Yoga for Surfers: Best 7 Yoga Exercises

Do you want to improve your surf skills? Start with these Yoga for Surfers poses! And stop thinking that you’re not flexible enough. Even if you can’t reach your toes, you can still do yoga. Do it to increase your flexibility, your strength, and endurance. Not only physically, but also mentally. Overcome your anxiety in (and out) the water by learning how to control your breath.

Enjoy these yoga for surfers poses. Practice and all will come.

Yoga for Surfers: Strengthening Exercises

1. Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to Dolphin Pose (Forearm Adho Mukha Svanasana)

yoga for surfers down dog

This pose will increase your upper body strength, necessary for pop-ups (taking off on the wave) and paddling.


  • Strengthens the upper body
  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders
  • Lengthens hamstrings and calves
  • Calms the nervous system


Sore wrists, high blood pressure, shoulder injuries.

How to:

  • Start in down dog, spread your fingers wide and firmly press your fingertips onto the ground (do this every time you’re in a weight-bearing pose – to protect your wrists)
  • Turn your elbow creases relatively forward so you externally rotate your shoulders —> shoulder blades move away from each other and down to your ribcage
  • Activate your Mula bandha (pelvic floor muscles), squeeze your buttocks together, reach your tailbone high and straighten your spine.
  • Inhale here
  • Exhale, bring both elbows to the floor at the same time for Dolphin Pose
  • Keep your elbows at shoulder-width distance
  • Inhale, lift both elbows up at the same time for Down Dog
  • Repeat.

2. Yoga for Surfers: Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

A strong pose, this will help you to strengthen your core power, upper body strength, and buttocks. And it increases your balance.


  • Strengthens the shoulders and back muscles
  • Lengthens hamstrings
  • Increases balance
  • Strengthens core


Sore ankles, high blood pressure, shoulder injuries (keep your hands in front of your heart if it’s too hard on the shoulders).

How to:

  • Stand on your feet on the mat in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Inhale, reach your hands up, and exhale bring your hands in prayer position in front of your heart
  • Inhale here, ground your left foot down and then exhale, lift up your right leg behind you, keeping your leg active and engaged
  • Bring your chest towards the floor at the same time, trying to bring it parallel to the floor
  • Try to keep your hips parallel to the floor as well. You can do this by trying to lift up your left hip (which is impossible, but it makes your hips more square to the floor)
  • Keep your standing leg strong, lift up your left kneecap, activating your quad
  • Draw your navel in, keeping a strong core
  • Breathe here 5 breaths
  • Option to bring your hands sideways or in front of you for full Warrior III
  • Repeat on the other side.

3. Eight-angle Pose (Astavakrasana)

Okay, this pose seems very hard, but it’s actually quite easy! Just give it a try, practice and see where you can go. You’ll strengthen your core along the way.


This pose will strengthen your paddle muscles even further. Surfing consists of ninety-five percent (more or less) of paddling, so do what you can to keep those lats strong!

  • Strengthens lattisimus dorsi (big paddle muscles)
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Strengthens core


Sore wrists, shoulder injuries

How to:

  • Sit on the mat with your knees bent
  • Place your right leg over your shoulder or upper arm so your shoulder is more or less under your knee (you can keep your leg bent)
  • Keep pressing your leg on your upper arm, activating your core
  • Plant your hands in front of you, fingers wide
  • Hook your left foot under your right foot
  • Your right arm is in between your legs (left leg in front of arm, right leg back)
  • Lean forward to move your shoulders directly over your wrists
  • Use your core to keep your body as compact as possible
  • Keep your fingertips pressed down into the floor
  • Lean forward, lift up your hips and try to find balance
  • Use a pillow under your head if you’re afraid to fall
  • Repeat.

Yoga for Surfers: Stretching Exercises

1. Gate pose (Parighasana)


This pose feels amazing after a long surf session.

  • Stretches the lats/lattisimus dorsi/paddle muscles!
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Opens the shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs


Knee injuries, use a double mat or use a chair.

How to:

  • Sit on your knees on the floor
  • Stretch your right leg out to the right
  • Toes are in the same line as your knees
  • Keep your kneecap lifted up so you activate your leg and protect your knee joint
  • Left knee is directly below your left hip
  • Inhale arms up
  • Exhale arms on shoulder height, palms facing down
  • Inhale reach to the right
  • Exhale placing your right hand lightly on your right shin, ankle or floor
  • Inhale left hand up and reach sideways to the right
  • Open your left chest up to the sky
  • Look at your extended hand
  • Stay here for 5 breaths or more
  • Do the other side.

2. Balancing opposite arm/leg


This is actually a stretch and a strengthener in one.

  • Stretches the lattisimus dorsi
  • Strengthens core
  • Increases balance


  • Knee injuries, use a blanket under the knees!

How to:

  • Come onto all fours on the mat
  • Inhale, lift up your right leg to hip high
  • Exhale here, and then inhale, walk your left hand forward and lift up your left arm to shoulder high
  • Breathe here, inhale into the spine, exhale stretching your hand forward and your toes back, creating length in the spine and space in the lats
  • Stay here for 5 breaths or more
  • Repeat on the other side.

3. Camel pose (Ustrasana)


Camel pose is great to open up your shoulders and chest/heart.

  • Opens shoulders and chest
  • Strengthens back
  • Opens quads (front thighs)
  • Changes your response to stress


  • Sore back, knee injuries, sciatica, sacroiliac issues

How to:

  • Come into a kneeling position on a mat, roll up the mat if that feels better on the knees
  • Keep your hips directly above your knees
  • Lengthen your tailbone down
  • Internally rotate your thighs but don’t squeeze your buttocks
  • Lift up your sternum/chest toward the sky
  • Relax your face, neck, throat, and shoulders
  • Lift up your pelvic floor muscles to activate the core
  • Keep your chin tucked and your core activated as you drop your hands down toward your heels
  • Keep pressing your pubic bone forward to keep your tailbone long
  • There should be no pinching pain in your lower back!
  • Focus on keeping your breath smooth and easy (if it’s not, take a step back).

By trying to keep your breath smooth and easy in challenging positions like this one, you will cultivate a clear, calm mind. This will make you better able to deal with stressful situations on and off the mat.

Yoga for Surfers: Breathing Exercises

Belly Breathing Exercise

You know that feeling when there’s a big set coming? Your breath goes wild, you breathe high up into your chest, maybe even your throat. Your heart starts racing. And if it’s a really big wave, you might even start to panic a bit, not able to think clearly or feel in control of your own body.

One way to deal with this is to first get in the water more. Get used to bigger waves. Until you do though, try this little breathing exercise to help you calm down and get you clear-minded again.

  • Sit in a crossed leg position or on a chair, with a straight spine. Or, lie down on your back if that’s more comfortable
  • Notice where your body connects to the floor
  • Relax and soften your face, neck, throat, and shoulders
  • Feel your upper body move up and down on the rhythm of your breath
  • Notice your belly expanding on the inhale, and contracting on the exhale
  • Just relax here and keep breathing without trying to change your breath
  • Now, place your right hand on the middle of your belly and your left hand on your chest
  • Try to start your inhalation from the belly, feeling your right hand move
  • Take your inhalation up to your ribcage and chest, feeling the left hand move
  • Exhale from the chest and ribcage down to the belly
  • Keep breathing here, taking your mind on the inhalation from the belly up to the ribcage and chest
  • And on the exhale, take your mind from the chest and ribcage to the belly
  • You can count your breath up to 4 on both the inhale and the exhale, maybe even a little longer on the exhale (5 or 6), to calm down your nervous system even more.

Now, when you are in the water, or even on land in a certain situation, whenever you feel you’re panicking or your breath becomes shallow and high up in your chest, PRACTICE BELLY BREATHING. Focus on letting the breath start from the belly up, and exhale completely.

This breathing exercise will help you stay calm both in and out of the water.

PS If you like to dive deeper into breathwork or mindfulness, be sure to check out my post about Mindfulness + 10 Easy Exercises or check out my current yoga schedule here.