For me the ocean and riding a wave fully rivals the pleasure I derive from yoga. In fact riding a perfect wave perfectly perhaps exceeds yoga 🙂 Paddling out on a glassy ocean, light on the water, reflecting the sky, is a liquid, dream version of meditation, so powerful.
If you live in Muizenberg, love the sea, and work for yourself, you are, kind of, in heaven. “Kind of”, as the wind blows here, a lot, but that is another story. If you also happen to be a yoga teacher, the perfection is more complete, as the yoga studio space doubles up as retreat from the often harsh elements, and a place to train for better weather days. Summer Season 2015/6 yoga classes at African Soul Surfer.
Do yoga and surf better
Yoga is renowned for developing flexibility, strength and balance. Such combination of qualities improve performance in any sport or activity. As such it is useful, even vital, for surfers. And the vibe of surfing, particularly if you are of the philosophical kind, is just a great compliment to yoga. A simple, brief routine of yoga poses practiced effectively also provides protection from injuries, and speeds up recovery time after exertion. And yoga will help one surf well into old age, with much greater ease.
“Yoga for Surfers” has become massively popular the world over. And not only for the competitive edge or other advantages it offers. “Surf Yoga” retreats and holidays are on offer in all the major paradise destinations, from Bali to Ecuador, Mozambique to… not so much yet in Cape Town. Surf tourists to Muizenberg can do well to change that, and many indeed do drop in on a yoga class or 10 when visiting.
Why top surfers do yoga
Yoga and surfing share similar skill sets. And yoga can cultivate exactly what the surfer needs to surf better, more and for a longer time. Top surfers around the world (and top rock climbers, golfers, cricketers, golfer’s etc.) now all look to yoga for superior results. If you’re serious about surfing competitively, see why Greg Long, Tom Curren and Kelly Slater, among others, all brought yoga into their lives. To this day, these ageing surfers remain among the most fit, supple and youthful adherents of the sport. Gerry Lopez as been doing yoga for over 2 decades. Surfing has much in common with yoga – see Gerry’s observations: Save your surfing.
The necessity of doing yoga, on any level, for all levels of surfing should not be underestimated. Basic hatha yoga, simple all rounder yoga practice is excellent for everyday surfing and casual surfers. This article includes an inspiring paragraph on S.A. free style diver Hanli Prinsloo and yogic breathing. For reference, check out The new wave for surfers.
Yoga for Surfers at Muizenberg
I made the poster below in 2014, to promote a “Yoga for Surfers” class at my studio. A few surfers did show up, but I never managed to successfully promote the dedicated session amongst the surfer community. Of course the time slot, on a Saturday morning, is right in the middle or beginning of most weekend surf outing. The original surf class is now, like my other classes. a mixed level, mixed demographic class. Fortunately any properly executed stretch and breathing routine is of benefit to the surfer, so there is no need for surfers to attend a surf yoga specific class. In fact most slightly older, casual surfers that I know, or have worked with, are actually too tight or stiff to easily do basic yoga, let alone manage the higher performance yoga that surfers like Kelly and Tom Curren is doing. But that too, is another story for another time 🙂
About my “Surf better, do yoga” practice
Learn yoga at my Muizenberg studio, on Beach Road near Surfer’s Corner. Yoga training helps surfers improve current performance levels and maintain the level in years to come. Develop a greater understanding of how to warm up the body, be more flexible, and breathe more effectively. A quality best described as “agile”. Boost your strength and endurance. After acquiring yoga skills only a few minutes of a regular at home or on the beach yoga routine will make a massive difference to body and mind. Yoga – just one discipline, includes all body mind requirements:
● Develop core strength, flexibility, breathing techniques and warm-up practices
● Prevent injuries
● Yoga assists with healing of chronic injuries
● Add endurance for longer sessions
● Keep on surfing for decades to come
● Yoga also helps speedy recovery from fatigue.
● Remain calm and focussed under duress
The Sun Salute yoga sequence in video (learn it here) below devlops agility: flexibility and strength. I filmed it on Muizenberg beach in front of the studio.
Stream my Yoga Music Album Bliss with featured track “Eastern Sun” from the video
Don’t look for excuses, just do it!
● No yoga experience required
● All ages welcome
● Your inflexibility is the best reason to begin with yoga, and not an excuse to avoid it
● A single session will give you an edge
Yoga, Surf, Sea & me
The sea and stretch, the ocean air and breathing deep, moving in yoga and meditation, at once quietens, and excites, my heart.
For me the greatest benefit of my seaside yoga studio is that I can often manage a swim, or occasional surf right before yoga class. Oceanic energy, liquid prana, the salt sea water; swimming in the sea cleanses the aura, forces one into the present, and the cold water here stimulates release of the inner mechanisms of metabolic warmth generation. An incredible, indescribable sense of
wholeness and energy fills me when I swim or surf, especially at sunrise. Following through with teaching a yoga class is simply awesome.
Johann Kotze Music & Yoga,
Muizenberg, Cape Town