Whether you’re a SUP enthusiast or a dedicated land yogi, there’s a way to take your workout to the next level: SUP yoga!
In this post, we’ll give you an overview of everything you need to know about SUP yoga, including necessary equipment, health benefits, and even some poses you could try. Let’s go!
What is SUP yoga
A hybrid of two much-loved sports, stand up paddle boarding and yoga are fused together to create a workout that will truly enrich your time. While it will undoubtedly seem more difficult than land yoga at first, and you may have to improve your balance even more from regular stand up paddle boarding, this tranquil and gentle workout will help you to appreciate the great outdoors.
It is a good idea to master the basics of one or the other (or both) before you start. Once you start to enjoy SUP yoga, there’ll be no other sport that matches it!
What you need for SUP yoga
This one might seem obvious, and that’s because it is. SUP yoga with a paddle board would either be on land, or you’d sink. You don’t need a specialised yoga SUP per se, but you may need to make adjustments to an existing board to make it work for you. Most boards are appropriate for yoga, but the best option is an iSUP. They can float higher on the water which means more stability when you’re practising your routine.
Along with the board, you’ll need a paddle. An adjustable one is best, though that’s not nearly as integral as it is in regular SUP. Your paddle can actually get in the way when performing yoga poses, so see if your board has a special paddle holder. If not, you may be able to store the paddle in your board’s bungees. If that’s a no go too, then just wrap your leash around it so that it can float alongside or behind you.
Though it may not seem that way, this is just as important as your board and paddle. A personal floatation device will help you stay afloat should you fall off your board. For the least intrusive option, look for a compact PFD which will fit around your waist.
Anchors and tethers do exactly what they say on the tin… or box. It’s not a necessity to use one of these, but it can make your SUP session a whole lot easier. It’s easy to be distracted if you’re floating during your yoga session, and it can sometimes be dangerous. Not to mention annoying if you’re part of a class and you invade other people’s space!
Health Benefits of SUP yoga
Tones your core
While it’s difficult to find a muscle in your body that SUP yoga doesn’t work, it’s is especially good for your core. Your core and abdomen are working overtime to keep you balanced and standing up straight on your board in regular SUP, and that will transfer in poses such as mountain and warrior poses.
Improves flexibility and balance
Not only does engaging your body’s core give you abs of steel, but it also improves your levels of balance and flexibility. As well as your core, your legs and back muscles also move to keep you upright on the board. When doing yoga poses, other muscles will be called into action, in turn, making them stronger.
SUP yoga benefits the most important muscle of all - the heart. Yogic breathing speeds up circulation which can fight off heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure in the future.
Good for mental health
Exercise is good for your mental health in general. However, when you’re doing it surrounded by nature, nothing can beat it. Research proves that being in nature is good for us, and most SUP communities will have a SUP yoga ‘studio’ nearby - whether that’s on the flat waters of a lake or with a view of a stunning beach. This is one of the best activities you can possibly find for reducing stress.
Five SUP yoga poses
Beginners to SUP yoga shouldn’t try going straight for the most difficult poses, so start off with an easy one. The sukhasana sees you sitting cross-legged on your board with your hands on your knees looking straight ahead. A nice relaxing introduction.
This one’s a little harder, but it shouldn’t be too difficult for aspiring SUP yogis. Bend over with your feet apart and your hands towards the other end of the board. This pose strengthens your shoulders, arms, and legs.
Named as it looks like a snake, flatten your body as much as you can with your navel in the middle of the board. Put your hands on the board and lift your head, chest, and shoulders. This one is great for increasing the flexibility of your back.
A pose to do on water, but make sure that your SUP is rocking as little as possible. Sit on the board and extend your legs upwards, while pushing your head back. From the side, you will look like a v with a line across the middle. The boat helps your balance and strengthens the hips.
Last but not least, the mountain pose will help you see more of your surroundings as you’ll be standing as tall as possible. Stand up as straight as possible with your arms in the air and your hands touching as you look straight ahead.
To find out more about fitness…
Check out Lifestyle by Ps fitness blog. There are loads of great ideas on how to keep yourself healthy - whether that’s by losing weight, toning your muscles, or looking after your heart.