Surfing and yoga share many similarities that lend to improving the quality of our lives. We’re etched in a world of hurry, instant gratification, and anxiety reigns as the day is long. If we squandered the opportunity to steward the quarantine efficiently, it’s quite okay. As life resumes to a new normal, we have a second chance. Perhaps it’s now we find the time to implement habits that heal and invest our energy in practices that shape wholeness back into our days.
Breathe and Relax
If you’ve ever taken a fall on a drop that looked like a better idea before the gravy sandwich, you’d know that relaxation is like a heavy-metal jacket for every surfer who looks to harness the power of the wild sea. In yoga, this tenant begins with breathing. Deep breaths in through the nose, dispersed to the lungs, then out through the mouth. Effective breathing turns off the panic, clears the mind, and allows the body to rest in an ideal state of calm.
Save for a channel to sneak away from the wrath of pile-driving sets or a personal jet-ski, breathing and relaxation must accompany every surfer looking to ride waves consistently.
Long Time Dark Arts friend & San Diego yoga instructor Alexis Archibald
Flexibility, in one way, can be described as a lack of tension. Bodily, emotionally, or mentally. Surfers often find this release in the ocean, riding waves. It’s an avenue to relieve stress. But what if this familiar friend is missing, perhaps because of a global pandemic? Or our time in the water mounts to little help in dealing with life’s monsters? Yoga understands flexibility as a state of being more than a bodily attribute. We get lazy, restricted, confined in our joints, and limited in movement. This bleeds into our minds and emotions, and then we are living with tension. Stretching, meditatively, is yoga’s response to initiate the supple flow of life again.
Finally, surfing and yoga have everything to do with being wholly immersed in the present moment. The clutter and worry of the past and future fade as one is committed to the now. The primordial focus that these practices require allows the mind to be carried to the experience of merely being, far from any doing. Here we are refreshed, reminded that we are vitally connected through and through.
Yogi and surfer, Kristyan Stjerne reminded us that the the word yoga translates as "union". That in yoga and surfing, this connection is rooted in nature with an internalized experience.
While our time has slowed, our days tarry with uncertainty, fear, and what next. We owe it to ourselves, our families, and friends, to breathe and relax, to free ourselves from tension, and to stay utterly connected to the present moment.