It’s been said before and it will be said again—because it’s true—yoga and surfing are one of the most beautiful partnerships since the sun and the moon.
Yoga and surfing are two ancient practices—not so much practices as ways of living, ways of worshiping the natural world in our hearts and minds, ways of existing in the potency of the present moment, ways of diving into the flow of energy coursing all around us.
They both return our infatuation with a sort of primal, hard-edged affection of their own, alternately revealing to us their sublime beauty before pulling the rug out from under our feet with alarming force. There is something about this that we love.
Maybe it’s the call to attention, the awareness of the world around us and within us, every color-sound-sensation-molecule. Anything that was blurry before snaps into focus. A tug on a calf muscle, a belly full of breath, a pelican gliding low on the water.
Our body itself. The ocean itself.
We make that connection with the startling reality that we are alive and it’s a sparkling burst of discovery every time.
Then there are the revelations, the uncoiling of our tightly wound minds and bodies. As we blend ourselves into a pose or a wave, we step into freedom. We realize how much we are capable of. How much strength we can cultivate, how much bliss we can hold.
It could also be the fear, which we find both courage and humility in facing. There is always another inversion, there is always a bigger wave. Something to challenge us, something to humble us. An endless evolution, that also teaches us to let go.
Let go of perfection, let go of control.
“One of the great lessons that surfing teaches you is to be able to go with the flow smoothly and to be in the moment spontaneously… Forget about expectations or disappointment.”
~ Gerry Lopez
Flow with the tides and our bodies as they change and shift and reveal.
We as humans, forget how to do this almost immediately and have to be reminded.
I was recently trying to paddle out on a long board in big surf and could not make it out to the line-up (to my increasing frustration). After a period of being tossed and pounded and generally worked, I wiped my hair out of my face and sputtered “F*ck!” at the next coming wave. It proceeded to pitch right into my face, leaving a red mark like a b*tch-slap.
Settle down there, grasshopper. You’re along for the ride. Enjoy it! All of it.
We need to be reminded of this.
More than anything though, there’s simply the joy. We might say that we practice yoga or surf to improve our physical shape, live in the moment, face fears, be humbled, meditate, find balance or a host of other things.But when it comes down to it, we surf to surf, and we do yoga to do yoga.
Surfing and yoga offer that rare experiences: falling passionately into a love that stands the test of time. As the years pass, we continue to run to the water’s edge with giddy excitement and be stunned time and again at what unfolds within the corners of our mats.
But who could better describe the relationship between the arts of yoga and surfing than Mr. Pipeline himself?
Here’s Gerry Lopez on surf-yoga love:
Author: Chrissy Tustison
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock