If you are trying to progress your surfing, nothing can beat the benefits of simply heading in the water and practising catching a wave and popping up time and time again.
However, there are things you can do outside the water, perhaps in the evenings or days where there is no swell, which can help look after your body and keep your fitness at its peak level.
In this blog, we look at how yoga can do just that and explain why you should consider practising it alongside surfing. For more information, check out our blog on surf preparation, or contact a member of our team who will be happy to help! We ca advise you on all things water related, such as drysuits and mens shorty wetsuits!
What Is Yoga?
In a short summary, yoga combines both breathing and postures to improve the flexibility of your muscles.
It has many benefits and is encouraged as a treatment for a variety of health issues by the NHS website. For example, the NHS has suggested that yoga has the potential to reduce the pain caused by diseases such as arthritis. All in all, yoga can be used as a way to combat times of both physical and mental struggle.
The exact date of yoga’s origin is unclear and varies. It is commonly believed to have started 5,000 years ago, but there are suggestions it originated even earlier.
Try a Yoga Class to Get You Started
One of the many advantages of yoga is that it can be completed independently at home and in your own time.
However, we would recommend attending at least a few lessons when you can, especially if you are just beginning to understand the basics, as a second pair of eyes will ensure you are not causing more harm than good!
If you do try yoga on your own, it is essential to hold stretches for 90 to 120 seconds for peak effectiveness and progression.
Why Can Yoga Improve Your Surfing?
Yoga has received much attention in recent years as an effective way to improve both physical and mental wellbeing.
Promoted in this way, many people turn to yoga to help with flexibility issues, improve balance and strengthen muscles, as well as a way to help with the symptoms of anxiety through the breathing techniques used in yoga.
With these benefits in mind, there is plenty of scope for yoga to support and develop your surfing. Below, we look at a few examples.
Yoga Can Improve Flexibility for Your Pop-Up
As we have previously discussed, yoga is praised for its focus on flexibility and work on muscle suppleness. When completing demanding and quick reactions from our body, such as the pop-up, we ideally need to reduce feelings of stiffness for optimal performance and ensure we have smooth and fast responses.
There have been studies on the impact of yoga on the flexibility of athletes, and research has led to the conclusion that practising yoga for 15-30 minutes per day could enhance an individual’s flexibility and balance.
Yoga Can Help With Balance
As most of us have learned, balance is key when standing up on a surfboard. Yoga hones in on the power of balance and is a fantastic way to practise this.
Of course, nothing is more beneficial than learning to balance on a board in the moving water. However, yoga can focus on strengthening your legs and teaches you to engage with your core muscles, consequently making you feel more in tune with your body.
The more you can realise where your balance is off centre, the more likely you are to plan ahead and adjust your body accordingly when in the water.
Yoga Offers a Form of Recovery After a Session in the Sea
With flexibility in mind, it is worth mentioning that yoga is a fantastic form of recovery after a surf session. How many of us think about stretching before and after a surf? Most of the time, we tend to head in and out of the water, not considering how we can look after our bodies after such a physical and mental demand.
The need to manage and look after our muscles is especially relevant for adults because muscles become less flexible as we advance in our age. Moisture substance in tissue reduces by 15%, and if we do not look after our muscles properly, we are more likely to suffer from an injury. An injury could keep us from being in the water over a long period of time - and no-one wants that!
By stretching our muscles through yoga, we can incorporate the limbering and recovery of our muscles into a routine.
Yoga Can Increase Upper-Body Strength
As you discover more about yoga, you will come across poses which are specifically designed to improve muscle strength. This could be incredibly beneficial as a surfer, especially if you would like to increase your upper-body strength for paddling and popping-up.
Studies have suggested that even by performing a series of 24 basic sun salutations over the course of 24 weeks (six days out of seven), adults have shown a substantial growth in upper body strength, as well as losing weight and increasing their levels of endurance.
Yoga Focuses On Breath and Clarity
Surfing is both physically and mentally demanding, and in order to maintain focus and clarity in the sea, yoga can help develop these skills through breathing.
Not only can controlled breathing help to reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety, but it also allows oxygen to reach your brain and increase your levels of attention. If you need a few pointers to start, try this when you need to enhance your focus:
• Breath in deeply through your nose for four seconds and fill up your lungs.
• Hold for 2 seconds.
• Release the breath through the mouth for four seconds.
• Repeat as necessary.
However, this suggestion is only the beginning, and there are plenty of other exercises used in yoga to help with breathing.
These are only a few of yoga’s advantages for a surfer. Are there any stretches or poses you have found beneficial before and after a surf? Why not share them on our social media channels? We would love to hear from you!
If you would like to enhance your flexibility in mind, body and wetsuit, why not take a look at our extensive range of men’s and women’s wetsuits? At Wetsuit Centre, we have some of the most advanced wetsuit technology on offer in our online store.