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Do you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery, practice yoga, and have a challenging workout? Your answer should be yes, and my answer is that you need to try Paddle Board Yoga! There is a growing community of SUP Yoga enthusiasts and classes available. Ditch your Saturday morning run and opt for a Paddle Board Yoga class instead! Not only will you get one of your best and most unique workouts ever, but you’ll also get to enjoy the great outdoors and relax.
What is Paddle Board Yoga?
Paddle Board Yoga (or SUP Yoga) is yoga completed on a Stand Up Paddle Board. A Stand Up Paddle Board (or SUP) is a board that is specifically made for aquatic use that looks very similar to a surfboard. These boards can be solid or inflatable, with many yogis turning to inflatable boards due to their compact size when deflated and ease of transportation. Be sure to check out the best paddle boards for yoga before starting.
Benefits of Paddle Board Yoga
According to Marisa Frazier, a Paddle Board Yoga instructor, “Yoga on the water offers opportunities that a land-based practice doesn’t. Studies even show that being around water can positively impact mood, giving you a sense of peace and rejuvenation.” The benefits alone should make you want to try out SUP Yoga ASAP:
- Improved balance
- Improved core strength
- Improved breath control
- Refines techniques
- Promotes mindfulness and relaxation
- Activates new muscles
- It’s fun!
Tips for SUP Yoga
Start Slow and Stay Under Control
Even for experienced yogis, a paddle board can completely change the landscape. It is always best to start by slowly getting used to the board. Practice getting on and off the board multiple times, and once firmly on the board, practice your balance and breathing before trying any new poses.
Control your Breathing
Breathing is an essential part of landlocked yoga, and is an even more essential part of paddle board yoga. The traditional yoga practices will be more difficult and will require steady breathing and concentration to be successful. Practice your breathing prior to poses, and understand that this is a new situation that may cause stress. Let your breathing center you. And, as always, ask your instructor (or a friend!) if you need help controlling your breathing.
Hold your Gaze on the Horizon
SUP Yoga requires balance and concentration. The best way to adapt to the board is to practice balancing prior to any poses, and picking a vantage point once the class begins. Luckily, you will have a plethora of beautiful options to choose from once on the water. Choose something to focus on during your poses and you will have an easier time balancing throughout the class.
The Best Stand up Paddle Board Yoga Poses
As Maritza Frasier states about SUP Yoga, “It encourages a beginner’s mindset and allows you to see each pose in a new way. Even if you’ve practiced downward dog a thousand times, on a board you may begin to notice subtle shifting within your body that you didn’t before”.
While you might be seasoned in yoga practice, it is best to start with the simpler poses on your stand up paddle board. Once you have more practice, you can move forward to the more difficult poses. Peruse the poses below to practice before out on the water.
Child’s pose is a simple yoga pose that is typically used in between other poses to promote rest. To complete this pose, start on your hands and knees, with your knees hip’s length apart, and then rest your buttocks back onto your heels. Come forward, allowing your torso to rest between your thighs and your forehead to touch the floor and your arms to extend on the floor in front of your head.
Downward Dog is one of the most widely recognized yoga poses. To complete this pose, come on to your hands and knees, placing your knees hip’s width apart. Then, lift your knees away from the floor and slowly extend your arms and legs until your arms and legs are completely extended, but not locked. Your hands and feet should be completely flat against the floor, thus making an upside-down V shape with your body.
The Cobra pose is great for stretching your entire body while also practicing breathing. Lie on the floor on your stomach, making sure the tops of your feet are flat on the floor. Then, place your hands face down on the floor next to your chest and push up. Your legs and lower torso should be on the floor, while your upper torso and chest should be lifted and facing forward.
Many of us are familiar with using the plank during a core workout. To complete the Plank, get in a push-up position with your hands placed flat on the floor, your arms completely extended, and your feet hip’s width apart. Make sure you create a straight line from your neck to your toes.
The Bridge pose is great for stretching your hips, or for trying to center after a long day. Lie flat on the floor with your arms at your sides. Then, bring your feet directly below your knees hip’s width apart. Lift the rest of your torso toward the sky, but keep your head and shoulders planted on the floor. Bring your hands together underneath your back.
Even people who don’t practice yoga might be familiar with the Lunge. Start in Downward-Facing Dog, then step your right foot in between your hands. Raise your torso upright by aligning your right knee directly over your heel and keeping your left leg in a line down towards your left foot. Then raise your arms upright, keeping them shoulder’s width apart.
A Self Guided Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Video
Yoga and Paddling Boarding, it doesn’t get much better than that. Check out the best SUP boards for Yoga to get the most out of your Yoga Sessions.
As stated above, there are many facets to SUP Yoga. It is not just a trendy exercise regime floating around social media. There are serious benefits for everyone, not just the seasoned yogi. As Marisa Frazier states, “There’s something for everyone! No advanced yoga training required. If you can breathe, you can do yoga… and if you can stand on one foot, you can stand on a paddle board!” Even if you have never done yoga before, or you have practiced it for years, now is the time to take to the waters and try out SUP Yoga!