Yoga Poses for All Levels of Surfers

4 min read

There’s no denying that surfing and Yoga go together, and they share many similarities.

Yoga and surfing both have many benefits for the body and mind. As I discovered when I stood up on a green wave last year, flexibility, balance, concentration (Dharana), and breathwork (pranayama) are just a few. Kelly Slater is a yoga enthusiast!

Surfing can be exhilarating, and there is no better feeling than riding an open wave. However, certain actions, such as paddling and pressing into the functional stance and turning, can lead to tension buildup in specific areas of the body.

Yoga poses can be used to not only prepare your body for surfing but also to help you restore balance after surfing. This will reduce the chances of injury and pain.

Garrett Lane is a yoga teacher with the ERYT-500 certification, a registered physiotherapist, a surf coach for high performance, and the head of the Talalla Surf surf & yoga program. Here are a few of the recommended poses.

Sukhasana / Easy Pose

Do not be fooled by the name. This gentle hip opener helps to relieve any tension in the muscles and tissue of this area.

Garrett suggests that you activate ujjayi pranayama while seated in Sukhasana to calm down the body’s response to stress, strengthen the muscles involved in breathing, and center the mind.

Vinyasa Yoga is based on linking breath with movement. It’s one of the most important yogic practices to become present in the moment. We can ‘ride the waves’ of breath while we flow through our practice. This will help us find the same stroke as the surfing experience.

Garudasana Arms / Eagle Arms

Did You Know? In a surf session, you spend only about 5 to 8 percent of your time surfing and 50-60 percent paddling.

Paddling puts a significant amount of strain on the dynamic shoulder stabilizers, also known as rotator cuff muscles. Garudasana helps us lengthen the small stabilizers and encourages healthier movements of the shoulder complex while paddling.

Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog

The position of the surf paddle is similar to Salabasana. ( Locust posture). The hamstrings and thoracolumbar facia are shortened by holding this position. Downward-facing Dog posture is ideal for stretching the connective tissue, muscles, and connective tissues that comprise this area and helps to prevent back pain.

Janu Sirsasana/Head-to-Knee Pose

This pose has two benefits: it is not only a great release for your hamstrings, but it also helps stretch the side body, shoulders, and arms.

Take a bind on your foot, your calf, or with a belt, and let your shoulder blades expand and move forward. This will lengthen our key paddling muscles – the rhomboids and our lattisimus.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana / Pigeon Pose

Who doesn’t like a good Pigeon Pose? It not only opens the hips but also brings the benefits of a front fold that calms the mind and soothes the nerves.

For surfers, releasing compression in the lumbopelvic area allows for more movement to the spine, which is needed to pop up and perform turns and carving maneuvers.

Place a blanket underneath the hip if your hips feel tight or you are feeling unbalanced in Pigeon Pose. You can also make a sand cushion by collecting some sand.

These poses are for surfers who want to progress. They will improve your surfing!

Virabhadrasana III to II Transition / Warrior III to II

Like Yoga, surfing and riding the perfect wave require strength, balance, and focus. This transition is especially useful for those who want to improve their surfing abilities.

When we think about Yoga and balance, we often think of Vrksasana. Virabhadrasana III (warrior) challenges our balance in the same way. But it adds a dynamic element when we transition from Virabhadrasana (warrior) II, replicating more closely what is required for surfing.”

You will feel more stable when you practice drishti or maintain a focused gaze. Surfers can use this technique to look down the line and determine the best maneuvers for the next section of the wave.

Navasana / Boat Pose

The boat pose is a great way to wake up your core. If you have trouble straightening both legs, try a variation where you keep your knees bent while straightening one leg.

Garrett, an Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, loves this pose. “Navasana has changed my frontside carving.”

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