Life lessons from The Ocean & The Earth
The Yin of water and the Yang of earth
As a yoga teacher and passionate surfer, I’ve always considered surfing and yoga to go together as perfectly as Yin does with Yang. Yes, it’s true the physical compliments that they add to each other of improved flexibility, mobility and strength are synchronous. Yet ask anyone who surfs and they will tell you that this life-changing passion goes beyond mere fun fitness.
Even if they can’t quite describe it, as the true experience of riding a wave transcends words, there’s a reason why surfing can take over your life. There’s a reason why surfers continue to throw themselves into often icy cold waters at the break of dawn or constantly travel in search of that perfect wave. Surfing is a spiritual practice, just as much as it’s land-based cousin yoga, and can be equally as transformative when practised regularly.
For the best yoga poses to do for a surf warm-up click here.
Going with the flow of nature
Too often in this modern world, people disrespect nature and try to battle against the natural flow of it. They disregard the natural order of their environments and try to dominate their surroundings with misconceived ideas of human power and the importance of our ego selves. However surfing, just like yoga, looks to align you with, not against the vibrations of the world around you. One practice sees our bodies drawing on the grounding, solid and nurturing energy of Mother Earth. In the other, the grace, power and fluidity of the ocean are harnessed into our beings.
Both surf and yoga humbly unite the self with the non-self, the external with the internal environment. It’s here in these practices that we strip back dualistic thought patterns of black and white, leaving in their place feelings of connectedness, openness and being at one with the world in which we live. In a place where nothing is taken for granted and anything can occur, space is opened up for accessing pure present experience and flow.
How surf and yoga strengthen you to deal with life’s ebbs and flows
Both yoga and surfing have the capacity to arm you with tools to deal with the constant ebb and flow of life. They can strengthen you mentally and physically to life’s unsuspected challenges; the type of challenges that can suddenly rear up on the horizon, seemingly from nowhere, and rampage through your calm waters when you’re least expecting it.
Whilst we can’t always prevent the storms in our lives from coming, we can learn to ride the waves that they create. We can learn to convert challenges into times of growth and to stay present and open when playing our mental and physical edge. We can learn to accept that happiness ultimately lies in the process of letting go and going with the flow.
Use the ancient practice of The 5 Tibetan Rites as the perfect surf warm-up for your body and mind.
The right here and right now
Both the practices of yoga and surfing work with whatever conditions they are presented with on any given day, reminding us that we can only truly work out from the right here and right now. Moving meditations that fuse internal and external elements via a heightened sense of presentness, connecting every cell in our being to something much bigger than ourselves. It’s in the midst of the flow of these practices that, if only for a moment, we can experience ourselves and the universe as one.
For a deep stretch out after your surf, check out this Yin yoga practice for surfers.