When the surf is flat, trade your board for a mat!

Using Yoga as a cross trainer for surfing By Sandy Beach —

Why yoga? The answer is simple…it will relax your mind, body and spirit. After all, isn’t that the ultimate goal in surfing?

Despite the fact that surfing and Yoga are just now being melded together, the two disciplines have been in existence for about the same amount of time, over two millennia. Around the same time the ancient Polynesians paddled out on long, wooden boards or Alaias, the nomadic Yogis of India were making pilgrimages to the Ganges river in India. The two intersect with each other on both spiritual and mental planes. Whereas the ancient Polynesians would cleanse their soul through riding waves and pay homage to the gods, the yogis would achieve this by bathing in the mighty Ganges river and meditating along the way. The experience or feeling of a heightened focus and presence that’s needed to ride a wave is often described by surfers as the same mystical experience that Yogi’s have talked about for thousands of years which is “a merging of the fixed sense of self with its surroundings,” or as it is known, a state of Nirvana. Surfing and Yoga can be practiced in a group of people but are equally enjoyable when done in solitude and silence. Both disciplines require strength, flexibility and balance. Surfing and Yoga attract like minded individuals, particularly lovers of nature. The two activities keep their participants not only feeling young, strong and vibrant but looking the part too.

Yoga allows us to observe and move the unseen waves of energy, or Prana within us. During surfing we feel the outside energy of the waves that we tap into during yoga. In the 1960’s, there was a popular poster of Swami Satchidananda, founder of Integral Yoga, in a full flowing white robe and white beard surfing a large wave in Hawaii which read, “You can’t stop the waves…but you can learn how to surf”. The translation in surfing terms is self explanatory but in terms of Yoga it translates to the idea that you can learn to relate to the endless waves of thought in a more free and skill full way in order to “surf” them with grace.

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