Surfing is considered an extreme sport, as it releases adrenaline, has a high level of physical exertion, and includes uncontrollable variables when relying on mother nature.
On the other hand, yoga is a more relaxed discipline that you can practice even at home, focusing on your mind, breath, and body. Mixing the high-intensity side of surfing with the calmness of yoga creates a magic combo with benefits for you and your surfing skills.
Find out why you should experience Costa Rica surf & yoga together on your next time to Tamarindo!
But, why Yoga?:
Yoga means union, and it’s what this ancient practice seeks; the union of mind, body, and soul. How does it translate? Yoga wants you to be present and aware of the moment by combining physical movement with mental observation. Why is it good for you?
“As surfers, we tend to push the boundaries, so we must allow our bodies to recover,
and yoga can do wonders in this process.”
– Martin, Surfers Hype Magazine
- Practicing yoga will help you stay in shape, as there are dynamic yoga practices that will benefit your cardiovascular system and improve your fitness capacity. A good physical shape is essential when you are in the ocean trying to catch waves or paddling towards the lineup. Some people see yoga as a slow practice, however, there are active yoga styles such as Vinyasa and Ashtanga that for sure will make you sweat!
- Practicing yoga will improve your flexibility, which will give you a better range of motion and agility when performing surfing maneuvers.
- Improve your balance: Sometimes we don’t pay attention to work on our balance, however, it plays an important role in surfing as standing on the board requires a lot of stability. There are many balancing poses in yoga that will help you feel more rooted – practice by practice.
- Relax your mind. Practicing yoga helps you release tension and act calmly. A calm mind is crucial during a heavy wipeout, where you need to hold your breath. With a relaxed mind, you will handle wipeouts easier so you can continue to enjoy your surf session!
It is clear that surfing and yoga go hand in hand, but maybe you have never practiced yoga before and have no idea where to start?
No problem! Here is a quick program that allows you to incorporate a healthy yoga routine for surfers before and after going to the beach.
Yoga Pre-Surf – 15 minutes
Before entering the ocean, you want to prepare your body for surfing, mobilizing it without over-tiring it. Take 15 minutes for a quick yoga session before entering the water to improve your overall surf performance.
Follow these four steps, and you will feel ready to catch all the waves!
- Sun salutations: What better way to warm up than doing this sequence of postures in motion? We recommend a minimum of 5 rounds of Surya Namaskar A or Surya Namaskar B (sun salutation A or B) to connect your movement with your breath and start feeling the heat inside yourself.
- Standing Poses: These are more intense and usually require strength activation. Perfect to start feeling your muscles and increase your strength. Example of standing poses to hold during a minimum of 5 breaths are Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Warriors (Virabadhrasana), and Uttanasana. They don’t require too much strength, but it is a great asana to open up your spine and relax your shoulders before paddling out.
- Balancing Poses: Add a few balancing poses to your pre-surf sequence for increased focus and improved stability. Tree Pose is the balancing asana par excellence. However, you can add other poses, such as Natarajasana (Dancer Pose) or Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose).
- Meditation: Take the last few minutes before paddling out to meditate. Listen to your breath and observe yourself. A calm and deep breath will help you in the ocean, and a relaxed mind will keep you calm in any unexpected situation, changing the way you react.
Yoga Post Surf – 15 minutes
After surfing, you might be exhausted, so we recommend incorporating a restorative and relaxing practice; that helps you stretch your body to avoid soreness the day after.
Surfing is a complete sport that works our full-body, so take a few minutes to relax muscles and tension after an intense surf session.
- Legs and hips (5 min): Sitting on the board and standing up when catching waves might cause hips tiredness. That’s why it’s good to stretch those legs after being in the ocean, but how?
- Happy Baby:Ananda Balasana. Start by laying down with your spine on a yoga mat or the floor. Then grab your feet, bend your knees and open the hips for at least one minute for a passive stretch.
- Pigeon:Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. It’s a wonderful asana for stretching the psoas muscle and hip flexors. You can regulate the intensity by placing your ankle closer or further from your hips.
- Head to Knee: Janu Sirsasana. Forward fold to one leg straight while the other remains bent. This asana is great for all levels, and it’s a fantastic way to stretch legs and torso at the same time.
- Arms (5 min): The part of our body that is most involved in surfing is, of course, the arms. If you want to feel your arms the day after surfing, better follow the next asanas to stretch shoulders and arms.
- Cowface: A great pose to stretch the triceps that might feel stiff after paddling for hours.
- Thread the needle: One of our favorite shoulder openers and spine stretch is this asana that combines stretching and twisting, adaptive for all levels.
- Child’s Pose: This common asana helps you straighten your spine and arms while connecting with your inner self. Take a few minutes here to observe your body and mind.
- Torso (5 min): Our torso, core, and spine also play an important role in surfing. Twists, folding forwards, and core stretches are perfect for releasing any tension in the area.
- Supine Spinal Twist: This pose will feel amazing for your body after all the tension that your spine has carried out in the water. It’s a passive stretch, so feel free to stay for a few minutes in the twist.
- Seated side stretch: Sit on the floor and simply bend your body to the sides. You can help yourself with the arms to reach further and keep the stretch for a few breaths.
- Paschimotanasana: Seated with the legs straight, fold forward toward your feet to extend the spine and relax any tension accumulated among the vertebrae.
It only takes 30 minutes to add this easy routine into your surfing days – or even better, into your daily life. So choose your favorite poses and start feeling better!
Yoga can benefit everyone, from surfers to people like digital nomads, who spend a lot of their time traveling, and even people with a busy 9-5 sedentary job.
So there is no excuse! You need to start practicing yoga for your own health and well-being. Better yet come down and enjoy Costa Rica surf & yoga on the beach! No better place with epic waves and amazing weather!