If you enjoy land yoga, and are ready to take your workout to the next level, then yoga on a paddle board might be a great fit for you. When you take your yoga routine to the water, there’s a whole range of health benefits waiting for you.
For starters you’ll be able to work muscles that you can’t work the same way during traditional land yoga. Also, you’ll be able to experience a level of relaxation and calm that can only be achieved when you’re out in nature.
If you’re ready to jump into this exciting sport, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about transitioning from land to water yoga.
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What is SUP Yoga?
Before we talk about the best way to learn SUP yoga, let’s first talk about what it is. SUP yoga is essentially the same yoga experience you’d find in a studio. The only difference is that you’re swapping out your yoga mat for a cushioned paddle board instead.
Those who practice this unique sport really enjoy it because it allows you to get a deeper penetration of your most favorite yoga poses. While it may look easy on the surface, yoga on the water requires you to pay special attention to all your movements. This way, you stay balanced as you move from pose to pose and as you stretch out your body.
Paddle Board Yoga for Beginners: Tips for Getting Started
If you have never done yoga practice on land, then it’s easy to be intimidated by yoga practice on the water. Still, this shouldn’t keep you from trying out SUP yoga.
As with any new sport, however, it’s important to understand what is yet to come. This will help you properly prepare so that you have a safe experience as you expand your yoga skills to the water.
Let’s go over some basic yet essential tips to keep in mind for your first yoga routine on a stand up paddle board.
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Use the Right Type of Paddle Board
There are specialty paddle boards that are designed specifically for SUP yoga. However, if you’re not sure whether this is something you want to commit to long term, you don’t have to go out and buy a specialty board. There are plenty of traditional stand up paddle boards that you can use for SUP yoga. Still, some paddle boards work better for yoga on the water than others.
The main feature to look for In a paddle board is stability. Typically, the wider a paddle board is the more stable it will be. Stability is crucial for perfecting your yoga skills on the water because the more stability you have, the better balance you’ll achieve.
An ideal yoga SUP will also have a more rounded out front and back end as opposed to a narrower one. The more rounded it is, the more stability it will offer you as well.
A traditional stand up paddle board is designed to offer maneuverability and versatility, but you don;t necessarily want these features in a yoga paddle board. Instead, you’ll want a wide, stable board that doesn’t taper at the ends.
Beginner Sup Yoga Poses to Try
So now that you’ve got a board that you can bring out to a SUP yoga class, it’s now time to talk about some great paddle board yoga poses to try out. If you’re joining a beginner yoga class, you’ll find that some standard poses you’ll master early on are ones that require less balance and more focus. Some great poses to start off with include the following:
Facing the front of your board, sit with your legs criss crossed. Bring your palms together in front of your chest and sit up night and tall. Focus your attention on slow, deep breaths.
Downward Facing Dog
Start off by placing your hands and knees on the board. Slowly begin lifting your knees off the board and straightening out your legs. Allow your head to lean down so that your hips are arched high in the air and your body is in a mountain pose. Inhaled reply as you stretch out your legs.
Lay flat on your board with your arms by your side and your palms facing down. Keep your neck and head planted on the board and use your feet to slowly lift your pelvis and back off the board. Keep your feet planted firmly so that you form a 90 degree angle with your knees.
This pose will require you to stretch your legs out as if you are doing a front facing split. Instead of stretching both legs out, stretch one leg behind you and bend the other leg in front of you. then, stretch your body so that you are leaning over and cradling your knee which should be bent in front of you.
Begin by laying on your belly, flat on your board, put your arms in front of you so that your palms are planted on the board. Slowly begin lifting your head up and stretching out your chest high into the air. Slowly inhale and exhale as you stretch out.
Check Out Some Sup Yoga Classes
It might be worth your while to consider working with a yoga instructor or signing up for SUP yoga classes the first time you head out onto the water. SUP yogis will help you get acclimated to floating, yoga balancing, and your board.
Classes will also help teach you how to achieve more challenging yoga poses that require greater balance. Much like an instructor in a yoga studio, an SUP yoga class can help you practice stand up paddle boarding yoga safely and effectively.
Another great reason to join a SUP yoga class is that it can help give you a sample SUP yoga routine. By joining a class or two, you can pick up some other great poses that you can add to your routine when you head out solo.
What Should I Wear to Sup Yoga?
You’ll want to make sure that you’re wearing the right clothing before you head out onto the water. Yoga will require you to get into all sorts of awkward stretches and positions. Make sure that you’re wearing clothing that will allow this.
Sup Yoga Clothes for Men:
For guys, lightweight swimming trunks are typically ideal. As with land-based yoga, guys will want to wear something lightweight and comfortable. If you’re going to wear tight fitting shorts, make sure to pick a pair that is quick drying. This will keep you from feeling weighed down once you fall into the water.
Sup Yoga Clothes for Women:
For women, you’ll have a couple of options as far as SUP yoga clothing goes. You can easily practice a full body workout wearing a close fitting swimsuit. If you want more skin coverage, a wetsuit can work just as well. Just be sure that your clothing is not restrictive and that it allows you to stretch comfortably.
What Should You Bring for Practicing Yoga on the Water?
You’ll want to bring the right gear along with you when you go out for paddle board yoga. While the point of this type of activity is to work out new muscles in a different environment, it’s important to remember you’re still participating in a water sport.
Because of this, it’s important to remain cautious and bring along essential safety gear.
For your first SUP yoga class, you may be required to bring a paddle board anchor with you. An anchor will help keep you situated in the same spot so that you don’t float away from your group or towards other members of your class.
If you’re going out solo, a paddle board anchor can also help you determine how deep the water is. If you pick a body of water that’s too shallow, you could end up injuring yourself when you fall off your board.
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Bungees and Straps
Bungees and straps are important to bring along if you have additional gear with you. You can strap down items like a dry bag, your water bottle, or other gear using bungee cords and straps. Some of the best paddle boards for yoga will have bungee cords on one end where you can easily tuck in your gear.
Personal Flotation Device
Despite it being the law, it’s important to bring along your personal flotation device when you’re heading out to the water. While you don’t have to wear your PFD while you’re doing yoga, you should have it with you when you’re getting to and from your destination.
Paddle boarders are required to have an emergency whistle with them whenever they head out onto the water. In case of an emergency or if you head out for sunset water yoga, a whistle can help you in a time of need.
A dry bag can be especially helpful for SUP yoga. Waterproof dry bags can hold all your belongings without worry. If you have a temperature rated dry bag, it can also help with keeping your drink cool on a warm day.
The warmer months are perfect for SUP yoga. However, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of your skin. Apply a broad spectrum waterproof sunscreen every time you go out on the water. Opt for a sunscreen that does not leave behind an oily residue.
As with any workout, it’s critical that you stay hydrated. This is even more so if you’re out on a hot day. It can help to bring water in a thermoregulated bottle so that it stays nice and cool. If you know you’re going to be out for a long period of time, be sure to bring enough water to last you your whole workout.
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Stand up paddle boarding remains to be one of the fastest growing water sports. With all the great physical and mental health benefits it has to offer, it is no surprise why.
If you’re just starting out in your water yoga journey don’t feel overwhelmed with all the SUP water yoga gear out there. Instead, Focus on getting yourself a wide, stable yoga board, and learning some basic yoga poses if you don’t already know some.
With any new sport, remember that half the battle is showing up. Once you’re out on the water, you’ll be having so much fun that the rest of the experience will just come naturally.