I tried surfing for the first time 8 years ago. I was a pretty athletic girl, so I figured surfing, like most sports would come easy to me. I was very wrong. If you are a surfer, you know that the strength you need to pop up on the surfboard comes from your core and your arms; areas that I had long gone ignored in my fitness routine of just running. Embarrassed and humbled I left the beach thinking that surfing was just never going to be my thing.
Skipping ahead 8 years, I found myself in Cape Town stuffed into a car with 6 people and 6 surf boards. I didn’t want to be the buzzkill of our vacation, so I neglected to tell anyone that while yes I had surfed before, I was never able to pop up. We got to the beach and everyone headed to the water. I held back and asked my friend to give me a quick pop up lesson on the sand. The first time I practiced it I thought I was doing something wrong. Something that was so difficult for me 8 years ago seemed easy and came natural. That was when it dawned on me, instead of the routine of running 5 miles daily I was practicing Vinyasa yoga daily.
Chaturanga after chaturanga, and thousands of hidden core exercises are what allowed me to not just pop up on the beach, but actually get out on the water and surf during the 2 weeks I was in South Africa. Now when I talk to anyone about surfing, I always suggest pairing it with a vinyasa yoga practice. It not only helps you with balance on the board, but it builds strength and awareness in the same areas required to be a successful surfer. In a Yoga Journal article Jamal Yogis says “Yoga and surfing intersect on the mental and spiritual planes, too. “They both keep you so present,” says Taylor Knox, who, at 38, credits a regular regimen of Bikram Yoga and meditation”
MyYogaWorks‘ Alex Crow feels the same, and for all the reasons listed above, we created a few online yoga videos for surfers that focus both on popping up and paddling out.