The Benefits of SUP Yoga

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Image via Benoit Mouren/Flickr

SUP Yoga or Paddle Boarding Yoga is one of the newer activities around that is growing rapidly. In fact many Yoga retreat destinations now include it as part of their itinerary.

Why should I try SUP Yoga?

1. Natures Calming Presence 
Floating on the calm water is incredibly tranquil and peaceful no matter where or what you are floating on. You get the sense of real tranquility, calmness and a sense of relaxation while the waves are cradling you. In a way it brings the same peace of mind that being in a yoga studio can give you except that you are out in nature.
2. Your Yoga Board is Mobile
Don’t like where you are positioned or is the sun glaring in your face? No problem! You can simply paddle to a different location. There is no “Rushing to your spot” or rolling up of mats involved.
 
3. It Increases Awareness
Being on a board in the middle of the water increases your awareness of your surroundings as well as increases your stability and balance. You may fall a time or two but just think of it as a refresher!
 
4. SUP Yoga Engages Different Muscles
SUP Yoga specifically engages your core more so than classroom yoga because you work on your balance and stability while on your board. In a way it also helps your progress through normal yoga classes because your core will be strengthened out on the water.
5. SUP Yoga goes as fast as You go!
Chances are you will not be trying difficult position if any at all while on your board for the first time and that’s okay! It takes some time to get your “sea legs” but once you put in the time and effort you will be rewarded!

How do I get started in SUP Yoga? 

Before running to your local surf shop it is best to try out a paddle board first. Chances are if you live near a body of water such as the ocean or a lake there will be a water sports rental center near you that rents paddle boards. Simply hop on and get used to the boards dynamics. Talking from experience it is best to actually try out a board on a calm day. My second ever day of paddle boarding went less than smooth when the winds and waves picked up and we were paddling against the tide. I’m still shocked that I did not fall into the drink!
Once you have got your feet wet (heh heh see what I did there?) it is strongly recommended that you should try out a SUP Yoga class and listen to some of the tips that the instructor gives you. You can usually rent boards at these classes.  After a few practice sessions then you can choose which kind of board you like! Be sure to read reviews though, because not all Paddle Boards are created equal.

SUP Yoga Poses you can Start With:

Savasana
Probably the easiest pose you can do on your Sup Yoga board. Simply lie down on your back in a “Star Fish” position and gently let your hands hang off the Paddle Board. The state of closing your eyes and letting the sun shine onto you, all while allowing your fingers to gently touch the water is about as relaxing and calming as it can get!
Child’s Pose
This pose has many benefits including being great for you digestive system, stretching your lower back as well as opens up your hips and relaxes your muscles. Simply kneel in the middle of the grip pad on the board, exhale and lay your torso between your thighs and rest your forehead on the floor. Next rest your palms and forearms on the board and deeply inhale and release the tension by exhaling.
Downward Facing Dog
One of the most famous yoga positions! Go onto the board on your hands and knees, set your knees below your hips and your hands just above your shoulders. Straighten your knees and draw your thighs back, lift your hips high and engage your quadriceps. Make sure your heels are down onto the board! You can hold this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes depending on experience level
Plank
Start off in the Downward Facing Dog before doing the Plank pose. Position your arms inwards, and lay your palms flat against the board. Move forwards and allows your body to be parallel against the board, place your shoulders back and engage your lower belly and hold it anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Return to Downwards facing dog
Low Lunge 
Once you feel stable on your board, place one foot in front of the other and bend the knee of your other foot so that you are kneeling on one leg while having your other foot firmly planted on the paddle board. Once comfortably balanced keep your back straight and keep your hands raised in the air.
SUP Yoga has a wide array of benefits to the body and mind including increased strength, stability, mental focus and a sense of calming. So why not try it out and see if it’s for you?”

Derek is an avid Kayaker and Paddle boarder that likes to explore the water ways of Vancouver and British Columbia! When he is not on the water he is contributing to his review and informal website FloatingAuthority.com. Some of his other interests include Business, Ice Hockey and Motorsports.

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