Living close to the beach, I’ve always wanted to take up surfing. The idea of catching the waves and riding it was something that intrigued me. So one fine day, I decided to sign up for a beginner’s class at the local surf club.
Needless to say, my first try on the surfboard was challenging. However, my instructor noted that I did quite well for a beginner. “You have stability,” he said, and asked if I practiced yoga. “Yes,” I answered.
Although at the surface yoga and surfing are as different as night and day, the very core of both these practices is the same – namely, core strength, balance and breath. Here, you’ll find out why and how yoga can improve your surfing.
Yoga Strengthens the Core
Practicing yoga regularly helps its practitioner engage the core muscles. Common poses in yoga such as the Downward Dog and the plank pose utilizes more core muscles than you think, helping the practitioner to strengthen the core over time.
The fluid movement of yoga does not depend on momentum to come into poses and out of it. Taking momentum out of the equation means that the practitioner depends on every ounce of his muscle and, especially his core. This is why the first adjective you’d associate with a yogi is strength, because they are indeed strong.
Like yoga, surfing is a sport requiring plenty of strength, which makes yoga a good complement to the sport!
Yoga Gives You Flexibility
It comes to no surprise that practicing yoga will help you become more flexible over time. However, many people misunderstand what it means to be flexible. A quick search on the Internet about yoga and flexibility will show you endless images of yogis bending into impossible knot and pretzel shapes.
While it is true that if you practice diligently, you will achieve this kind of flexibility, the main idea of what it means to be flexible is the ability to increase the range of motion in certain parts of your body. Yoga helps you lengthen and stretch the muscles in your body, giving it more fluidity. If you had tight shoulders, for example, practicing yoga will help you loosen your shoulders, giving you more range than you previously did. Additionally, having flexibility will help prevent injuries from occurring as flexibility allows the joints to maneuver into a certain angle without causing stress to the surrounding tissues!
When it comes to surfing, having a good range of motion in the shoulders, chest and hip flexors is essential to advance your skills on the surfboard. A flexible shoulder will give you more efficient paddling stroke. A flexible back will be critical as you advance in the sport and dabble in more complicated surfing maneuvers. Additionally, avoiding injuries while you practice new moves is key to advancing your practice!
Yoga Helps You Balance
Ever tried holding a for a long time? Keeping the body at perfect equilibrium without wobbling from one side to the other for a lengthened period of time is no easy feat. Yogis find balance in their postures through a combination of breath, focus and strength. The connection of breath to each pose allows the mind to the calmed and extremely focused. This combined with strength in the core and other muscles in the body helps the yogi balance on mats.
Balance is an essential part of surf, as surfers train to ride the waves. The added erratic movement of the waters makes balance a critical part of surfing. Honing this skill will definitely make you a better surfer!
Looking for a practice to complement your surfing? Why not try out yoga? Find a great yoga and surf camp near you at BookSurfCamps.com today!