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Ryan Huxley provides tips to customise a yoga program for our unique individual situations and personalities.

Life can be challenging at times, and within even one day we can emotionally swing from a high to low within hours, even minutes or seconds. An example in my world would be the process of paddling out at Lennox Head on a busy day.

What ensues is usually a precarious rock entrance, a few mind blowing waves (high), the possibility of an irate local chastising a tourist or occasionally me (low), and the enjoyment of watching some of your friends score some amazing waves (definitely a high). Within a line-up like this there are subtle games of nautical chess taking place between multiple participants at every given moment. Amongst this I myself am playing the same game as I read the oceans movement, the body language and ability of those players around me in the hope that a treasure filled lump of water will find me soon. Now for many of you from more secluded shores you may be thinking why bother! In some ways I agree, and on most days prefer to find myself scouting a local back beach for a secluded bank. But when the north coast points line up you know that just one wave can become a source of nostalgic surf stoke for months, even years to come. The key for me in this situation is to bring my awareness to the following: why do I surf; what are my physical abilities; realizing that everyone is here to enjoy the same experience; and most importantly can I hold my own presence without letting ego and greed ruin mine and potentially others oceanic experience.

RELATED: Surf Fitness to Improve Your Surfing

Similarly knowing your own physical, mental and emotional characteristics become the key to completing a Yoga and surf fitness practice that benefits you, your surfing, and the people around you. Below I have included 5 key Surfbodysoul tips to get the most out of your home practice:

1. If you have injuries, see a professional. At Surfbodysoul I have recently opened up Custom Skype Consults to address just this. Certain injuries or types of surgery will mean some Yoga postures or Pilates sequences will be of great benefit, whilst others will aggravate an existing injury. Contact me at for more information on this service.

2. Know your personality: Are you the type of person who can’t sit still, have an overactive mind, and are a high achiever? If so a home practice that incorporates Pranayama (breath control) exercises and meditation may be of great benefit to your mental and physical health, whilst allowing you to still slide the way you like. Conversely if you are someone who struggles to get out of bed and exhibits sloth like behaviour, then a practice with more dynamic standing Yoga Postures and numerous Salute to the Sun sequences may be perfect to harness more life force or prana (energy) in your body. Maybe you swing between these personality characteristics and need a different program for different days of the week?

3. Combine the three key modalities of Yoga, Pilates and Surf Specific Conditioning. This is why the Surfbodysoul program range has been so successful! Yoga harnesses flexibility and elasticity in your body, Pilates creates core strength and overall stability, and surf specific conditioning directly improves your performance in the water.

4. Be realistic with the time you have to exercise. I know I have harped on this point in previous blogs but from my experience it is the single most important determinant as to whether a client completes their program regularly. Therefore if between family and work commitments you have 20 minutes rather than 60, stick with 20 minutes and maintain a sustainable surf fitness practice! If and when time allows extend your practice suitably.

5. Be disciplined and adaptable: Have a consistent time and space to complete your practice. For those of you with a regular travelling schedule adapt your program to have one for home and one for the road that you can easily complete from a hotel room or beach side car park. I do this for my pro clients all the time. Recent ones that spring to mind include a flight friendly big wave surfing program for Body Glove’s Anthony Walsh and a customized program for Patagonia’s Liz Clark for the specific dimensions of her boat swells cabin.

Ryan Huxley is the co-founder and program creator at Surfbodysoul, a website that provides safe, effective, holistic, scientific e-book exercise programs catering for surfers of all age, level and experience. Ryan is a qualified Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, Advanced Yoga and Pilates instructor. His list of pro surfing clients includes Fergal Smith, Chippa Wilson, Anthony Walsh, Paige Hareb, Emi Cataldi & Rusty Miller.

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