Why put yoga and surfing Australia in a retreat together? After all, they are two totally differing activities. Or are they?
Have you ever thought about the interconnectedness of yoga and surfing? If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t.
But do you know who has? One of our eras greatest surfers Gerry Lopez, aka Mr Pipeline. Eleven times World Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater. And amazing Australian surfer, also known for fighting off a Great White Shark attack, Mick Fanning.
These surfing legends are also advocating yogis, and here’s why.
In the yoga and surfing communities, there are three shared philosophies.
Beyond the shared philosophies, we’ve listed the top 5 amazing benefits of combining yoga with surfing. If you’ve never considered their synergy before, you will after reading this!
A common thing to see from surfers in the line-up, is quick breaths being taken as they’re paddling around. There’s a lot of research out there that discusses the importance of slowing down your breathing.
By controlling your breathing, you’re able to keep your body calm under stress and relaxed in the water. This’ll help to sharpen your focus and maintain stamina, both important qualities for surfing.
In yoga, you learn to take nice long deep breathes in and out of the nose. In some yogic practices, there’s even an ancient breathing technique that uses the breath to recreate the sound of a wave. The technique’s called Ujjayi or oceanic breath. Ujjayi helps the yoga practitioner synchronise the movement of their body with their oceanic breath.
There couldn’t be a more apparent connection of yoga and the ocean.
2. State of Flow
Yogis and surfers both require constant sequential movement. For a surfer, the flow of your body must harmonise with your board and the wave as you ride it. In yoga, your body’s sequential movement must be in harmony with the flow of your breath. When the flow of a yogi or surfer is interrupted, it requires some time and effort to regain it.
So, learning to harmonise your body with the flow of either your breath or a wave, is a beneficial skill to transfer over to the other activity.
Surfing and yoga also induce a flow state. This is a psychological state where one’s sense of self and concept of time diminishes as focus intensifies. Being in the flow state allows athletes to redefine and push past physical boundaries.
3. Strength, Balance, and Flexibility
When you practice yoga, your entire body is engaged. Practicing yoga regularly helps to strengthen the major, secondary stabilising and core muscles. This results in increased strength, balance, and flexibility.
Strengthening your entire body is important for surfing. To catch that wave, you’ll need to paddle, get up and balance on the surfboard, all while manoeuvring it. These activities engage the entire body, so strength is non-negotiable. Luckily, yoga can help!
Balance is another key element to surfing. You need it to get up and stay up on your board. Yoga is a great preliminary activity for this. Yoga helps to build your balance and focus through deep stretches and challenging poses, all while still controlling your breathing.
Speaking of yogic breathing... When learning deep breathing, you train your muscles to receive as much oxygen as possible. When your muscles learn to take in more oxygen, they become more flexible. As a surfer, more flexibility means more manoeuvrability. That’s the secret to getting your surfboard to go in the direction you desire.
Ultimately, having strength, balance and flexibility means having a better range of motion. And as surfing takes its toll on the body, regular yoga practice also helps to reduce any risks of injuries.
4. Facing Fears
Another unique element that makes combining yoga with surfing beneficial, is learning to embrace fear.
Fear is consistently present in both practices. As a yogi, you may be learning to embrace a headstand. As a surfer, you may face a wave that’s outside your comfort zone. In both yoga and surfing, you’re mentally training yourself to be comfortable facing and embracing fear.
This kind of consistency in embracing fear is not seen in many other sports, making this another unique element interconnecting yoga and surfing. Accepting fear as being a part of your yoga and surfing practice also allows you to become comfortable in it. It’s a skill that can be mastered.
5. Solo but Never Alone
Whether you’re a surfer or yogi, these practices give you the space to learn a lot about yourself. You come to understand what your mental and physical limitations are, how you handle discipline, commitment and adversity, and your reaction to pain.
While these activities are both solo in nature, they’re also part of a thriving community with like-minded individuals. Whether you’re unrolling your mat in a group class or paddling to the line-up, you’re always there for yourself but you’re never there alone.
There you have the top 5 reasons why yoga and surfing Australia are a great combination for a retreat. We’ve even seen that our favourite surfing legends Gerry Lopez, Kelly Slater and Mike Fanning are touting the benefits of combining these two activities.
So, d’you want this unique opportunity to connect deeper with yourself and nature? To live the dream life of surfing Australia and practicing yoga with other like-minded people? If you do, check out our Surf and Yoga Retreat on Surf Coast, Surf, Yoga and Permaculture Eco Retreat, or for our lovely ladies, the Women’s Surf Yoga Retreat.
Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss your options more, feel free to contact us. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible to ensure your surfing, yogic dream becomes a reality.
Written by Cindy Bernical