THE BEST YOGA POSES FOR SURFING

The Best Yoga Poses for Surfers

Yoga and surfing, the two are often paired, and rightfully so, they are complementary to one another.

yoga surf holiday
Yoga surf camps are popping up all over the world and we are proud to offer Yoga surf holidays at our Caribbean surf camp.

The reality of surfing, for beginners and experts alike, is that only about 10% of our time in the water is spent wave riding. 90% of our surf is usually spent either paddling for waves or sitting waiting for waves.

While yoga will improve your balance, which will enhance your ability to ride waves, the true benefit of yoga for surfers is increased paddle strength and injury prevention.

Unlike other training methods, yoga relies completely on one’s body weight to stabilize, stretch, and strengthen the body. The result is enormous strength gains in the small stabilizing muscle of the upper back and shoulders, the same muscles we engage to paddle.

At Swell Surf Camp, we’ve created a list of The Best Yoga Poses for Paddle Strength, to give you the tools you need to prepare for your next surf holiday. Keep reading to learn the best yoga poses for surfers which will increase your paddle strength and turn you into a wave catching machine.

The Best Yoga Poses for Surfers

1. Upward Facing Dog

Upward facing dog is one of the most recognizable yoga poses out there. When done properly, Upward Facing Dog will improve posture, strengthen the arms and wrists, stretch the chest, expand the lungs, firm the buttocks, and elongates the spine and abdomen.

Upward Facing DogHow to perform Upward Facing Dog:

Begin in the pushup position or high plank position. Lower yourself down into the bottom of the pushup position while shifting your feet so that the tops of your feet are now facing the ground.

From there, lift your chest off the floor and elongate your spine with a nice slow bend as your chest rises upwards. For surfers, this pose should feel natural as it essentially mimics the first step of a good pop up.

(Read our surf instruction blog post of  ‘surf technique the pop up‘ on this page)

2. Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing dog is another recognizable pose that engages your paddling muscles and is a great addition to any surf warm up.

Downward Facing DogHow to perform Downward Facing Dog:

Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Your knees should be directly below your hips at the same width, your wrists should be under your shoulders at the same width.

Spread your palms, keeping your index fingers parallel. Take a breath, as you exhale, lift your knees off the floor, keeping them slightly bent. Start to raise your tailbone to the sky. As you continue to breathe, push your quadriceps back and attempt to place your heels on the ground. The pose should be done with your head, neck, and spine in line and with firm arms.

3. Bow Pose

While it may look difficult, anyone can master the Bow Pose with proper instruction. The Bow Pose strengthens your back and core while stretching your ankles, abdomen, and neck. In addition to improving your paddle strength, the Bow Pose will ease back pain and improve your posture.

bow poseHow to Perform Bow Pose:

Lay down on your stomach. Curl your legs upwards while reaching back with your hands. Grab your ankles with your hands so that your body is bent like a bow. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

4. Locust Pose

The Locust Pose may just seem like a simple back bend, but it can strengthen the muscles around the spine, the buttocks, and the back. Making it a useful pose for surfers for both pre and post surf yoga sessions.

surf yoga locust poseHow to perform Locust Pose:

Lay on your stomach with your arms resting at the sides of your torso and your forehead on the floor. Turn your big toes towards each other to inwardly rotate your thighs. Exhale and lift your head, upper torso, arms, and legs away from the floor.

Only your lower ribs will remain in contact with the floor below you. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, stretching them backward. Gaze forward or slightly upward to keep the base of the skull lifted and the back of the neck long. Try to hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.

5. Balancing Table

The Balancing Table Pose will engage your core, upper back, and shoulders, making it one of the best poses for paddle strength, coordination, and core strength.

yoga Balancing TableHow to Perform Balancing Table:

Begin on your hands and knees in the Table Pose. Inhale, and reach your right leg back, extending your toes to the direction behind you. Your leg should be parallel to the floor. Inhale once more and bring your left arm up parallel to the floor. Hold for 3-6 slow breaths, exhale as you release. Repeat on the other side.

6. Extended Puppy Pose

A variation of Downward Dog, the Extended Puppy Pose stretches the upper back, spine, and shoulders while opening the chest. This pose also aids in the release of chronic tension in the neck and shoulders, making it the perfect addition to your post-surf cool down yoga session.

yoga Extended Puppy PoseHow to perform Extended Puppy Pose:

Begin in Tabletop (on all fours, with your hips directly over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists) Rest the tops of your feet on the floor with your toes pointed straight back. As you exhale, begin to walk your hands out in front of you. Allow your chest to sink towards the floor as you slowly release your forehead to the ground.

Press your palms firmly into the mat or the ground, and roll your elbows outward, keeping your palms on the mat. On your next inhalation, deepen into the stretch by reaching your hips up and back toward the wall behind you. Continue to let your chest sink down toward the floor. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths, release the pose by walking your hands back to the Table Top position.

7. Cow Faced Arms

Cow faced arms will help alleviate shoulder pain, specifically any rotator cuff impingements. If you have any sharp shoulder pain after a long day of surfing, this is the pose for you.

surf yoga Cow Faced Arms How to perform Cow Faced Arms:

While seated on the floor with crossed legs, grab a towel with your right hand, inhale your right hand to the sky. As you exhale, drop your right hand towards the back of your heart and reach up with your left hand to grab the dangling towel.

Release roll out your shoulders and repeat on the left. You should feel a gentle stretch on the front of the shoulder on the arm that is behind your back. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

8. Four Limb Staff Pose

The Four Limb Staff Pose builds the upper body and core strength necessary to surf successfully. Additionally, it lengthens the spine and strengthens the lower back muscles.

yoga Four Limb Staff Pose How to perform Four Limb Staff Pose:

Begin in a push-up position, with your fingers spread apart and a flat back. Exhale and keep the body in a straight line as you lower yourself downward, stopping 4-6 inches above the floor.

Bracing yourself with your weight forward above your palms, hold the position with a 90-degree bend at the elbows. Keep the shoulders at the same height as the elbows. Breath 1-4 breaths Release back into the push-up position or to a resting position on the floor.

9. Kneeling Crescent Lunge

The Kneeling Crescent Lunge will help release your tight hips after a long surf. The pose stretches the lungs, hips, neck, and abdomen.

Kneeling Crescent LungeHow to Perform Kneeling Crescent Lunge

With one foot in front of the other, begin in Warriors pose and lower the back knee to the ground. The front knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle, aligned with the ankle, the back knee should be pressed firmly into the floor. The hips are squared and pressed forward so there is a slight stretch on the hip flexors. The arms should be lifted and come together above the head, with hands together or apart.

More info (links to external websites, opens new window)

Surf & Yoga Retreat In The Caribbean

Whether you’re looking to take a surf yoga holiday or simply stay limber between paddle outs, Swell Surf Camp will give you the yoga and surf instruction you need to make the most out of your surf holiday. We offer 3 yoga classes per week for Swell clients.

surf yoga retreat

More info on the Yoga classes offered at Swell can be found on this page.

Q:I have never done Yoga before, can I join in the classes at Swell
A:Molly’s ( The Yoga Instructor at Swell)  teaching style is warm and supportive and she encourages students to explore beyond their perceived limitations by emphasising proper alignment to maximise performance and prevent injuries. You do not have to be a regular practitioner of Yoga to take and enjoy a yoga class at Swell.

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7 Reasons to Ride the Waves and Learn to Surf

Picture this. The sun’s shining, the palm trees are swaying, and you’re riding your first ever wave over the crystal clear Caribbean water. There’s no doubt about it, nothing beats surfing!

In addition to having fun and embracing a new challenge, surfing comes with a whole host of other benefits. From improved fitness and better core strength to reducing stress and encouraging you to get outdoors, what’s not to like?

Regardless of age or ability, it’s never too late to learn to surf. You’ll learn to trust yourself and your instincts like never before. We’ve rounded up 7 ways of how surfing will help you live life to the fullest.

Read on to learn more!

 

You’re Going to Get a Whole Lot Fitter When You Learn To Surf

learn to surf holidaysSurfing comes with many physical health benefits, which is great news for all of you looking to get fitter. In fact, surfing is the perfect combination of strength and cardio training.

When you learn to surf, you’ll be doing a lot of paddling to get used to the board and feeling of the water below. Although this can be a little tiring at first, it’s a killer cardiovascular workout. You’ll have some pretty toned arms by the end of your holiday, that’s for sure.

Your shoulders and back are also going to get stronger and stronger every time you paddle out to catch a wave.

Every element of surfing pushes your strength, agility, balance, and stamina.

Once you’ve learned to pop up on the board (you’ll get there, trust us), your legs and core are going to be working to keep your body balanced and standing upright. That feeling when you’re riding your first wave – however short that moment may be – is something you’ll never forget.

 

You’re Going to Feel Happier and More ‘Present’

happy surf campSurfing is a fantastic outlet for releasing stress and tension.

The endorphin’s released through physical activity provide a natural happiness high and immediately make you feel better about the world.

A study of 107 surfers in California investigated the mental health benefits of surfing by asking them to describe how they felt before and after a session. They reported feeling calmer and more tranquil afterwards.

When you’re surfing, there are no distractions of modern life. It’s just you, the water and your board.

 

Taking on a New Challenge Is Good for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

When we learn a new skill or sport, we’re challenging our mind, body, and soul. And when we are faced with something new, we have to work that much harder to get it right. When we achieve our goal, the reward is that much sweeter.

Remember when you learned to ride a bike? It doesn’t come immediately, but before you know it, you’ve got the hang of it! It’s the same with surfing. One day it will click, and you’ll wonder why you’ve taken so long to give it a go.

 

You’ll Learn More About Yourself

learn to surf holidayIt takes courage to leave your comfort zone behind and connect with something bigger than yourself. Venturing out into the open waves for the first time can seem daunting and alien. But trust us when we say that you will learn more about yourself in an hour learning to surf than you will by lying on the beach trying to get a tan.

You could surprise yourself with your patience, determination, and love for the ocean. Nobody is perfect and learning to surf encourages you to push through fear and doubt.

As in all parts of life, continuous effort and a positive attitude can take you anywhere.

 

You’ll Meet New People

surf schoolFor many people, surfing isn’t just a sport but a way of life. In fact, surfing is one of the oldest sports on earth and is thought to have originated in Polynesia in 2000 B.C.

Out of a sport marked by salty hair, sandy toes, and colourful boards, a major subculture has emerged. From surf art, surf tourism, and international contests, surfing has captured hearts across the globe.

When you learn to surf, you’ll inevitably meet new people, make new friends and experience the culture of the sport.

Getting Outdoors Is Always A Good Idea

sunrise surfingGetting close to nature  and really enjoying the natural environment around us is something we should all prioritise. Those who surf often speak of the feeling of overwhelming freedom when they are in the water.

When we’re outdoors, we gain perspective on life. Even when you’re in the beginning stages of learning to surf, you’ll be immersed in the rhythms of the ocean and the great outdoors.

 

It’s Never Too Late To Learn A New Skill

Nobody wants to reach 80 and think “I wish I done X, Y, and Z.” If learning to surf is on your bucket list, why not get ticking?

And you don’t have to be 21 to learn to surf either!
We have taught people in their 40’s – 50’s and 60’s how to surf

One British man, Paul, learned to surf when he was 61 years old and hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s opened up a new dimension in my life. A feeling of freedom. You’re basically on your own, on your surfboard in the sea…one to one,” Paul said.

At Swell we aim to be the best surf camp for adults who want to learn the sport of surfing.

 

Final Thoughts

Staying fit and active is always beneficial, but when you’re outside doing something you love and learning a new skill in the process, it feels that much more rewarding.

INTERESTED IN JOINING SWELL

Have a look at the following pages to see if the learn to surf holidays we offer are something that would suit you.


Swell offers adult surf camps for people people that are looking for the best place to learn to surf

SEE WHAT A SWELL SURF HOLIDAY IS ALL ABOUT

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON!


Check out our prices here.

How about a Family Surf Holiday?

In the popular kids vacation weeks, christmass, summer holiday we are also open for familiy surf holidays to join Swell.
Ready to buy your first surfboard? read our guide on choosing your first surfboard

Single / Solo Traveller? Read this article why Swell is the place for you

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