Yoga and Massage for Surfers

Yoga and Massage for Surfers

  • Sep 10, 2021

Yoga and Massage for Surfers

Yoga will teach us surfers how your body is at any point in time and what you need to do. Or put simply body awareness.

Yoga is also excellent for improving specific aspects of your surfing -:

  • backhand tube riding stance
  • pop-up getting to your feet
  • better control, sensitivity (awareness) of your feet
  • core strength for protection and surfing skills
  • recovery (rest/stretch)

Mind Body Surf

Kelly Slater (GOAT - Greatest of all time) incorporates Yoga into his life and it clearly shows in his surfing. His longevity at the top level is legendary, regarded by many as the best athlete ever in any discipline.

Kelly Slater MIND BODY SURF: MIND
Kelly Slater MIND BODY SURF: MIND

Yoga Postures (Asanas) for Surfing

Nubia has a Yoga and Massage wellness centre located in Southport. However Nubia also has a background in swimming (with Olympic athletes) Exercise Physiology and surfs, making her a got to person for any surfing related injuries or recovery. Or better still prevention of injuries.

The Sanskrit word Asana (notice it as part of posture names listed below), originally was used to describe "a sitting meditation" pose. Yoga itself is really a practise to make your body supple so you can sit in a meditation pose. Nubia maintains those traditions, hence the name Pure Yoga.

For surfers on the Gold Coast we have world class waves and a variety of conditions. Some of the best beach breaks anywhere in the world can put demands on any body, let alone an aging one. So what can we do to maintain our surfing lifestyle into the 60s and behond? Here are some ideas related to Yoga-:

The most prolific injury to older surfers is related to their shoulders. Shoulder reconstructions are common, and many surfers regard it as a foregone conclusion that their shoulders will require surgery at some stage.

Another important issue is paddling speed. Keeping your shoulders flexible and strong is really important. Surfboards have evovled to be more efficient. There are limits as to how much extra foam (litres) you can go up. A bigger board is harder to duck-dive under waves and can itself cause injuries. So for anyone wanting to keep in the water, and keep their surfing functional, this article is for you.

Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

Cat Stretch (Bidalasana)

Surfing Cat Stretch

Cat Stretch (Bidalasana) helps loosen the entire back. A variation Nubia uses in class is to shift your hands around 180° which places your shoulders in a different position. This pose is done in conjunction with your breath. Breath-in face upwards as pictured above, breath-out face downwards.

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Surfing Chair Pose

Chair Pose is a part of Sun Salutation B. It is important to keep your hands parallel and your shoulders down. By shoulders down, keep the shoulders away from your ears. This is a good suggestion when paddling as well. By not over extending your arm you protect the shoulders from damage. Years of paddling incorrectly will take its toll. Remember to paddle engaging your lats. You will feel your lats when you do this pose correctly. It locks in your core.

Balancing Table Pose (Dandayamana Bharmanasana)

Surfing Bird Dog Pose

Balancing Table Pose or Bird Dog Pose it is important to keep your hips stable. When you start in the kneeling position pay attention to the muscles that switch on. This is a good pre-surf warm up pose as well, especially for people who have core related injuries as this turns on your core.

Thread The Needle Pose (Urdhva Mukha Pasasana)

Surfing Thread The Needle Pose

Thread The Needle Pose is a gentle pose that will help relieve a sore neck, back and shoulders. Variations of this pose can place different pressure on the opposite arm.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Surfing Locust Pose

With Locust Pose it is imporant to keep your stomach flat on the floor drawing your naval inwards. You do not push your stomach out, you pull it in to protect and strengthen your spine.

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Surfing Cow Face Pose

You may notice one side of your body is more flexible than the other when attempting Cow Face Pose. Try this pose standing first and with a rope or belt if necessary, especially if you have not tried it before. Avoid arching your back to try to make this pose. Keep your chin tucke in and neck lengthening. If you surf you will definitely feel your arms when attempting this pose.

Before a surf

Always warm up your shoulders before a surf, they will be your most important asset for longevity. In Yoga the shoulders directly relate to other parts of your body like neck, back, hips and knees. Pay attention to any pain in the arms or shoulders and consider remedial massage treatment if issues arise.

We have only started to explore Yoga postures for surfing. Bookmark this article and return as we discover more in weeks to come.

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