SUP YogaDecember 22, 2015
SUP Yoga aims to introduce you to a unique yoga experience while enjoying the natural splendor of floating on water. It’s a fun way to energize and transform your regular practice. Adding the element of water simply increases the amount of core stability you need to achieve every pose. If you’re looking for a new challenge, SUP Yoga will reinvigorate you and help you become calm & healthy. It is simultaneously challenging and calming, engaging and relaxing, adventurous and meditative.
7 SUP Yoga Poses to Try on Your SUP
SUP Yoga Pose 1 : Virasana
The first pose to try is Virisana, or known as Hero’s Pose. by kneeling in the center of your board and resting your glutes on your heels with your toes pointed to the back of the board. Placing your left hand on your right knee, and your right hand behind you, rotate your torso until you are looking over your right shoulder and inhale. As you exhale, return to center and hold a balanced center pose before repeating in the other direction.
SUP Yoga Pose 2 : The Half Lord of The Fishes Pose
The Half Lord of The Fishes pose comes from Hatha yoga, and is a great way to move from your sitting to standing asanas. To perform this pose, sink back to your buttocks on the board so that you can stabilize yourself by grasping the wide side of the board behind you, if you need to. Bend your legs at the knees, and then slide one leg under the other so that it lays flat against the board. Place your elbow on the outside of the opposite (bent) knee, and gently twist while inhaling to tone and flex your spinal ligaments. Repeat in the other direction.
SUP Yoga Pose 3 : Mountain Pose
The Mountain Pose is the easiest standing asana to transition into. The mountain pose usually involves pressing your legs together as you lengthen the spine, inhale, and turn your palms outward, but you may need to begin by modifying tadasana for paddle board yoga by spreading your legs a little for balance and stability.
SUP Yoga Pose 4 : Chair Pose
The Chair Pose will help hone your balance skills on the paddle board. You can transition into it directly from tadasana by sinking your weight into your heels as you dip down as if you are sitting in a chair. Bring your hands straight up and press your palms together as you exhale.
SUP Yoga Pose 5 : Downward Dog Pose
Downward Dog pose is a great transitional pose, and it can also help to strengthen your hips and hamstrings as you stretch your hands forward to rest your palms flat on the paddle board. Keep the soles of your feet flat on the board as well as you lift your hips high into the air.
SUP Yoga Pose 6 : Cobra Pose
The Cobra Pose will stretch out your abs and spine, and is great for the beginning paddle board yoga practitioner. Lie flat on your stomach, placing your palms flat right in front of your hips before extending your arms and stretching your ribs forward and your shoulders back. Keep your pelvis pressed firm to the floor. Inhale and exhale deeply, holding the pose for 15-30 seconds.
SUP Yoga Pose 7 : Bow Pose
The Bow Pose will be the final paddleboard yoga pose, and will definitely challenge your balance! Return to a prone position, and then reach back to grab your ankles with your hands. Inhale, and then pull your legs away from your glutes while holding your ankles firmly. This will lift your upper torso away from the paddle board. Remember to breathe, and hold the pose for about 20 seconds.
You can cycle through these poses as many times as you need to, until you are comfortable with the way that your body adjusts its balance while practicing paddle board yoga. After that, you can work up to more advanced, intense shot yoga sequences. You’re going to love SUP Yoga, and perhaps you’ll become so adept at it that you will consider opening your own yoga practice and helping it thrive!
SUP Yoga Benefits
SUP Yoga VS Traditional Yoga
1. Better workout.
SUP Yoga or Yoga on a paddleboard calls for major core work, even more than the core work required in studio. Every move you make, every breath you take on the SUP Yoga, you are utilizing your core. The unstable SUP surface creates an intense need to recruit dormant muscles. This recruiting allows your poses to become more healing and more beneficial.
2. More focus.
The gentle sound of water lapping while on a paddleboard will help you relax and key you in to the most important aspect of yoga: your breath. When you begin to dabble in paddle board yoga, you will notice that it required an enhanced degree of mindfulness. The sensation of water beneath you will introduce the need to hone and sharpen your focus, which can be achieved through breathing practice.
3. More challenge.
When the board is your mat, there’s less room for error. If you feel like you’ve started to master your normal yoga class, it’s time you try SUP Yoga.
4. Fresh air.
In the world of chronic over-stimulation from so many electronic devices, it’s no wonder that we find it so difficult to pull away from our devices and go outside. Between breathing fresh air, soaking up vitamin D and enjoying the natural landscape, it beats just about any gym or studio out there. SUP Yoga will definitely go a long ways in improving not only your current practice, but also your current state of health, and even your moods. It complements your land practice and it complements your health.
SUP Yoga Gear Guides
Before you start, let’s see what you need to start your SUP Yoga like a pro.
1. Inflatable Board
Inflatable boards have the best trade-offs. They’re soft on the fall, easier to carry, and still fairly stiff. Knowing that you’ll hit a soft surface can be quite a friendly thought. And it can also encourage you to try harder poses. Also, inflatable boards are much easier to carry. Not only are they much lighter in weight, but often times come with bags that make them quite portable. In fact, many of the inflatable boards come with backpacks or luggage-type bags, some featuring even wheels and 3-piece foldable paddles that make them a joy to take on travels. And do not worry about the stiffness. It is true that they’re not as stiff as fiberglass boards, but the drop-stitch or cross-stitch technologies used on them deliver boards stiff beyond your expectations. The same technology is used for some surfboards, to run rapids, and rescue.
2. Wide, Thick, Stable deck
Stability is a key for SUP Yoga. The water is already quite dynamic and the surface area quite limited, especially if compared to the typical Yoga studio. So you want a fairly stable board. Width and thickness are just some of the features that can affect a board’s stability. Find a board with more width and go from there. Some of the width’s in SUP Yoga stand-up-paddle boards range from 33 inches, 35 inches, and even 40 inches. Have a try and see what best fits you.
3. Attachments for Paddle and Anchor
You’ll need to put the paddle somewhere. You don’t want to place the paddle on the deck of the board, for you’ll want to use that space for your yoga poses. And you don’t want it floating loosely, for it will likely drift away. The bottom line is that you’ll need it to get to your SUP Yoga destination, but then you’ll stow it away to start your routine. Some boards, like Dashama’s Starboard model, have attachments that ensure your paddle is in the water annexed to the board but not drifting away. Also, depending where you perform your routine, you may need an anchor or a rope to attach yourself to a buoy. Make sure you have a board that can handle these needs.
SUP Yoga Tips & Techniques
Here, we have some simple tips and techniques to make you enjoy your SUP Yoga even more.
1. Feet: hip-width or shoulder-width
Always bring your feet to either side of the handle on your board or the center of your board. Feet should be hip-width or shoulder-width distance apart. From here, you need to find the four corners of the feet. Here, you want to lift and spread your toes, feeling the inner toe mound, the outer heel, the big toe mound and the inner heel. This activates the arches of your feet. Then you want to lightly set your toes back down so that you’re not death-gripping with your feet to stabilize.
2. No Fear of water! But remember to always fall safely!
Make sure you know how to swim and that you’re wearing the appropriate layers. If the water or weather is cold, don’t wear too many layers for fear of falling in the water. Use that as a motivator to perfect your move. If you’re too apprehensive of falling in the water, you’ll likely not have as much fun as you should. Think of the water as a lively, much more dynamic and superior extension of your yoga mat. It will give you a soft fall and keep you motivated to get that SUP Yoga pose you want.
3. Go for a wide enough Board.
Stability is already compromised by being on a board. So, avoid undermining the stability all the more by having a small/narrow board. Here you want to go wide, thick, and stable as possible. But keep in mind that if you go “too” big, you might end up with a board that is tough to carry and has no other use beside SUP Yoga.
4. Beware of drifting away in the ocean.
Try to avoid going into the ocean if you’re not a very strong paddler. Now if the ocean is the most convenient venue for you, go early before the winds pickup and make sure to go out with an expert, strong paddler. Even experienced paddlers sometimes find themselves far adrift, having to deal with elements such as winds and currents stronger than expected. So avoid the ocean if you’re not a very strong paddler and, if you go, go with an expert, strong paddler that can assist you in case something doesn’t go according to plan.