If you have already tried yoga, chances are you are familiar with its countless benefits. This post is not for you. This is for the surfer who would rather watch his favorite board fall out of the back of a pick-up truck than try a yoga class. Ive been there! I had zero interest in sitting in a room full of people who knew what they were doing when I didn’t. I mean, can someone get that guy in the see-through yoga pants a pair of board shorts please? And what is that chanting all about?! I already had surfing to keep me in shape, so what was the point?
About 8 years into my love affair with surfing, my then-roommate dragged me to my first yoga class. The studio was running a super cheap deal and since I’m a sucker for a bargain, I signed up. My first class was anything but graceful. But to be economical, I went back the next day. And the next day. After about a week of carving out one hour everyday for yoga, I started noticing a difference in my surfing. My arms were stronger. Paddling became easier. My duck dives were deeper. I could move faster. I was also much more flexible. I had a whole new range of motion in my shoulders, hips, and spine. I could even ground my feet on my board and find my center of gravity more quickly. I was becoming more patient. The most obvious benefit, though, was that my lung capacity seemed to increase allowing for me to hold my breath longer. At the end of my first month of practicing yoga, those benefits only increased. I have always exercised (I was even an avid runner), but nothing seemed to improve my overall physical condition for life the way that yoga did. I was hooked.
Because you are a surfer, you already have more of the fundamental building blocks for yoga than most people. You can get out of the mindset that you don’t know what you are doing in a yoga class, because you actually do! You already love being in the present moment, you know how to control your breath, you find connection to joy through physical movement, and you literally like to go with the flow. The position your body is in while you’re paddling is even a pose: Locust. The muscles you use to pop up are the same ones used to transition from the back of your yoga mat to the front. That shape you are make while you are standing on your board? It’s a spin on Warrior Two.
You get the point.
Let’s face it: The most challenging part of being a surfer is that some days, life happens and you can’t make it into the water during daylight hours. Or maybe surf conditions don’t allow you to do your favorite activity for days or even weeks at a time. Take it from a surfer who has lived in Charleston, South Carolina for a long time. Sometimes you can’t surf! It’s a wonderful thing to have a practice that allows you to improve your surfing no matter what the conditions of the surf or your life provide.
Try it out. But be careful, you might have to balance your life around two highly addictive, fun, healthy, life-changing hobbies! And don’t worry, you don’t have to wear yoga pants. Board shorts work just fine.
This post comes from one of our very own teachers at our yoga studio, Yoloha Yoga Factory, in Charleston, SC. If you’re ever in town, be sure to drop in for one of Emily’s classes!