SUP (Stand-up paddleboarding) yoga combines the focus, full-body engagement and inner peace inherent in yoga with the fresh air and natural connection experienced on open water under clear skies. This aspect alone takes the practice of yoga to a whole new level, providing a refreshing experience in your next step of the yoga journey.
When the world first heard of SUP Yoga (in the 1940’s!), it wondered aloud – Yoga on a surfboard? It’s difficult enough to perform yoga on dry land, so how in heaven does one do it on a flimsy plank floating on water? Many assumed it a fad that would go away in no time.
Guess what? It has grown by leaps and bounds to include devotees worldwide.
The charm of combining SUP and yoga is that it’s a great practice for developing focus, mindfulness, balance and rhythmic breathing skills. Even a slight misalignment or change in pace can result in a refreshing splash as opposed to a hard thump on the floor. SUP Yoga requires full awareness and dedication so that a practitioner gets to refine one’s technique unlike in any other traditional type of yoga.
So how does one go about it? Here are some practical tips for those interested in trying it out.
Be Ready to Get Wet!
As you work toward perfecting your yoga postures on a moving surface, it is inevitable that you fall into the water a few times. Don’t let falling discourage you—see it as part of the whole SUP Yoga experience.
It’s recommended to use a long, wide paddleboard for optimum stability. An inflatable or padded board will provide the cushioning effect you’re used to with a floor mat, and will thus be more comfortable than a solid, hardboard. As SUP yoga gains in popularity, a few manufacturers are even designing yoga-specific boards.
If possible, borrow or rent a few different boards to try out yourself. That way you can familiarize yourself with the various options and decide what works best for you firsthand.
Some SUP yoga training facilities offer the option of using an anchor for your board on water. It keeps you in position, on calm, protected stretch safe from wind, waves and stray watercraft. This lets you focus on your breathing, balance and enjoying the moment. It also comes with the bonus of your board won’t go floating off if you happen to topple off!
Your safety should be the foremost aspect. How deep is the water? Are you a good swimmer? If in cold water, do you need a wetsuit or drysuit? Whether to wear a personal flotation device (PFD)? Will you be in the way of other watercraft?
For those wanting to try out SUP yoga, but nervous about being on open water, or if you live far from suitable water bodies or want to continue SUP Yoga teacher training practice round the year — SUP yoga can now be practiced indoors, too!