|Surfers return to shore in Sayulita, Mexico.|
Surfers often reflect on their connection with the ocean, while yoga devotees try to reach nirvana, a heightened state of being. Travel companies, noting the parallels, are introducing vacation packages that combine the practices. After all, yoga can improve flexibility, balance and coordination; helpful skills on a surf board. And yogis might appreciate the awareness of nature that comes with surfing. "Yoga and surfing are a natural fit," says Peggy Hall, creator of the DVD series Yoga for Surfers. "They both are spiritual experiences that help you connect to the 'now,' the moment where life is taking place. To me, surfing is the equivalent of doing yoga in the water."
Yoga can boost concentration, essential for mastering the waves when the seas are crowded. It may also help eliminate aches and prevent injuries, Hall says. "I took up yoga to avoid shoulder surgery," she says. "Not only did my shoulder heal but my surfing improved dramatically." When evaluating retreats, ask organizers about the experience levels of their instructors, and the types of waves and weather conditions they expect. Find out the student-to-ratio before you sign on -- small groups are best. Here's a sampling of some of the yoga and surfing trips available: Liquid yoga + surf; Montauk, N.Y.: Liquid, founded by yoga-practicing surfers, will offer weekend retreats for $799 on Long Island's eastern tip this summer. They include surf and paddle board lessons, yoga classes, movie screenings, seafood feasts and drumming on the beach. Guests stay at the Crow's Nest Inn overlooking Lake Montauk, near Ditch Plains beach, the most famous surfer hangout in the Northeast. The sojourn begins on a Friday afternoon with a yoga class, followed by a dinner of lobsters and clams, and surf movies.