Yoga and Surfing - What's all the hype? And do you need both?

It's no secret that yoga and surfing go together. If you're an avid surfer (or even just a beginner looking to improve your skills) yoga can be the physical and mental training you need to take your surfing to the next level. We've all read about how yoga and surfing complement each other wonderfully, but where's the proof?

We asked 7 women how yoga has improved their surfing, and the responses were beautiful. 

Here's what they said:

At its core, the practice of yoga is all about breathing, and Prāṇāyāma is the practice of this breath control in yoga. In modern yoga as exercise, Prāṇāyāma consists of synchronizing the breath with movements between asanas (poses), but is also a distinct breathing exercise on its own, usually practiced after your asanas. Leslie Carvitto, a yogini, surfer and digital content creator writes:

 

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There are various types of yoga practice, and everyone has their favorite. 

Coco from Sister Surf & Yoga Retreat started practicing yoga in her early 20's after stumbling upon a "Yoga for Surfers" DVD by Peggy Hall.  Nowadays, she says Yin Yoga is her go-to style when she's been surfing heavily. Yin Yoga is more about meditation and stretching, and less about strength. Coco expresses that, "Surfing is the physical exercise and yoga for me is my yin practice. I am able to balance both the yin and yang." 

 

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But meditation and breathwork isn't the only way a consistent yoga practice can improve your surf sessions. Building core strength for balance by various yoga asanas can be crucial for catching waves. Helena Richardson, founder of Kohamea - a website that focuses on surf & yoga travel - says that yoga is what helped get her core strength back after pregnancy. 

 

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Another reason why yoga and surfing are so greatly correlated is due to the fact that certain yoga asanas are actually replicated on the board.  Practicing these asanas on land helps build strength and muscle memory for when you're on the water. Cindy Stokes from Wahine Surf Club states, "as I'm about to paddle and catch a wave, I do the cobra pose and then spring to my feet."

 

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And a high intensity focused practice, like Power Yoga, can help build the shoulder and back muscles needed for paddling.  Magdalena Berger from our own MAGDAKINEDESIGNS, says that practicing Power Yoga on a regular basis allows her to stay out for longer sessions thanks to the muscles it helps build in her upper body. 

 

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Another yogini, Theresa from College Park Yoga, agrees.  She adds that flexibility gained from yoga helps her body stay limber and stay on the board, ultimately meaning longer better waves. 

 

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Overall, these women nailed it in terms of how yoga and surfing complement each other.  And if you needed any more proof that you should be doing both, take this quote from Cindy Ichikawa below - where she states, "I truly believe that yoga has saved my life in the water."

 

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*Bonus Tips* This article is choke-full of women passionate about yoga and surfing.  Many of them offer resources and services to help fuel your own fire around the two. Take advantage of this opportunity (I mean...you're already here, right?) and reach out!
Surf and Yoga Retreats: 
Sister Surf and Yoga Retreat - Playa Grande, Costa Rica - Coco.
Kohamea - A website dedicated to helping you plan your next surf trip - Helena Richardson.
Surf Clubs:
Wahine Surf Club - Virginia Beach, VA - An all-inclusive club open to men, women and children interested in surfing, yoga, paddle boarding, etc.
Surf Photography and Branding:
Leslie Carvitto - Vibrant and authentic photography for female business owners and conscious creatives 
Yoga Classes:
Full Circle Yoga - Winter Park, FL - Cindy Ichikawa
College Park Yoga - Orlando, FL - Theresa Curameng
Bikinis and Apparel:
MAGDAKINEDESIGNS - Sustainable surf bikinis and organic clothing - Magdalena Berger 

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