4 Reasons Why Every Yogi Would Love Surfing

That’s me! Photo by Morten Solvstrom

As the founder of a surf and yoga retreat company and a full time yoga instructor based in New York City, I have made it my personal mission to connect surfing and yoga in an approachable, safe way, for I feel they are both extremely related and have outstanding benefits to our well-being. Here are my top four reasons why I feel these two practices are so interconnected and beneficial:

  1. Both surfing and yoga teach us to embrace the beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind is a gift; it is that state in which everything is in discovery mode, all feels new, puts us in awe. To be able to observe ourselves in a brand new environment and notice our reactions and vulnerability, is one of the many beauties of both these activities. A true student of both will never cease to seek and learn more, and will constantly obtain information about these from every angle, constantly experiencing the excitement which is the beginner’s mind.
  2. Connects to the present moment: one of the main goals of yoga asana practice is to find a deep connection to our bodies through steady, deep breathing, and through mindful observation of our inner dialogue as we move; thus connecting to the present moment. It is through the steady instruction of breathing in and breathing out, once practiced regularly, that we begin to feel the break from all the thoughts the mind is constantly throwing around, or what is called the Monkey Mind. In surfing, a similar experience happens once one decides to surf for one cannot connect with anything BUT the present moment, otherwise, you won’t be able to even paddle out! The connection to our surroundings is crucial for performance and for safety, and the inner observation is essential for performance. Things like observing the ocean constantly to see when a set is coming, when it’s time to start to paddle on to a wave, figuring out how fast or slow one should go, when time is perfect to stand, the list goes on. Before we know it, we have been out in the sea for hours! and the mental break is one of a kind.
  3. Heightened body awareness: In both Yoga asana and surfing, a perfect balance between strength and flexibility are required. Noticing the balance between the two takes attention to detail, bringing a deep connection to the body. During my retreats and during my teaching experience, I have heard so many yogis and surfers express how surprisingly physically challenging both yoga and surfing can be. Both of are challenging forms of athletic movement, and yes, yoga is very athletic! Unless you are practicing restorative Yoga, Yoga asana is pretty hard. Professional surfers and Instagram yogis all make it look easy, but both activities require a tremendous amount of discipline, practice, and hyper physical awareness to help one advance in the practice. This heightened body awareness also allows us to listen to the body more, decreasing our chances of injury.
  4. Surf and Yoga teaches patience. “I can’t touch my toes, I can’t get up on the board, I can’t bottom turn my board, I can’t arm balance,” the list goes on and on. Those are some of the comments I hear daily, either while teaching, or while at retreats. The antidote: Just practice! There are so many milestones in both these activities, and to get impatient as we learn is a waste of time. A true surfer and Yogi knows, for they have been there and done that, and know that patience is key.

I am stoked to have about five surf and yoga trips per year in which we surf, practice yoga and meditation in both famous and secret breaks around the world. For more information on my retreats, please visit www.lovesurfyoga.com