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Bikram Yoga for Surfers

Posted Dec 05 2012 12:00am
Courtney Dutson surfing

I love . I love . Lucky for me, the two disciplines go hand-in-hand. The physical benefits of yoga – core strength, flexibility, and balance – help to support the power and movements needed to have fun while surfing and prevent injuries. Yoga also provides benefits on the mental realm, helping one to remain focused and present while out on the water. 

I’m really excited to welcome Courtney Dutson today to talk more about yoga and surfing. Courtney has dedicated her entire adult life to health and wellness – as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and professional athlete before finding her passion of teaching Bikram yoga. She has been teaching for five years in Merritt Island, Florida just outside her home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where she surfs every day possible. Courtney shares the power of Bikram yoga to others with her blog,  Bikram Yogi Talk.


Greetings Love, Life, Surf community!  I am honored to guest-post today about Bikram yoga, which is something I am very passionate about.

I am a former professional wakeboarder who has suffered a ton of sports injuries from years of intense training.  Like many of you, I’ve been searching my whole adult life for a fitness regimen that truly delivers health and well-being, and also provides relief from my sports injuries.  I have found all that and more in Bikram yoga.   Please check out my amazing testimony of healing from Bikram yoga  if you’d like to hear more about how Bikram yoga has transformed my life.

Now I’ve “retired” from wakeboarding and surfing is my passion.   Because surfing is much easier on my body than wakeboarding ever was, Bikram yoga has become preventative sports medicine for me.  I use the yoga to maintain cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility for surfing.  Just one class of Bikram yoga gives you all of this and so much more .

yoga for surfers

You, too, can use Bikram yoga as your comprehensive fitness program, or for cross-training as an athlete.  What athlete or surfer does not want increased strength, flexibility, focus, and resilience to injury for their sport?  The answer is, we all do.

How do you use Bikram yoga for fitness and cross-training?

1. Attend class a minimum of two times per week.
There are thousands of Bikram yoga studios all around the world.  You can find the studio nearest you at the Bikram Yoga Studio Locator .  Live in a remote area?  No fear… there is also a method of home practice .  Practicing two times a week is for maintenance; real progress comes if you increase your practice to 3-6 times a week.  But the bottom line here is that some yoga–whatever amount you’re able to do–is better than no yoga and it WILL benefit you.

2. Try the right way.
This is definitely a key mantra for Bikram yoga students.  When you go to Bikram yoga, you will find the postures are taught to you verbally with clear, concise, operational command.  Your job as a yoga student is to pay as much attention to the verbal cues as possible, and follow them to a tee.  If you do this, you will be doing true, therapeutic yoga and you WILL see the results you’re looking for.  The power of true hatha yoga is in the minute details that may seem trivial to you at first, but you will understand them more as you develop as a student.

Eagle pose

Eagle pose


3. Be patient.
Often, Bikram yoga attracts very ambitious personality types who want to achieve their goals as quickly as possible.  But this expectation is not always realistic.  Remember that yoga takes time to work in your body, as any lasting, worthwhile change does.  You will start seeing some positive changes right away in the first couple months of your practice.  Celebrate these victories.  But if some changes take more time than others–months or even years.  Know that this is normal and you WILL reach your goal with consistent practice “trying the right way.”

4. If you feel you need or would like to do extra stretching, use the time after your class.
Definitely ask your instructor what poses and stretches address the areas of the body you’d like to target.  But, it is important to note that the 26 postures done on their own in Beginning class will address every part of the body, so if that is all you do, that is quite enough!

Pranayama breathing

Pranayama breathing


5. Athletes can use the Pranayama Standing Deep Breathing technique before their sport.
Once you’re familiar with the postures and breathing exercises, you can do the powerful Pranayama breathing  before your sport.  Bikram recommends athletes perform the deep breathing before any physical activity, so that the cells can get lots of oxygen for optimal performance.  I often use Pranayama and the warm-up series (Half Moon Pose, Hands to Feet Pose, Awkward Pose, Eagle Pose) before I surf (see photos).  Once you have experience with the postures, you may want to warm up this way, too.

I have so much to share with you about Bikram yoga!  If you’d like to know more, I’ve provided many links in this post that will give you more information.  You can also check out my Bikram yoga blog at . I’d love to have you visit and tell me what you think.  Here’s wishing you mounds of success, whatever your health and wellness goals may be.  Namaste :)

Do you practice yoga? How has yoga helped your athletic pursuits?



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