6 Yoga Poses for Surfers (or those who wish they were one)

While we're up freezing our buns off here in the Great White North, our friend & yoga teacher Fredrika is playing in the sun with the Great Whites downunder. We are so stoked to have her be a blog contributor- this chick has some serious yoga game and is up to some fun things this year. She'll be moving back home to Europe towards the end of the year but not before leading a few retreats in Bali and teaching classes in Melbourne. You can learn more about her on her instagram


Oh Australia..

Are you, like me, imagining yourself on a beach, tanned, with salty hair and a surfboard under your arm running down towards the water? Well after my first surf lesson it is safe to say I am no natural. Not only am I absolutely freezing in a wetsuit, my arms are tired and I am bruised all over. Not glamorous.

Like anything else, becoming somewhat good at surfing takes a lot of practice and patience. Whether you are a pro surfer who spends the whole day in the water or just a beach bum casually posing next to surfboards after giving up after ten minutes, you might end up sore and stiff after your surf session. 

So we know yoga stretches you out, but in this case, it'll also help you amp up your surfing skills.  Yoga improves balance and core strength & as you can imagine, this comes in pretty handy when you are balancing on a board in the water. On top of this, yoga will increase your capacity for full breaths and your ability to control your breathing. This will prevent you from becoming short of breath and having to paddle in to land after only a few rides. All of those surf-yoga retreats are on to something.

I've gathered some of the best postures to add to your post-surf ritual. However, it is needless to say that any yoga postures will benefit you. And like anything else, if some of these postures don't suit your body or don't feel good, just skip them- no hard feelings. 

 

1. PUPPY POSE

What to do: Begin on all fours in a table top position and start to walk your hands forward so that you can lower your chest and either forhead, or chin for a deeper strech, down towards the ground. To really open up through the chest, come up onto your fingertips and melt your heart down further, staying active through your arms.

Why should I do this: This postures is going to soften chest and shoulders and feel like a good release after a heavy paddle session.

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2. Downward Facing Dog

What to do & Why: The classic downward dog has so many different benefits but for surfers, above all, it offers a stretch for shoulders, hamstrings and calves which strengthening wrists, arms and thighs. However, doing this posture on the beach pre or post surf calls for extra caution of your wrists since excessive pressure is put on them in the soft sand. Press down through base of your index finger and thumb as you activate through the muscles in the palms of your hands, drawing your pinky finger to your thumb slightly to prevent you from dumping the weight into the base of your wrist.

 

3. Warrior Two

What to do: Be aware of your alignment and stack your front knee over ankle making sure it does not fall inwards. Press the outside of the backfoot in towards the floor, especially on the beach, to ground the whole sole of the foot in towards the earth. The more active you stay through your arms the more you are going to get those strengthening benefits. Stay for at least five deep breath and then do the same on the other side.  

Why should I do this: Warrior two is an excellent posture for building stamina and working on your breath. It strengthens the legs and stretches the hips and groin. 

4. Twisted wide legged forward fold

What to do & Why: The wide legged forward fold stretches your hamstrings, calves and lower back. Adding in the twist digs in to shoulders, upper back and into your hips as well. It lengthens the spine and can also relieve neck and shoulder tension. Focus on lifting sit bones up, drawing shoulder blades together and the rotation of the torso. As your head is below the heart it can also promote a calmer mind. Overall, an amazing posture both before and after surfing.

5. Boat pose

What to do & Why: Working both your core strength and balance, this posture is the perfect variation to work your core when you need something new to add to your regular plank workout. Building balance is going to help you on the board as well, even though the posture is seated.  Place your focus on keeping your chest up, shoulders back and the core engage. To make it harder, slowly lower down towards the ground, hovering shoulders, arms, hands and legs off the ground and then lift back up with control.

6. Seated forward fold

What to do & Why: The seated forward fold stretches the back of your legs and the whole spine. Keep your feet flexed with the toes pointing up and lengthen the spine with each inhale, relaxing deeper on each exhale. Perfect to do before jumping in the water to relax the mind, and after you come back on land to stretch out the hammies and calves. An all time favourite!