Why Surfers Globally are Turning to Yoga

Written October 25, 2020 by - Leave your thoughts

If you’ve been traveling in the tropics recently, you may have noticed a flurry of new businesses that combine surfing and yoga. You may encounter yoga studios in Bali decorated with images of the island’s famed left-hand waves. You may see surf camps in Costa Rica hosting yoga classes on black sand beaches. You may notice yoga studios in New York City posting flyers for yoga retreats to some far-flung, tropical corner of the word. Or, you may be planning to participate in one of ThundberBomb Surf Camp’s annual yoga retreats at our Boutique Yoga & Surf Resort in beautiful Santa Catalina, Panama. To many, the pairing of the two sports/ lifestyles may seem arbitrary, but yoga and surfing have more in common than most would assume. Yoga and surfing are intertwined in a complementary pairing that benefits members of both parties. For surfers of all levels, there are obvious physical benefits that come with the addition of yoga to one’s training regime. For yogis, the mindfulness that can be found in the ocean is unrivaled to anything found in some fluorescently lit studio. The best way to learn how the two complements each other is to participate in one of our many yoga retreats in Santa Catalina, Panama, where days are spent practicing yoga on our sun deck and taking surf lessons from the best instructors in all of Panama. If you’re unable to hop on the next flight, keep reading to learn why surfers globally are turning to yoga. 

Enhanced balance

It’s no secret that surfing requires a tremendous amount of balance. Many beginner surfers struggle to find their feet while learning. Even intermediate surfers struggle with their balance while moving down in board size. The more advanced one’s surfing becomes, the more balance is required to nail progressive maneuvers like cutbacks, floaters, and airs. So, surfers of all skill levels are turning to yoga to increase their balance and core strength. Focusing on a sequence of poses, rather than a single pose, helps train practical, athletic balance. After all, you don’t stand still on a surfboard. For increased balance, try the downward dog-lunge-warrior flow. Focus on transitioning smoothly between each pose, holding each pose for 5 breaths. If you’re new to yoga, yoga retreats provide the ideal environment to explore the relationship between balance in yoga and balance in surfing.

Increased strength and flexibility

Yoga may not be the first form of exercise that comes to mind for those looking to pack on muscle, but strength gained through yoga is functional and practical for surfing. Surfing is not like most sports, there’s not much you can do in a gym to mimic the physical toll of paddling your hardest for a wave, pumping down the line, or going over the falls. Many exercise regimens fail to build the functional endurance required to paddle while maintaining flexibility. Yoga builds strength through stability and bodyweight work, while consistently targeting total body flexibility. Surfing is an asymmetrical activity that can leave you with stiff shoulders, tight hips, and dreaded lower back pain. Yoga not only increases your surf-related strength and flexibility, but it can remedy many of the aches and pains that surfers experience on a day to day basis.

It keeps you surf fit for life

As previously mentioned, surfing can take a toll on your body. Most surf-related injuries don’t come from rogue waves, jagged reef, or curious marine life, but from simple overuse. If you’re not regularly surfing or practicing yoga, a surf trip where you surf daily for hours on end may be more than your body can handle. If you’re new to yoga, find a yoga retreat where you can meet likeminded individuals and other surfers looking to take up the sport. Yoga can stave off the dreaded aches and pains that come with aging and overuse, which could keep you out of the water. Regularly practicing yoga, specifically weight barring poses like lunges, Warrior I, and Warrior II can increase bone density. Yoga also builds muscle and elongate ligaments and tendons, which is vital for sustained joint health. Additionally, yoga builds critical lower back strength to help prevent slipped discs and other lumbar issues. Recent studies even suggest that regular practice of yoga can significantly lower blood pressure. So, if your goal is to surf throughout your life, well into old age, take up yoga.

Mindfulness that is similar to being in the ocean

Mindfulness is often misinterpreted or labeled as hippie nonsense, but nothing could be further from the truth. By definition, mindfulness is rather simple and something that most normal people strive to achieve in their daily lives. According to meditation expert Guy Armstrong, “mindfulness is knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it. It is moment-to-moment awareness, has the quality of being in the now, a sense of freedom, of perspective, of being connected, not judging.” In summary, mindfulness is being present. When we surf, we have no choice but to be fully immersed in the activity, with a singular focus on the ocean. Yoga achieves a similar, singular focus through movement. This singular focus, whether found in surfing or yoga, can be calming and even meditative.

Similar lifestyles

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “surfing is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle.” Well, the same can be said for yoga. As corny as it may sound, labeling either surfing or yoga as solely a sport does not do either activity justice. Both surfing and yoga are consuming and linear focused, and therefore meditative. Both surfing and Yoga captivate people, so much so that many often devout their life to either. Both surfing and yoga are rejuvenating for us mentally and physically. Labeling either as a sport, excludes the tremendous impact both activities have outside the realm of physical fitness. Yoga and surfing exist in a sort of symbiotic relationship, with each activity complementing and bettering the other. To experience the best of both worlds, join ThunderBomb Surf Camp at our Boutique Yoga & Surf Resort in Panama, for a one of a kind yoga retreat experience.

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