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We are here to help you feel great and get the most out of your trip with us – on and off the board, on and off the mat, and beyond.  But hey - this is real life! So even though we may not always be able to jump in the water every day, there are some simple yogic practices you can do to help prepare body & mind for surfing.

Yoga & Surfing – the perfect match

At Soul & Surf, we believe that these mindful and empowering practices go hand in hand to support our individual joy and communal wellbeing.

They improve our autonomy by increasing self confidence and boosting physical health through activity. Both surf and yoga highly value connecting to nature, whether that’s the waves of the ocean or the waves of our breath – did you know that half of the oxygen we breathe comes from the phytoplankton in the oceans? That’s one out of every two breaths.

(You can learn more about these ever-evolving topics in our on-site blue health chats, group and 1 – 1 yoga classes.)


On a physical level surfing requires strength, mobility and stamina. It also asks us to be patient and to focus – after all you can only surf when there are waves.

Yoga helps develop these qualities, gives us the ability to react with calm – and spontaneity – to a constantly changing environment. When we can tap into that energy we can access a flow state similar to meditation, allowing us increased clarity, focus and contentment.

So whether you’re a complete beginner who is keen to try something new, an experienced yogi wanting to grow your practice – or you just need a good ol’ stretch after a big day paddling and popping – our guides and teachers are here to support you.


Before you get to us – prepare for your surf trip

To give you a little extra inspiration, here are four basic postures that can help you stay nice and mobile for surfing. Or after surfing. Or on the beach. You can even do these on your bed at the end of a full day – whatever works.


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Simple reclined twist


1. Simple Reclined Twist.

This restful posture opens the chest, twists the spine and stretches the lower back and hips, making us all lovely and supple. The spine loves to twist, it keeps it healthy, mobile and young.

How:

  • Lie on your back.
  • Hug your knees into your chest.
  • Send both legs over to the right side and let the left knee rest on top of the right. You can always bring a pillow under or in between your knees for extra support.
  • Open your arms wide (in line with your shoulders) so the chest is facing upwards.
  • Inhale gently and try to fill your torso softly from your belly towards your chest. Exhale and release the weight of your body towards the ground.
  • Stay for as long as you like, and then repeat on the other side.

2. Cat/Cow Movements

As we move between the two postures of cat and cow, we create more mobility through the spine, relieving stiffness and increasing range of motion. This exercise is great for any time of day, and can be particularly helpful in the morning when we are feeling a bit stiff – great for waking up the spine.

How:

  • Start on your hands and knees - hands spread wide under shoulders and knees under the hips. Fold a towel or blanket under your knees if they are sensitive.
  • Connect to your inhales and exhales
  • Start to wiggle around a little bit, moving the body naturally, loosening up your hips and spine – checking in with how your whole body feels.
  • Breathe in – dip your belly toward the ground, arching the back, then gently shrug the shoulders away from the ears and look up. Breathe out – round your back towards the sky and relax the chin towards the chest, stretching the back of the neck.
  • Continue like this, connecting movement and breath for as long as it feels good. 

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Cat / Cow


Photography by @jamiemitchell | @joeliooo | @katiearaephoto


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Melting heart


3. Melting Heart Pose

This posture is a right tonic after a surf as it stretches the front and back of the torso, shoulders, chest and arms all at once. You can move into it from Cat/Cow.

How:

  • Come into an all fours, or tabletop, position (you’ll already be there if you’ve just done Cat/Cow).
  • Stack your knees under your hips but walk your hands forwards – you want your arms to be fully stretched out.
  • Keep a bit of pressure in your hands and spread them into the floor, actively connecting them to the ground so a bit of energy flows up into your arms.
  • Let your chest sink towards the ground.
  • See if you can relax around your upper back area, especially in between your shoulder blades.
  • Focus on the movement of the breath, and soften any tension around shoulders and upper back on the exhale.

4. Pigeon Position

A yoga classic. This shape stretches the hip flexors & deep gluteal muscles, plus works the muscles of the groin, back, thigh, and piriformis. It releases tightness in the lower back area and helps improve mobility in the hips.

Even though this posture can feel really intense - give it time to work and don’t forget to breathe!

*This deep position may not be suitable for you if you have injuries to the psoas muscle, knees or any historical labral tears in the hip joint, so go easy and perhaps look to modify by lying on the back, and crossing one ankle over the opposite knee in a piriformis/figure four stretch.

How:

  • From all fours slide your right knee toward the outer right wrist, so your knee points slightly out and your heel is closer to your hips.
  • Bring your right foot towards the back of your left wrist, so your shin is towards the front of the mat (at most parallel).
  • Wiggle your left leg further back and stretch it out behind you.
  • Ease your hips towards the ground – pop a pillow under your hips for comfort if you like – to feel a stretch in your outer right hip.
  • Breathe slowly and gently throughout to calm any thoughts and feelings that start to come up. Stay for as long as is comfortable - you don’t want to feel any pain here, so back off if you need to.
  • To come out, place the weight into your hands, and either roll over to one side, or step back to downward dog to neutralise the hips. You might feel stiff, so no rush to exit the position!
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Pigeon


A Simple Breathing Technique

Our breath is a bridge between the body and mind- it helps us increase our proprioception (our ability to feel what is happening with our body & limbs), notice thought patterns – and calm a jumpy nervous system. Here is a super simple breathing practice you can do anytime, anywhere to help you feel more centred and relaxed.

  • We find a rhythmic and equal breath. This means that the length and feeling of effort and movement of the inhale and exhale is balanced or becomes the same. For example: if you breathe in for 3 counts you would also breathe out for 3 counts. Or 4 in, 4 out etc.
  • As we breathe like this, we try to guide or initiate the breath from lower down in the body, noticing the movement of the diaphragm around the lower ribs and belly.
  • To help keep the count slow and steady, let’s put the word ‘wave’ between each count. Inhaling: wave 1, wave 2, wave 3, wave 4 – pause gently with the breath inside. Exhaling: wave 4, wave 3, wave 2, wave 1 – pause gently with the breath outside.
  • Do this for at least 10 rounds or as long as you feel.

Resources

Web:

Books:

Teachers we love (and their instagram handles):

@annikenflows
@pema_aglossi
@saltwater.yoga
@bessiebang
@space.srilanka
@jason_crandell
@poojarpunjabi
@ecoyogasurf
@piproberts_


Check out our At Home video library for more yogic practices you can do before or after your stay with us - plus check out this dynamic sequence to help hone your surf popups>>

Learn more about our Yoga ethos, style, and why it's so important to us


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