There are lots of SUP disciplines, and one of these is SUP Yoga. What is SUP Yoga?
You may be thinking, balancing on a wobbly platform, such as a paddleboard is already a challenging task, and incorporating yoga would be impossible. Well, that’s not entirely true.
As the name suggests, SUP yoga is the practice of Yoga on a SUP board in the middle of a body of water, usually on calm bodies of water such as a lake or in harbors. In 2019, a surge of paddleboarders and yoga practitioners alike are transitioning to SUP yoga because it requires more strength, balance, and focus.
Doing yoga on a paddle board is not as hard as it looks and it even offers opportunities that a stationary platform practice doesn’t. SUP yoga can be an exciting way to experience nature and level-up your yoga practice.
In this article, we will be taking a look at the most frequently asked questions before tying out SUP yoga, such as:
- What are the benefits of SUP yoga?
- What do I need before practicing SUP yoga?
- What are some tips for SUP yoga?
Whether you are a beginner in paddleboarding, yoga, or an advanced paddler, SUP yoga can be beneficial not only for your body but for your mental health and spiritual being as well.
Table of Contents
What are the Benefits of SUP Yoga?
Like most sports, SUP yoga has a lot of benefits that can improve your well-being. You do not need to be an in-land yoga practitioner to learn SUP yoga, all you need is determination and consistency.
1. It is a form of exercise.
Although SUP boarding and yoga are not high-impact sports, it is still proven to exercise your body. The poses that you exert generally strengthens muscle groups such as the arms, shoulders, legs, cores, and quadriceps.
2. It improves flexibility.
There are times when our muscles or joints ache after strenuous stretching. It means your muscles are stiff and might need some stretching to “loosen” them up.
The various poses used in yoga promote flexibility and improve mobility. Paddleboarding also uses a lot of different muscles and helps to strengthen muscles. The two exercises combined offer a wide range of motion that works on different areas of the body.
3. It enhances breathing control.
Unlike high-impact workouts such as running and biking, you are more focused on controlling your breathing while practicing SUP yoga. It is essential to sync your breathing with yoga poses to achieve optimum blood circulation and relaxation.
4. It is an excellent stress-reliever.
Sometimes, all we need after a long day at work is silence and calmness. With SUP yoga, tranquility and peace can be achieved with just a few minutes of a yoga session.
The quietness, combined with fresh air, the sound of nature, and beautiful scenery are evident in relieving stress.
5. It improves your sense of balance.
Obviously, you need to maintain your balance by standing on a paddleboard. The extra challenge of maintaining yoga poses on top of your board will significantly improve your sense of balance in and out of water.
An improved balance results in better management of important activities we do every day, such as walking and going up and down the stairs. If you’re clumsy, say goodbye to tripping and falling over.
6. It is fun!
Not only is this a great exercise for improving mobility and overall health, but it is also extremely enjoyable. People who enjoy their exercise routine are more likely to be consistent and achieve better results. SUP yoga is certainly more fun being out on the water.
Additionally, you get to meet new people who are into SUP yoga as well! These communities are helpful in improving your skills as you can share each other’s techniques and tips.
Pretty exciting, huh? Hopefully, these benefits motivate you to seek out a SUP Yoga instructor in your city or town and try out this great outdoor exercise that will challenge you for years to come.
What Do I Need Before Practicing Sup Yoga?
Before you achieve nirvana through SUP yoga, of course, you have to be geared up with the essential equipment. Here are important things you need to get before jumping on the waters.
1. SUP Board
In our previous article, we have tackled everything we need to consider before buying a SUP board. Multiple kinds of SUP boards are made for a specific use, and of course, there are boards for yoga SUP.
Typically, a SUP yoga board is wide, stable, and has a flat shape to the deck. It’s helpful to have a soft, cushy deck padding that extends toward the nose and tail of the board so you will not have any difficulties in holding poses.
2. Personal flotation device (PFD)
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has officially classified SUP boards as a vessel, meaning, it is required by state laws to have a PFD if you’re going in the waters. It is essential to keep you safe if ever you fall over the waters.
Consider getting a low-profile and compact inflatable PFD that won’t get in the way during your yoga routine.
3. Emergency Whistle
An emergency whistle is another law-mandated equipment that is essential to have whenever you’re paddling. Fortunately, most PFD already has a whistle attached so another purchase is not necessary. However, if it is not included, be sure to get one.
An anchor is a SUP board accessory that will prevent your board from drifting into the middle of the ocean or any body of water you are in with your SUP board.
If you’re thinking that anchors would be heavy and bulky, don’t worry. They are incredibly compact and light enough so they will not weigh your paddleboard down. Some anchors are foldable so storing and carrying them will be a breeze.
5. Appropriate Outfit
To effectively practice SUP yoga, you will need the proper attire. Stretchy workout attire is recommended when performing such poses. Additionally, before you leave your house, be sure to check the weather to be prepared if it is going to be colder than expected.
6. Other must-haves
Here are other thighs you need to secure before getting into the waters.
- Water/Sports bottle
- Spare clothes
What Are Some Tips for SUP Yoga?
Now that you have your reasons to practice SUP yoga plus the proper gear to start, here are five essential tips to get you started.
1. Take a bite and drink plenty of water before a yoga session.
Motion sickness is not uncommon among paddleboarders, especially if you do it on an empty stomach.
Prepare your body for a workout by eating a small, nourishing snack beforehand, such as nuts, granola, or fruit smoothies. If you’re prone to nausea, consider bringing a couple of ginger candies to help you through.
More importantly, don’t forget to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, especially that you’ll be practicing under the sun.
2. Find a quiet and safe spot.
If you’re going to practice SUP yoga in an open space area, chances are there will be strong winds and big waves that can make balancing extremely difficult.
As much as possible, find an area that is relatively sheltered from the wind and has a low-activity area such as other people swimming or jet skis speeding around.
3. Control your breathing without holding your breath.
Most SUP yoga beginners are more focused on clinging to the board than focusing on their breathing, which usually leads to holding their breath, preparing for a sudden fall to the waters. It is essential to concentrate on breathing control and let the core muscles do their work to balance the whole body.
As the body begins to relax and get into the waves and movement of the water. The core muscles will kick in and help in retaining the sense of balance.
4. Keep two points of contact with the SUP board.
Yoga poses with only one point of contact with the surface, such as tree pose or eagle pose, are considered too difficult for SUP yoga.
Try poses that sustain at least two points of contact on the board. Also, poses that keep your body aligned perpendicular to the board are more stable than those that will put you parallel to the board.
5. Move slowly.
Moving too quickly can result in sudden imbalance and can wobble your board. If you are used to quick transitions in land yoga, it is best to move slowly before going to another pose to avoid falling over to the waters.
SUP yoga is an amazing opportunity to practice yoga on the water. If you already love practicing land yoga, enhance your skills, and level up your yoga practice by trying SUP yoga. Benefits include improved balance, enhanced muscle/joint strength, and last but not least, the opportunity to relax as you will be outdoors on the water.
If your looking for a ready-made paddleboard to start doing SUP Yoga, we highly recommend Nirvana Boards, they sell high quality paddleboards in a reasonable price. Check the cool stuff they have by clicking the link below: