the nervous system and improving flexibility and response times under the pressure.
In general, poses which look like surfing are good for surfing, but there are one or two underrated poses that will make you a gnarly surfer. Here are 7 of the best yoga poses for surfing.
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Before beginning the poses, take a minute, be aware of how your body is feeling and breathe deeply to fill your lungs before exhaling to calm any stresses. This pose is a normal cross-legged pose with shoulders down and arms placed facing outwards on your knees or at your sides.
When combined with the breathing this pose is less chilled than it appears as it opens up your hips to get them ready for the more intense poses that come later. If you want to introduce more of a stretch, you can move on to the famous ‘Lotus Pose’ (Padmasana) to stretch surfers knots out of your knees and ankles before catching your next wave.
2. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This classic pose is pretty well known amongst yogis and non-yogis alike. To strengthen your wrists, arms and shoulders as well as stretching out your back and hamstrings, bend down and place your hands shoulder-width apart in front of you whilst keeping your feet planted on the ground behind you.
Keep your feet in line with your hands and be careful not to force planting those feet because you might pull a tendon. Feel the stretch in your back, arms and hamstrings. As you breathe into the pose, it lengthens the hamstrings that tend to shorten as we get older.
3. Upward Facing Dog/ Cobra (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Sometimes known as ‘cobra’ this pose looks just like a pop up. Facing straight ahead, place your hands on either side of you with your legs straight behind you, pull yourself up until your elbows lock and your shoulder blades are down. This pose mirrors the motion of standing up on your board. Practicing the cobra will help you improve your pop-up making it a more seamless move.
4. Eagle Pose (Garuadasana)
It might be a surprise to you that the majority of the time spent surfing is actually spent paddling, especially before you’re used to judging the swell before taking off.
To improve your range and smoothness of motion when paddling, this pose lengthens and strengthens your rotator-cuff muscles. Like all surfers yoga poses extra care should be taken when looking to go deeper into the pose.
5. Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Whilst there are other poses to open up the hips such as the ‘Pigeon Pose’ (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), this pose has the benefits of counteracting imbalance along with stretching the neck, shoulders and groin. In this pose you lunge forward with your right leg, cross the left arm over the right leg and touch the ground.
Do this while lifting your right arm over your head and against your ear to complete the straight line made by your back leg, which is stretched straight back behind you with your back heel facing up and a little weight on your toes. This pose will help you maintain balance and agility as you carve past the waves.
6. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Looking just like the victorious surfer riding a perfectly peeling wave, the Warrior II pose trains surfers to have the focus, strength, endurance and agility to maintain that stance. The transition from Warrior II to III mimics keeping balance whilst surfing.
To achieve Warrior II, stand flat on the ground with feet shoulder-width apart, bend one knee forwards, keeping the thigh parallel to the ground and stretch the other leg straight back. Lengthen your arms, one in front and one behind you, in line with your legs and parallel to the floor. Feel your ankles, legs and groin stretch whilst opening the chest and shoulders—a holistic pose for top performing surfers.
7. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Last but certainly not least, this pose is great one for maintaining a surfers physique. It will strengthen your core and give your abs the encouragement they deserve. Raise both legs together or progress from bent knees to raising one leg at a time and point them above your head. Let your arms hover on either side of your legs. This pose increases your control at pushing the board away from you and bringing it back again as you duck dive the waves.
Give some of these surfers yoga poses a go and monitor the effects they have on your surfing over time. We’re confident that at the very minimum you’ll see marginal improvements in your surfing. At best your surfing will improve in leaps and bounds. When it does improve, you’ll have yoga to thank.