12 Awesome Stands Up Paddle Board Yoga Poses

June 16, 2016

Yoga is practiced on stable, flat surfaces. Practicing yoga on a stand-up paddle board redefines yoga as we know it.
Despite SUP yoga changing from a solid to a floating ground, the poses and the body stay the same. However, brain focus shifts to accommodate our perception of the new yoga environment which keeps moving due its unstable nature.

Balancing on a yoga mat on a hardwood floor is child’s play compared to balancing on an SUP board. Whether you are seasoned or novice yogis, yoga on an SUP board not only sounds odd but it also presents a new and different challenge.

The Keys to Balance Are Mindfulness and the Breath

When practicing SUP yoga, you need to stay focused, master your breathing skills and be mindful of your surroundings to be able to pull it off. Otherwise, you end up losing your balance and making quite a splash in the water.

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To conquer your fear of falling off the board, mind your floating surrounding by paying attention to the wind direction, current strength and wave. Additionally, stay calm and mind your breath. Below is a Sun Salutation step-by-step guide to help you master “floating practice”.

  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) – The handwell is the best spot on the paddleboard to stand. Spread your feet at hip distance apart for stability. You should feel the four corners of your feet on the board; spine tall, shoulders laid back and knees soft.
  2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) – Hold the paddle with both hands and use it to level your arms that is parallel to water. Inhale and try lift the paddle just a littl overhead, exhale and then bend your knees while keeping the arms extended. Remember to keep feeling your heels and toes on the board.
  3. Forward Bend (Uttanasana) – Inhale as described above, and then exhale forward. Proceed to take your extended arms towards the board. The paddle and your hands should be either on the board or your shins. Proceed to roll your shoulders further from the ears as you inhale and finally with your back parallel to the board, extend the spine.
  4. Lunge – For more stability in the rest of the sequence, spread your hands widely on the board. Here, slow movement is important while you watch your balance.
  5. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasan) – This step requires you to step make a step back with your left foot and raise your hips. Again, slow movement and keenness on balance are key here.
  6. Plank Pose – Moving forward, pivot your hips and arms forward and ensure the hips are parallel to the board. Your shoulders should be over your wrists. Gradually drop down – your knees can be up or bowed onto the board – with your elbows embracing the sides of your body.
  7. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – Place both of your hands on the board and press them down but hold the elbows and shoulders back. Raise your chest up and look forward.
  8. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – Curl your toes below and perform either of these two procedures; 1. Press back slowly to Child’s for balance, then up to Down Dog or 2. Move straight to Down Dog.
  9. Lunge – After Down Dog, you should bend your knees to the board towards your hands and knees, and then slowly move your right foot between your hands. This brings you to High Lunge on your left feet.
  10. Forward Bend (Uttanasana) – Following the High Lunge, ensure your hands are wide and flat on the board. Proceed to bring your left foot forward towards the right while keeping the knees either soft or bent.
  11. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) – After the previous step, have both hands on the paddle, knees bent, inhale and move to Utkatasana with arms raised next to ears. Remember to feel the four corners of your feet on the board.
  12. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) – After Utkatasana, with feet rooted into the board, slowly stand and raise your paddle and arms upwards before lowering the paddle to your front.

If you follow the Sun Salutation steps to the letter, you should notice immediate changes that keep you from falling off the SUP board.

Most likely this easy sequence will help you be more mindful and sharpen your focus with more practice.

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