Riding Yoga onto the Waves

One surfer discovers just how much how yoga helps her on the waves

Give this girl a board, blow some wind in her hair and watch her come alive. Ambassador Carolyn Anne Budgell, has been an avid skateboarder, snowboarder and casual surfer since the young age of 15. Just imagine her delight when she discovered yoga and realized all the amazing ways her practice on the mat could also transform her life on her board.

From Sun Salutations to Hanging Ten
I didn’t think my board sports could get any better until I found yoga (cue the trumpets). Sparks flew in my life and athletic endeavors when I began practicing yoga regularly at 19 years old. Not only could I enjoy newfound peace amidst the turmoil of young adult angst, in my board sports I also noticed significant changes. Thanks to yoga, I developed muscle tone and balance, stiffness was reduced after hours on my board and gratitude toward the natural environment increased a thousand fold.

So when yoga/surf retreats started becoming really popular, I wasn’t all that surprised. Here is a closer look into how yoga and surfing naturally complement one another.

Yoga for Surf
Yoga helps you build a strong body. A strong body will get you up (and keep you there).

I’m going to say it: Surfing is not easy. Simple yoga poses target muscles that are engaged while you’re catching waves:

• Greet your surfing experience with a few Sun Salutations beforehand (and every day!) to lubricate and strengthen your joints, lengthen muscles and help fill your body with breath.

• Chaturanga builds strong arms for paddling and gets you ready to “pop up”.

• Cobra builds strength to keep the chest and head elevated off the board while you’re watching out for the perfect wave.

• Use a High Plank position to help you brace against gnarly oncoming waves as you’re paddling out. Hold yourself in High Plank so that the waves crash between you and the board rather than throwing you overboard.

• Warrior 2 cultivates balance and strength so you can ride your wave all the way to the shoreline.

Yoga Frees Up Tightness in the Body (Duh).
You’ve prepped your body for the various positions and the general exertion of surfing and you had an epic day in the ocean, cheering on your buddies… and you want to do it all over again tomorrow. A post-surf yoga class can release muscular tension after hours riding the waves and also help shorten recovery time between surf sessions. Neck stretches and shoulder openers will help maintain full rotation of the joints and will help prevent a stiff neck and pectorals that us casual seasonal surfers are prone to.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good unwinding yoga practice outside on the beach gazing towards the serene waves—talk about bliss.

This story originally appeared on the lululemon blog. Read more related posts: JUNA yoga: ocean inspired. forest rooted.; rad retreats around the world; how to pick a yoga retreat; meet eoin finn