Yoga for Surfers
by Eoin Finn
Fluidity, balance, grace, power, calmness in the face of a challenge—all
integral parts of both surfing and yoga. More and more surfers are discovering
the power of yoga to enhance their surfing ability.
One of the main places that we can loose our flexibility quickly is
in the shoulders. Doing the following 10 minutes of shoulder openers
can not only increase your paddling power, but also extend the lease
on your body. Enjoy.
Two arm front body stretch:
- Hold a towel, or a strap, or a t-shirt with both arms. Choose
a width that is comfortable.
- Slowly draw the towel over your head, so the arms are behind your
- The body will want to find the path of least resistance by tilting
the rib cage backwards. This is because the pecs attach to the
muscles that attach from the pelvis to the rib cage to bring your front
ribs down in the direction of your pelvis. In other words, don’t
arch your back.
Breathe deeply for one minute.
- Bring the left arm across the body and reach the left arm to the
- Bend the right arm and press the inner right arm (elbow crease)
into the left elbow.
- Reach the right arm towards the right ear
- Straighten through the left arm and slightly press it against
the right arm.
- Make the arm as long as possible by subtly moving it in two
Breathe into this one for 45 seconds on the each side.
Half Moon—side stretch.
This stretches the side of the body especially the oblique muscles
(which help you twist in surfing), the lats and seratus anterior muscles
(which help generate
the pulling power when you paddle)
- Press both feet down the ground, spread through the toes to really
root the feet.
- Let the right hand hold the left wrist.
- On an inhalation, reach upwards first through the hands in order
to get the body and spine as long as possible.
- Exhale, reach the arms to the right as you press the hips left
. Look up and under the left biceps muscle
- Don’t “shrug” your shoulders. As you reach through
the arms, draw the shoulder blades down the back so you do not create
in the traps.
- Stay aligned. The right shoulder rolls under, the left shoulder
rolls back. The Right side of the pelvis presses forward and the arms
behind you slightly.
Relax and breathe for one minute and repeat on the next side.
Stretches deltoids, triceps and chest.
- Draw the left hand behind the back towards the shoulder blade.
Palm faces out.
- Reach the right hand skyward and turn the palm towards you.
- Bend the right arm and clasp hands. Clasping hands may not happen
if you have logged up a lot of paddling hours in your life, so
if you need to, hold a towel with your right hand, dangle it towards
hand and then clasp. Don’t worry, your body will open more
- Lift (press) the right elbow up and again take any excess arching
out of the lower back by bring the lower front ribs towards the
upper front pelvis.
Tofino yoga for surfers sequence, a ten minute shoulder opening routine for better paddling ability while surfing in Tofino.