Yoga and surfing appear to be vastly different disciplines. One takes place on land and the other amidst the ocean's vast expanse. One is practiced in an environment with little distractions, the other in an ever churning, ever changing sea.

At first glance these two activities have little in common, however the sheer number of people that practice both yoga and surfing forced us to explore if there’s a deeper connection between the two.

We spoke to Aleena Joshi, a yoga teacher and to surfer Preeti Rawat, co-founder at Mumbai Surf Club, to understand the common threads between these two ancient art forms.

It turns out that both practices demand similar skills, present similar challenges and cultivate similar habits.

mumbai surf club

The Importance Of Breath

In yoga, the breath is referred to as prana~yama, or life’s force.Deep, mindful breathing during asana practice helps you align your limbs, loosen your body, and maintain balance. Similarly, a surfer's breath plays a pivotal role in mastering the waves. In moments of intense paddling or catching a wave, correct breathing techniques allow surfers to conserve energy, maintain balance and stay calm as they harness the oceans infinite power. In both practices the breath acts as a link between the physical body, the mind, and the external environment.

Facing Your Fears

In yoga, challenging poses push practitioners beyond their comfort zones. As you learn to carry yourself and balance in postures that look intimidating you're encouraged to overcome physical and mental boundaries. Similarly, surfing requires facing the immense power of the ocean and conquering the fear of being pinned beneath the waves.

Both activities cultivate resilience, self-assurance, and a profound understanding that fear is a natural part of growth. Through consistent practice, wether on the surf board or on the mat, individuals learn to embrace fear as a catalyst for personal development, pushing them to meet life's challenges with courage and determination.

Cultivating Mindfullness

Yoga and surfing serve as powerful mediums to cultivate mindfulness. Yoga fosters heightened awareness of the present moment, demanding practitioners to be aware of their bodies and thoughts. Surfing is an extremely dynamic sport, that requires surfers to be completely attentive to the ever-changing ocean. Both practices teach you to let go of distractions and embrace the present moment. As you further either or both of these practices you learn the most important skill of all, appreciation for the beauty and significance of each moment.

surfing coach at mumbai surf school

Adil Damania catching waves at Mumbai Surf Club

Finding Balance 

On and off the mat, in life, in work, love, health, family, Connect with nature - being in the ocean and on the yoga mat can create a sense of oneness with the environment, fostering a greater appreciation for the natural world. Yoga and surfing offer unique paths to find balance - physical, mental & emotional. In yoga, asana practice helps develop strength in the body and equilibrium in the mind. Surfing, on the other hand, requires a harmonious connection with the ocean's rhythmic movements, and the surf board. Besides this the profound connection to nature and the meditative experience in the ocean nurture a sense of balance in the mind

Self Discovery

Yoga and surfing serve as powerful catalysts for self-discovery, facilitating a deeper understanding of oneself and our world. Through introspective practices like meditation and breath work, yoga encourages you to explore inner thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. This self-awareness helps personal growth and allows for a clearer alignment of values and aspirations. Similarly, surfing's immersive experience in nature promotes a profound connection with the elements, leading to moments of reflection and insight. Surfers are often faced with challenges that force them to test boundaries of courage and resilience. Both practices put you on a path to help you find and understand yourself.

Aleena Joshi Yoga teacher & surfer Kosha Yoga co.

Yoga teacher and part-time surfer, Aleena Joshi.

After speaking to both Aleena & Preeti it is clear that both practices are transformative journeys, that create a connection between the mind, body, and soul. Whether riding the waves or flowing through yoga postures, both practices are a form of moving meditation. 

Ultimately, the synergies between surfing and yoga showcase the beauty of the human experience, proving that the quest for balance, mindfulness, and self-discovery can take many forms, all leading to a more harmonious and fulfilling life journey. 

Trends come and go, but the committed practitioners - surfers and yogis - are firmly rooted on the board and on the mat. They know that there is an endless amount to learn and they are grateful for their practice.

If you're interested to pursue yoga or surfing we recommend checking for yoga + surf retreats with Aleena Joshi or Mumbai Surf Club










This blog was written in consultation with Aleena Joshi, a yoga teacher and to surfer Preeti Rawat, co-founder at Mumbai Surf Club

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