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Yoga For Surfers: 6 Poses to Warm Up

Yoga For Surfers: 6 Poses to Warm Up

The sun is rising, the waves are looking more appetizing than your grandmas baked goods, and the lineup is empty. Before heading out, as with any sport, it's important to warm up your body so we've broken down our Yoga For Surfers: 6 Poses To Warm Up. The poses focus on warming up the hips, shoulders and back. If you're not a regular surfing ( 4 + times a week), then take a few extra breaths in each pose. This will help to prevent you from cramping up and will get the blood flowing to keep you in the water for longer!

Wide Legged Forward Fold

If only everything could be as easy as this pose. To start, take your stance nice and wide, about 3 times your shoulder width, maybe a little more or less depending on what it comfortable for you. Find a sweet spot where you feel a bit of a stretch, but nothing too crazy where it causes discomfort. From here, fold forward from the hips, keep the weight in the toes and let the head hang heavy and arms drop. Add a little stardust by walking your hands from one ankle to the other, back through to center and then reaching behind you. You can also bring your arms up behind you for an added stretch!

Malasana Yogi Squat

Another feel good stretch, bring the feet nice and wide on your mat and let them rest out at a 45 degree angle. Then sink the hips down for a nice deep squat. As easy as that! To hold the pose, keep the gaze forward, soften the shoulders down away from the ears, press the elbows against the thighs and hug the outer hip towards the middle.


This pose is great one for getting into the hips and is a personal favorite, because I need work on it! When you move into Skandasana you want to focus on two things, getting the back foot ( the side you are leaning towards) flat with the heel of the other foot on the mat with the toes up, getting low so that you feel the hip opening up. 70% effort here! You aren't getting ready for a long yoga flow, you are heading out to surf, so just find where it's comfortable and stay there with the option to add a bit of pulsing. Depth will depend on your own range of motion, but we are focusing on the hip, so here are a couple ways to add some sizzle to that steak:
  • Feel free to lean the torso forward as a counterweight. This will let you sink your butt closer to the sand and get deeper into the hip, you can even extend the arms out in front of you.
  • Add in a little bit of a pulse. Lifting up about an inch and then rocking on back in on the same side.  
  • Don't keep flip flopping left to right at first, spend the most time in each side on the first pose. Then you can start to alternate spending less time before the change over each time.
  • Want some bonus points? You can open up your arms like your boy is doing in the photo. It will allow you to press GENTLY against the inside of the knee to straighten up the back and get a bit of a twist, all while firing up the inside of the hip.

Again I can't stress enough, this isn't yoga for social media fame, this is to surf, so the alignment is taking a back seat for comfort of the practitioner and we are focusing on warming up.

Humble Warrior

Now this is a fun one! Humble warrior is a sweet one to wake up the legs, hips and shoulders all in one pose! Let's assume you have tight hips like yours truly, take your front foot facing straight ahead to the outside edge of your mat. Now step what would be your back foot back and then wide at a 45 degree angle. We are finding warrior 1 footing here and making sure the hips are square to the front and we feel stable in the stance. If you don't feel stable, you may want to go a little wider in your stance (wider like left to right not front to back). To get into this pose:
  • Raise your arms up over head nice and tall, making sure the hips are square and the knee is still bent in the front stacked over the ankle. Big breath in and then interlace the fingers behind the back.
  • Take the gaze up towards the sky and start bowing forward from the hips, keeping the gaze up until your shoulder meets the inside of your front legs knee.  
  • Let the head now hang heavy and see if you can raise the arms up, still interlaced towards the sky.  
  • Stay here until you feel like getting out, then take it to the other side.

Upward Facing Dog or Cobra

What's this? A choice? That's right, you get to chose your next move here. Depending on how your back is feeling today, either one of these poses will serve you well. Personally I prefer upward facing dog because I have a tighter low back and feel I get a deeper stretch. Plus with the arms extended I can add a bit of a rocking motion which helps warm things up.

Upward Facing Dog

To move into this pose, lay face down on your mat, untuck the toes and bring the ankles together best you can so they touch. Bring your arms roughly to where they would be when you pop up on your board and push through the hands, keeping your shoulders, wrist and hands aligned. Press through the top of the feet to lift the top of the legs and then pull the chest forward allowing the shoulders to drop away from the ears. Don't pulse this or you will be judged hard by the beach goers, seagulls, and mother. Instead just transfer weight from left to right arm keeping both on the mat. This will create a gentle sway to warm things up. With the exhale, come on down flat onto your mat, take a couple breaths and then do it again. To really feel the expansion try and take in a few deep breaths in to full and hold full for a few seconds. This is one of my favorite bonus point activities before going out, mentally it helps me feel better about holding my breath later in case I take a splash.


Similar to upward facing dog, start by laying face down on your mat, untuck the toes bring the hands down by your chest. Press through the top of the feet and hands to lift your torso, while keeping the legs down on the mat. Your knees ideally wouldn't be on the mat, but for a warmup it is ok if they are. Your gaze should be towards the sky so we can expand through the chest. Again, to really feel the expansion, try and take in a few deep breaths in to full and hold full for a few seconds.

And that's it! You're ready to shred! Hop on up, grab your board and let's go!

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