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Soul Surfers On the Crest of Yoga's Wave

Soul Surfers On the Crest of Yoga's Wave

Sophie Tedmanson
The Weekend Australian Feb 22–23, 2003

     They are called 'soul surfers,' preferring meditation and yoga to beer and bases — welcome to the new breed of wave riders, saluting the sun on a beach near you.
      Modern-day surfers are interested not only in catching that perfect wave but being of sound mind, body and spirit while doing it.
Pro-surfers such as Americans Michelle Ballard and Taylor Knox and Australian Tom Carroll, are advocates of combining alternative exercise with their day job, and even created a website devoted to the subject.

      Sydney yoga teacher Robert Bates, 21, surfs daily with his mate Dorje, a 30-yearold former Buddhist monk who meditates before hitting the waves at Bondi Beach, while Bates does his yoga stretches in the sand.
      Bates said the combination of his two passions helped him to be flexible enough to surf properly and be mentally focused while he's riding a wave.
      "The only thing limiting you is your mind," he said. "I've started learning how the mind works so when you take that into a big-wave situation you can concentrate. Through yoga you can breath and visualize and just be really focused."
      He said there were more people wanting to surf and tune their body either through stretches or meditation.

     One of Australia's top professional surfers, Dave Rastovich, said the international circuit was still full of stereotypical dudes who like to party, but the attitudes are shifting.
"Tom Carroll has been doing yoga for a while and he's even better now (at surfing) than before," he said. "And I'm positive that yoga has something to do with that."
     Rastovich, who lives near Byron bay on the far north coast of NSW, took up yoga six years ago and now practices before and even during a surfing session, often stretching whikle sitting on his board and waiting for a wave.
      "Surfing is a pretty intense activity for your body and I always wanted to do something to counteract surfing for hours at a time," he said. "I try to do my yoga slowly, sort of semi-meditational. It's incredible. It makes me super conscious and aware of my body in the water."

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Copyright© The Weekend Australian

Dorje, Meditating before hitting the waves at Bondi

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