No one can deny the recent boom in surf and yoga holidays. If you have not experienced it yet, you cannot lie it sounds enticing. It has been proven time and time again that surf and yoga go hand in hand. Both affect the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels of human beings. Every time I teach a yoga class after a surf lesson, my students are amazed at how good the body feels. Even more so surprised at how much energy they regain. All day paddling out into the ocean, telling yourself to push because you are so close to passing the break. Then comes that perfect wave, rolling in at just the right angle. Paddle, paddle, paddle and when you reach the peak of the wave, just before it breaks you push against the board to pop up. Keep those legs bent and strong, while igniting the abs to keep your centre of gravity. There is no wonder why surfers bodies are so cut. Yoga practices many of the same muscle movements. Laying on the board paddling out is much like Locust Pose in yoga. Popping up on the board for the perfect ride is the same motion as Chaturanga and Cobra Pose. Finally, riding the wave is like doing Warrior Two on the board. The benefit of yoga is the slowdown of the movements making the mind and body embrace, understand, and go deeper into the poses/movements. Yoga not only improves the body’s strength, but also flexibility to prevent injury, stamina to last longer in the ocean and catch more waves, balance to get up and remain on the board, and coordination to be able to maneuver the board as well as the body. Not only is yoga about the asanas, it is largely about the mind and being able to control the mind. Yoga can help with the mental and emotional difficulties that can arise while surfing. Practicing yoga teaches the mind to be calm and relaxed so it can remain focussed. Some of the greatest loss of control of the mind comes after a massive wipe-out and the wave takes complete control. If the mind becomes scarred and freaks-out the body will follow. Arms and legs will start flailing about trying to fight the wave and getting nowhere. If the mind can remain calm the body will follow its lead. Let the arms wrap around the head for protection then simply let the body become one with the wave. Embrace the wave, soon it will end and all will be safe.
To be a good yoga and a good surfer the mind must learn to tune all else out. How many times has professional surfers said that when they are surfing it is just them and the wave, nothing else exists. That is yoga, a surfers yoga. They have a connection to the ocean. They thrive off the energy of the ocean. Yoga is all about receiving energy from nature and others to in turn return that energy back to the universe. To surfers that universal energy comes through the waves and becomes one with the surfer. Yoga can help that surfer remain present and aware in that moment, riding that perfect wave, and even deepening the experience.