The key to surfing is strength, balance, patience, and calmness. Although without sand or the sea, the practice of Yoga is all about just that — clearing the mind, while also centering the body. Many stretches and Yoga poses are greatly beneficial for the sport of surfing, enhancing the specific muscles needed for paddling, standing up, and even controlling the board while catching waves. Yoga is also the best and most natural solution to most muscle aches or pains after a long day of surfing. If you are a surfer below are the yoga poses for surfing that you need to do before setting your foot in the water.
1. Forward Fold with Interlaced Fingers
Benefits: While not only stretching the legs, thighs, and hips, this pose is also one of the best for stretching the shoulders and upper arms. This pose is great for stretching out the biceps after a long day of paddling and pushing waves.
a. Stand about four feet apart, with your feet parallel.
b. Interlace your fingers behind your back, inhale and open the chest.
c. As you exhale, fold forward. Keep your back straight, and bend from the hip.
d. Reach your interlaced fingers toward the ground in front of you.
e. If you have a partner, you may ask them to help you further this stretch by gently pushing down your hands toward the floor.
2. Locust Pose
A lot of surfing is about back strength, as paddling and pushing is a key to getting better at catching those waves. Our back muscles are rarely used in our day-to-day life, and many Yoga poses target reversing that deterioration. Locust pose is an easy pose perfectly improving those specific muscles. Challenge yourself and improve your back muscles by increasing the amount of time you hold this pose each time you do it.
a. Lie down on the mat, with your arms to the side.
b. On your inhale, lift up your shoulders and feet. Try to also keep your chest off the ground, point your heart to the wall ahead of you, and keep the chin up.
Kick it up a notch with these different variations:
I. The Superman
– With your arms stretched straight in front of you, lift your shoulders and heels for deeper strengthening of the shoulders.
II. Alternating arms and legs
– Target different muscles in the back by lifting opposite arms and legs, first right arm and left leg, then switching.
III. Bow Pose
– Grab your ankles behind your back. Then lift up your shoulders and knees. Try to keep the knees close
3. Plank Pose
A lot of surfing is also about a strong core. One of the best poses for improving the core is holding a plank, both either with straight arms or on the elbows.
The key is keeping the hands or elbows just beneath the shoulders, and to keep the whole body straight from the ankles to the shoulders.
Do you get bored holding poses? Make it dynamic by lifting one leg at a time, or coming up and down from hands to elbows.
4. Standing Bow Pose
This pose doesn’t just look good on Instagram — mastering this pose improves your balance and core, while also stretching your hamstrings and legs.
a. Stand with your feet hip width, arms to the side.
b. Inhale, grabbing your right ankle joint with the right hand at the same time. Keep the knees together.
c. Raise the left arm straight up, look forward at a stationary object to keep balance.
d. As you exhale, reach your left arm forward, while stretching your right arm and leg up.
e. Hold the pose, take a few long, deep, and calm breaths.
f. Repeat on the other side.
If this pose is already too easy for you, take it a step further by attempting to do it with your eyes closed. 😉
5. Twisted Downward Dog
Downward dog is one of the most beneficial Yoga poses. It improves your flexibility, stretching the legs, hamstrings, while simultaneously strengthening the arms and shoulders. It’s also a form of inversion without the strain of a headstand or shoulder stand, bringing blood flow to the face and brain. Kick it up a notch with a twist, which not only stretches the body and spine, but also further strengthens the arms.
a. Start from a plank pose, with arms directly beneath the shoulders and your toes tucked.
b. Lift your hips up until you’re forming a straight line from the palms to your tailbone, keep the legs straight, forming a perfect triangle with the ground. Push the heels down to stretch the back of the legs.
c. On your next exhale, reach your right hand to touch your left ankle, twisting the spine. Take a few deep breaths in this stretch.
d. Bring your right arm back to the Downward Dog position, then repeat the same twist with the left hand.
6. Upward Facing Dog
It is considered a backward bending that extends the entire frontal part of the body, makes the spine flexible and at the same time allows you to increase the strength in the arms.
- Lie down on the ground with your stomach and face facing the mat. Tighten all legs slightly detached to the width of the hips and also extend the toes, keeping the back of the feet facing the ground.
- Place your hands, well open, exactly under the shoulders. Keep your elbows close to the sides of your body and not loose.
- At this point, lift your chest pushing your hands to the ground.
- Stay here for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Clearly the more you can stay there the greater the benefits you will experience.
7. Chair pose
This posture is great to warm up and strengthen your surfer body.
- You stand on the mat with the feet parallel and slightly separated. Inspires and raises your arms vertically, perpendicular to the ground. Keep your arms parallel to each other and palms facing inside or join your palms between them.
- Then exhale and bend your knees, trying to keep the inside of the thighs parallel to each other. Your knees will be ahead of your feet and your chest will be slightly bent forward over your thighs. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and close the shoulder blades.
- Keep your head in your arms and look forward. Push up the seat in such a way as to bring the sacred bone upward and then keep the lumbar area of the vertical column straight. This is the final position. Breathe normally and keep the position until you balance the strain with relaxation.
- To get out of the pose, he straightens his knees by breathing and then with an exhalation he lowers his arms along the body.
8. Goddess Pose
Goddess Pose is an empowering asana engaging the entire body while warming up and building strong legs.
- In a standing position, take a lateral step with your right foot and turn the tips outwards.
- Lower the pelvis and bend the knees until they are above the ankles. Face the coccyx downwards.
- Frame your face with your arms, keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. In this position breathe deeply 3 times.
9. Extended puppy pose
This yoga asana is practiced with knees on the ground, sides slightly back from the latter, with the arms and the torso completely extended forward and resting on the ground. Useful especially in case of stress (just before a surf competition) it is very useful to lengthen and opening the back while toning the body.
- To start the exercise, get on all fours.
- Bring the hands a few inches forward, with the fingers open and the palms firmly resting. Then you will have to bend the tips of the feet and let the pelvis drop on the heels. Then lean your forehead on the ground. Lower and combine the shoulder blades. In this position, breathe deeply 3 times.
10. Boat pose
This asana is perfect to strengthen your core and to learn to find balance and focus before jumping on your board!
- Lay out belly up on the mat. Place your arms on the side of your body and place your palms down.
- Inhale deeply and then, exhaling, lift both legs, arms, shoulders, head and upper chest from the floor. Do not lift the lumbar part of the back, but keep it pressed down as much as possible.
- Keep your arms and legs straight to form a corner no greater than 45 degrees (preferably 30 degrees or less) with the ground.
11. Supported Shoulder stand
A supported shoulder stand is a great posture to relax while building some upper body strength and work on your balance too, mandatory elements for your surfing sessions.
- In this position the weight of the body is mainly supported by the shoulders. The bust is aligned with the legs extended. The feet are united. The elbows are on the ground, shoulder-width apart. The hands press on the back and support the bust.
- The breastbone is pushed against the chin and not vice versa.
- Be careful not to move your head to avoid problems with the cervical vertebrae.
12. Plow Pose
This yoga stretch is incredible to stretch your legs, hips and back in a calm and relaxed way.
- From the supported shoulder stand, lowering the legs, we find ourselves in the position of the plow.
- The neck is elongated and the look is on the navel. To protect the cervical, avoid rotating the head.
- The hands support the pelvis and the lower back. At a later time you can stretch your arms on the floor and hands on the ground.
- Press on the ground with your toes, lift the coccyx and the quadriceps towards the sky, while the inner part of the thighs is projected towards the pelvis.
13. Yogi squat
This squat activates quadriceps, adductors, buttocks and calves, strengthening also the lumbar area and the abdominals.
- Start from the standing position, with the feet shoulder-width apart, the toes slightly open and the heels on the ground.
- On the inspiration, the arms are lifted upwards and on the exhale it goes down into squat positions (sitting on the heels).
- Keep yourself balanced by pressing your elbows into your knees, bringing your hands together in the prayer position.
- After some breathing it is possible to deepen the position: bring the chest forward and replace it, on the sides, with the inside of the thighs.
- Hands always in prayer position and forehead resting on the tips of the fingers.
14. Bridge pose
This asana is amazing to stretch your back, work on your lower body and detox too warming up and preparing your body for some surfing!
- Start lying in a supine position.
- Flex your knees and place your feet on the ground at the width of your pelvis with your arms at your sides in the direction of your heels. The outer part of the feet is parallel.
- Push on the feet (especially on the toes), stretch towards the coccyx and lift the pelvis.
- Join your hands beneath yourself and, without experiencing any discomfort, bring your shoulders close one at a time. In this position breathe deeply 3 times.
15. Dancer pose
This yoga asanas is amazing for surfers. This is a standing position, which requires a good balance, both physical and mental, and which is used for stretching the muscles of the legs and shoulders.
- In Mountain Pose, inhale and move your weight on your right foot. Lift the left foot and bring it to the left buttock by bending the knee.
- Keep your right leg firmly supported and straight, and try to keep your upper body in a more upright position.
- At this point, take your left hand back and grab the outside of your left foot, or left ankle. To avoid compression of the lumbar vertebrae, actively lift the pubic bone towards the navel and, at the same time, press the sacrum in the direction of the floor.
- Begin to lift the left foot upward, away from the mat, and backward, away from the torso.
- Extend the left thigh behind you, so that it is parallel to the ground.
- Stretch your right arm forward, in front of you, parallel to the ground.
- Keep the final position until you can balance effort and relaxation, for at least 10 to 20 seconds, breathing quietly.
Too lazy to read? Watch a video version of Yoga for Surfing:
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