Editors Note: This is a guest post from Srinivas Rao of The Skool of Life...
A little over a year ago, I started a spiritual and emotional journey that I now realize will last a lifetime. For many this journey is one that will forever change who they are and the journey isn’t something they do, it’s who they are. The first wave is a rite of passage for every surfer who commits to the journey and in that moment we’re often hooked for life.
To say that my life has changed, since I started this journey would be an understatement. The health and mental benefits of surfing are so vast that the pursuit of waves can do wonders for the quality of your life. Today I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life and I can honestly attribute the largest part of that to riding waves.
Cardio: Surfing is a phenomenal cardiovascular workout. Water sports in general tend to be. You are continually paddling to catch waves and even after riding a wave you are paddling back out to what is known as the take off point. Unlike most cardiovascular workouts however, you will not feel winded because of the opportunity to rest between waves. Despite that, at the end of the work out you will be extremely hungry and sleep like a baby.
Weight Loss: I’ve never been overweight, so I may not be the authority on this. But, I have shed over 15 lbs in the course of a summer because of the amount of time I’ve spent surfing. I’ve known other surfers to shed much more significant amounts of weight.
Muscle Tone: I hate going to the gym and I hate lifting weights. For some reason I just never could get myself to do it. Amazingly, the same benefits I would get from those types of workouts I get from surfing. For me it is the right activity. If you look at any surf magazine, you’ll notice surfers tend to have really great bodies. Since it’s a low resistance work out, it’s phenomenal. Even when you fall you’re falling in water.
What might seem bizarre to many of you is that the mental benefits of surfing outweigh many of the physical benefits. I consider it one of the greatest forms of self help in my life. In fact my mood is significantly impacted by surf conditions.
Peace: The pursuit of waves is just a small part of the surfing. What most surfers are after is the what they feel like afterwards, known in our world as being “stoked.” Time in the ocean puts you in an unbelievably peaceful state of mind. I’ve found myself stuck in the worst imaginable traffic after a few hours in the water and I don’t have a care or a worry in the world and the traffic doesn’t phase me one bit. I live in Los Angeles, so that should give you some perspective in terms how much peace this brings to my life.
Presence: Eckhart Tolle said “make the now the primary focus of your life and will be completely free of pain and suffering.” In the moment of riding a wave you are more present than you are at any other moment in your life. There’s absolutely no way your mind can be anywhere else because it would be extremely dangerous for you and everybody around you. To top it off you are in such a state of bliss that there really is no place that you’d rather be.
Meditation: Surfers are often stereo-typed as potheads and stoners, but that’s not always accurate. Surfing is an incredible form of meditation because it frees you from ego and thought. You really can not think about another thing when you are in the water, which might explain why you feel the way you do when you get out of the water.
Confidence: This might be a stretch for some, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it also can do wonders for your self-confidence. You are more or less taming and riding a wild horse, and often you have no idea what the ocean will throw at you. You are in an environment that is terrifying to the average person. So you learn to keep cool and calm no matter what it throws at you. That ends up translating into other areas of your life and as a result you become more confident.
Happiness: As I mentioned above, I can’t recall a time in my life when I’ve been as happy as I have since I started this journey. In a year, I hope to travel the world and spend a full year exploring the planet in pursuit of waves.
If you live near a coastline, want to get in shape, and find pure bliss all at the same time, I encourage you to take a surf lesson. It won’t be easy at first, and you might even hate it. Go at least 10 times before you give up and it’s likely you’ll be hooked for life.Srinivas Rao is a personal development blogger at The Skool of Life where obsesses over riding waves and finding life lessons in the ocean. He’s also the host and co-founder of BlogcastFM, a podcast for bloggers.
To Srinivas for this awesome post, It really is bang in line withe Zen to Fitness philosophy and shows the power of finding a sport or activity you love…..