Most of us have tried some form of yoga in our time – whether relaxing in a Yin class, or getting sweaty in a hot yoga class, it's a very popular form of exercise.
In the last couple of years, a new form of yoga has emerged, combining it with the popularity of stand up paddleboarding (SUP).
What is SUP Yoga?
SUP yoga is like regular yoga, except that you do it on the water on a SUP! You can practice on any all-round board or choose a dedicated SUP like our Mandala Series.
Dedicated SUP Yoga boards like the Mandala provide additional stability
You can get started by checking out a SUP Yoga class in your local area. A class typically starts with a short warm-up paddle to the spot in which you will be practising. It then moves into a yoga-focused class including seated breathing techniques, sun salutations and some experimenting with harder pose variations.
If you’re lucky enough to own a board of your own, you can practise outside of a class. When starting out, choose simple flows before moving to more adventurous poses!
Start with simple flows before advancing to more adventurous poses
Why should you try SUP Yoga?
SUP yoga brings some additional benefits beyond a standard yoga class, so let’s take a look at five reasons to give it a try.
1. It’s suitable for all levels
Yes, adding a SUP to your yoga practice does add an additional challenge, to everything from your stability, to your strength and flexibility. However, both beginner and advanced yogis can benefit, by using the challenge of being on the water to deepen your practice.
As a beginner, try starting on lakes where the water is typically calmer
It might surprise you how hard some moves become on the water compared to others. Flowing through your routine sun-salutation will suddenly feel brand new once you take your practice onto the water. For beginners, you might like to start on lakes, where the water is typically calmer. As you advance your practice, you can challenge yourself by taking to the ocean.
The staggered stance of Warrior Two is extra challenging on the water
2. It can improve your strength and balance
You can likely guess that practising yoga on the water is all about balance. SUP yoga will help you to learn where your balance is weak, and where it’s strong.
Adding SUP to your yoga practice is also great for developing your core strength. Ever used a Bosu Ball for exercise? Being on an unstable surface requires you to engage your core to maintain balance.
Ever used a Bosu Ball for exercise? Being on an unstable surface requires you to engage your core to maintain balance.
The SUP board works in the same way – its wobble challenges the body at a new level, forcing it to work harder to help you keep your balance. You need to actively engage your muscles to maintain your balance in poses – providing the stability that will keep you afloat.
A SUP will make your muscles work extra hard to maintain your balance even when standing
3. Reconnect with nature
Research has shown that spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. If you’ve ever taken your yoga practice outside, you will know the benefits of fresh air and a gentle breeze.
There aren’t many activities that get you closer to nature than being out on a paddleboard. You never know what curious wildlife will come and say “hello”, the sunshine will lift your mood, and you’re sure to benefit from incredible views. You won’t find that in any yoga studio.
Research has shown that spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Being out on the water also physically takes you away from the busy nature of your day-to-day life. The natural environment allows you to focus inwards and to appreciate the present moment during the practice. SUP yoga will naturally slow you down and force you to focus on your breath and body movement.
A regular SUP yoga practice allows you to reconnect with nature
4. Become more mindful
As we said above, SUP yoga is all about balance. This means you will develop an enhanced awareness of your breath, body and mind. Every move and breath will influence your stability in a pose.
In this more mindful state, you can rediscover more basic poses. Even the easiest moves become more challenging on the water, forcing you to focus on the smaller details of the poses. There’s no chance of rushing through the basics during SUP yoga.
Where are your hands and feet placed? Is your core engaged? Where is your centre of gravity?
If you’re not aware of your alignment, you can go overboard. Smooth, fluent transitions between poses are essential for staying on the board. You won’t have experienced a full-body workout anything like SUP yoga before!
5. Have fun!
Finally, SUP yoga is a lot of fun! Sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously, both in yoga classes and beyond.
There’s no room for ego when you’re out on the water. You are carried along in the practice, wherever it wants to take you that day. It might even take you overboard, and there’s nothing to be done but laugh it off and get back on the board!
There's no room for ego when you're out on the water.
SUP yoga is about questioning the limitations of your practice and mind, while conquering the common fear of falling in. SUP yoga practice is the best place to fall on your face. Embrace the falls!
Falling in is all part of the fun when trying SUP yoga!
Ready to give SUP yoga a try?
Meet Mandala, our inflatable Yoga SUP, which combines excellent stability and functionality for yoga on the water.
The board’s stability also makes it suitable for families and for paddleboarders looking for a more sturdy board when they’re cruising. Rated 5 stars by our customers, and 9/10 by SUP Board Guide.