When we’re asked to imagine the most mindful exercise, surfing probably doesn’t come to mind immediately. But after much research, we find it has the essence of mindfulness itself; just like yoga, surfing takes a lot of strength and technique, as well as self-reflection. If you’re looking for something new to do that also happens to be a well-rounded form of exercise, you may want to keep surfing on your list. Here are five reasons surfing feeds your mind, body, and soul:
Balancing on a surfboard takes some serious core strength. You need balance, rhythm, and strength—so it’s safe to say that surfing takes some impressive skills. So much so, it’s now become a brand-new addition to the Olympic Games: The International Olympic Committee officially acknowledged surfing as an Olympic sport in 2016, with its launch in the next Olympics.
Connect with Nature
Now here’s obvious: as you surf, you’re quite literally in the ocean. And you’ll be close to other sea creatures; you’ll see fish, dolphins, etc.—you’re extraordinarily communicating with nature.
It Can Be Meditative
Being in the moment has a meditative effect of being. If you’re a beginner, your thoughts will most likely focus on maintaining balance while avoiding salty seawater. But as you progress, you’ll be able to clear your mind and trust your body’s intuition. You’ll gradually become tuned into the natural movement of the wave. Once you’re moving, adapting, and flowing with the water around you, so that’s pretty mindful. On a similar note, merely being out in the ocean can help you self-reflect and realize just how small you are. The ocean is vast and powerful, and it allows you to zoom out a bit, clear your head, and live in the present as you catch waves.
It Can Enhance Sustainability
So this may be obvious, but surfers need the ocean to surf. And if there are enough people interested in riding waves, there will be enough demand to keep those—shall we say—arenas in a good state. This means that surfers don’t want to be in polluted, plastic-ridden water. As more and more people become interested in the sport, hopefully, more clean water restrictions may follow suit.
It Fosters Community
Like any sport, surfing provides a community of passionate, valuable players. Just as yoga participants might share the same values as their fellow yogis, surfers follow that same flow. Surfing is an entirely free resource with an array of benefits—physical, mental, and social. So let’s keep surfing in front of the mind.