“Yoga on a stand up paddleboard? Are you kidding? I can barely do those poses on dry land, much less on a wiggly board floating on water."
"No way…that's sounds really stupid!"
Do you think yoga on a stand up paddle board is a fad? Well, guess what? Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga (a.k.a. SUP and Yoga) is growing as a challenging new practice in coastal areas all around the U.S. and it's here to stay. (At least for me it is!)
Some say it looks too difficult, some think it’s just silly. The reality is that it’s fun and easier than you think!
For those who are interested in trying SUP and yoga, or might be on the fence, the following are 10 benefits of practicing yoga on a stand up paddle board.
1. SUP and yoga keeps you in the present.
You have no choice but to “be here now” when it comes to practicing yoga on your floating yoga mat.
2. A greater sense of mindfulness will develop.
Paying attention to every breath and body movement, every placement of a foot, leg, or arm is key to keeping balance.
3. You don’t have to be an advanced yoga student.
Less is more on a stand up paddle board. Simple yoga poses are all you need to develop body awareness – taking them on the board just enhances that awareness.
4. Advanced students can bring another level of challenge to their practice.
For those who find most advanced poses (like arm balances) effortless, taking them on to a SUP board will humble many of those who have mastered many poses. Bringing your mindfulness back to the basics of just doing Virabradrasana 1 on a SUP board will add a different level of awareness to the practice.
5. The pace of your practice will slow down.
Many times we hurry to get from one pose to the next and forget to pay attention to how we move, how we focus and the quality of our breath. Yoga on a stand up paddle board forces you to slow down your pace and gain more focus on your practice.
6. The same muscles are challenged, but in a different way.
Typically you use your breath, focus, along with the muscles of the body to steady yourself in yoga poses. You use most of those same skills and muscles when you’re doing stand up paddling. Additionally, poses on a SUP board tend to give a greater challenge to the quadriceps, shoulders, arms, and knees – and especially the core area – because of the modifications to create balance in the pose.
7. It’s like Hot yoga with instant refreshment.
If you like your yoga hot, practicing outdoors in the summer heat will create the same sweat. However, instead of leaving pools of sweat on your mat, you can cool down with an unlimited supply of water just beneath you.
8. No practice will ever be the same.
You can experience a different practice every time you go out on a stand up paddle board, because the wind and water conditions are always changing.
9. A chance to experience the beauty of the outdoors.
Everyone could use a change of scenery every now and then, and what better way to get that than in combination with your love of yoga?
10. SUP and yoga is fun and challenging.
Before trying stand up paddling and yoga, be sure you are comfortable on a stand up paddle board. Lessons through a local instructor for basic paddling are helpful.
SUP and yoga is a great practice for developing mindfulness, focus, balance and breath skills because it takes all of those skills to be present during this type of practice – although the consequence of losing focus or balance is only ending up with a refreshing splash in the water, rather than a fall on a hard floor.
“Be calmly active and actively calm. Be intensely aware of everything you are doing.” These words of Yogananda pretty much sums up the efforts of yoga practice on a stand up paddle board.
Have YOU tried SUP and yoga?