restorative Yoga after surfing
You probably landed here because your body and muscles feel tense and sore after a long day of surfing. Or maybe a previous injury has made you more conscious about your recovery process.
Surfing is a demanding sport for our muscles, joints, and ligaments. Therefore we must allow our bodies to recover after a long day of surfing, and yoga can do wonders in this process!
The benefits of a post-surf yoga routine
Yoga can be beneficial for surfers in many different ways. Yoga can activate your muscles before a surf session or boost your recovery process after an intense day of surfing.
Before surfing, you don’t want your muscles to be too relaxed. Therefore we recommend a more active yoga flow like Hatha or Vinyasa (Power yoga) which is a fast-paced style of yoga that focuses on strength and muscle activation.
However, after a long surf session, we need to be focusing on a more relaxing yoga flow that aims to soften and stretch the tight muscles to prevent injuries. To achieve this, you should be focusing on yoga poses that involve a lot of stretching, where movements are slower, and poses are held for extended periods.
Yin Yoga is an excellent example of a slow-paced style of yoga for surfers. The purpose of Yin yoga is to completely let go of tension as you settle into each pose. To achieve this, you must be aware of your breath. Make sure you take deep inhalations where you breathe deep into your belly while performing the yoga poses.
Surf & Yoga: the perfect match
Surfing and yoga are two sports that complement each other well. Surfing involves most muscle groups in our body, and the sport can be quite demanding for beginners. After a long day of paddling and keeping our body in a proper surf posture, it’s easy to end up with sore shoulders and traps. The high intensity of surfing compared with the more relaxed style of yoga makes up a perfect balance for our body if you ask us.
The great harmony between the two sports is why you see a lot of surf camps and resorts offering surf and yoga retreats for their guest. When traveling, you want to get the most out of your surfing days, and this is where a good recovery routine will come into play.
Simple 15-min Post-Surf Yoga sequence
Surfing can be very exhausting, so it’s important to keep it simple when it comes to – your post-surf yoga routine. Try to stick to a relaxing yoga routine that you enjoy practicing because it gives you a good feeling in the body, rather than something which feels like an obligation.
So let’s guide you through eight simple yoga stretches that can help you avoid soreness and tight muscles after surfing.
- Legs, hips & lower back
- Shoulders & arms
- Core & spine
- Reflective meditation (bonus)
1. Legs, hips & lower back (5 min):
Sitting on the surfboard waiting for the sets to roll in or standing up when riding the waves might cause leg and hips tiredness. That’s why it’s good to stretch those legs after a long day of surfing, but how?
1.A: Standing Forward Bend (uttanasana)
We are starting out with a simple standing forward bend to stretch those tight hamstrings and calves. This pose will help reduce the overall fatigue in your legs.
1.B: Pigeon (kapotasana)
The pigeon is an effective yoga pose for stretching the hip flexors and lower back. It’s easy to regulate the intensity of the asana by placing your ankle closer or further from your hips. Try to hold the pose for ten deep breaths and then switch to the other leg.
1.C: King Arthur's pose
This yoga pose targets the quads. It helps elongate the front of the quadriceps while stretching out the psoas and hip flexors. If you feel that burning sensation in your legs after catching a lot of waves, then King Arthur’s pose will be a great release that feels amazing.
2. Shoulders & arms (5 min)
The arms and shoulders are among the most active muscle groups when surfing. After a long day of paddling it’s common to have sore arms and shoulders, so a good recovery asana is a benefetial for restoring range of motion and flexibility.
2.A: Standing Cow face (tadasana gomukhasana)
This pose opens up the chest and stretches the shoulders and arms – It is a perfect yoga pose after paddling for hours. It also improves posture and help boost your energy.
2.B: Thread the needle (Parsva Balasana)
One of our favorite shoulder openers and spine stretches is this pose that combines stretching and twisting, adaptive for all levels. The posture will stretch your chest, arms and neck and is known to be therapeutic for those suffering with pain or tightness in the upper body.
2.C: Child's Pose (Balasana)
This yoga pose will help you straighten your spine and arms while connecting with your inner self. Hold this pose for a few minutes while taking the time to reflect on your surf session. It’s a good pose for your post-surf yoga routine as it is a counterpose to your paddling position.
3. Core & spine (5 min)
Our spine and core muscles play an important role in surfing. In combination with the core muscles the spine helps us twists, fold forward, and compress, which are important body manouvers when performing the pop-up, doing airs, generating speed, etc.
3.A: Supine Spinal Twist (supta matsyendrasana)
This pose will feel amazing for your body after all the stress that your spine has carried out in the water, as it stretches the spine and back and relieves tension in the lower back, abs and obliques. It’s a passive stretch, so try to stay for a few minutes in the reclining twist while you focus on your breathing.
3.B: Seated side stretch (Parsva Upavistha Konasana)
Sit on the floor and simply bend your body to the sides. You can help yourself with the arms to reach further and keep the stretch for a few breaths. It’s a nice and calming stretch that releases tension in your spine and back.
4. Reflective meditation (bonus)
We like to end our post-surf yoga routine by doing some reflective meditation. This is completely optional, but we highly recomend meditation as it’s a great way to connect body and mind and evalvuate our surf session.
Maybe we’ve noticed a lot of tension in a certain part of our body doing the post-surf yoga stretch. How can we improve our surf training to help relieve these muscle groups? Maybe you want to use your meditation session to reflect on the waves you caught – how you can you improve your position in the line-up and reading of the sets; to catch more waves?
Whatever subject or event you choose to focus on doing your 5-10 min reflective meditation is completely up to you! There is no “right” or “wrong” as long as we focus on a specific moment from our surf session and allow our superconscious to guide us towards the answers.
This simple 15-min yoga routine will allow you to surf more and for longer periods while reducing the chances of injuries. So there is no excuse! You need to start practicing yoga for your own health and well-being.