By Evandro Muñoz.
In 2003 I was suffering from really bad lower back pain. When I asked my doctor what I could do about it, he suggested I changed my lifestyle and stopped surfing and exercising so much. He said that if I continued down that path I would need surgery very soon. It was a big slap in my face and a wake-up call that made me realise I needed to find a way to take better care of myself.
I started doing research on stretching, and after a chat with a friend I decided to give yoga a try. At that point I didn’t believe it would give great results, but two weeks after starting yoga classes I could already feel a massive change and I started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! The pain went away really quickly, it was unbelievable.
The magic started operating in my surfing too. Through yoga I improved my flexibility, balance, speed, coordination, concentration and confidence in big waves. I started completing manœuvres I was incapable of doing before and this made me incredibly happy.
The more I practiced yoga, the better I felt in and outside the water: calmer, more focussed, more structured not only in my surfing but also in my daily life.
A while later, I decided to go and spend a couple of months in Hawaii. Yoga played a big part in my physical and mental preparation before and during the trip. I surfed and wiped out in Pipeline, Waimea, Sunset and several other spots on solid swell days, and thanks to the self-confidence and focus I had acquired through yoga, everything came out just fine! I found myself surfing heavy waves I never thought I would have been capable of surfing before.
When I returned to Lanzarote I was able to take on larger, trickier waves in a much calmer way, and I truly made the most of the amazing waves we have here – Lanzarote is not called the “European Hawaii” for no reason! Of course I also went back to yoga classes straight away, and since then I have been practicing several times a week.
Yoga brings me a lot of physical and mental well-being. It improves every single aspect of my surfing and of my life. I am not the only one to have understood this: nowadays all professional surfers practice yoga as part of their fitness and psychological preparation. Ask Kelly Slater how he manages to continue shining in the top-3 of the world’s elite of surfing at age 42!