What Is SUP Yoga?
Nov 18, 2022
If you enjoy the sea and yoga, sup yoga could be a great way to enhance your yoga poses while enjoying the soothing ocean sound and waves. Paddle board yoga combines stand-up paddle boarding and yoga into one activity designed to improve strength and balance. Sure, you can paddle around in the water for some light exercise, but you may want to take paddle boarding to the next level. Sup yoga will let you pose, stretch, and flex your way into a healthier body while enhancing balance on the paddle board.
Sup yoga is quite tricky since you'll need to balance on an unstable surface, such as a paddle board on the water. However, there're specific paddle boards designed for yoga practice. You can ultimately become a great sup yogi with a suitable sup yoga class.
What is SUP Yoga?
Yoga and stand-up paddle boarding have many similarities. Both sports are strengthening and relaxing and demand focus and balance. It's no wonder that SUP yoga has gained lots of popularity since the early 2010s. SUP yoga involves yoga practice on a paddle board. It offers numerous health benefits than land-based yoga.
Since sup yoga, also known as floating yoga, happens outdoors in the waters, often surrounded by nature, it's a fun way to strengthen your yoga practice and connect with nature simultaneously.
The principle of paddle board yoga is simple; grab a SUP yoga board, find a calm, steady water body such as an ocean, lake, or river, and paddle out into the water.
Who Can Practice SUP Yoga?
Whether you're a seasoned yogi or a beginner, sup yoga is available to every yoga enthusiast. Sup yoga classes are recommended to anyone looking to strengthen their core muscles and balance skills in an entertaining way.
The sport is also a great way to reduce stress and wind down following a hard week of work.
When Should You Switch to paddle board yoga?
Before taking yoga to the paddle board, it's crucial to understand the basics of a stand up paddle board.
You have to grasp the fundamentals of SUP paddle boarding, including:
Paddling into the water
Switching from sitting to standing
Weight distribution across the board
Boarding the yoga paddle board from the water
Safely getting into the water
Simple Yoga Poses for SUP Beginners
Regardless of your experience in yoga and paddle boarding, there're numerous poses that you can borrow from land-based yoga to practice on the paddle board. However, it would be best to try out the yoga poses individually on a board before doing them in a flowing sequence.
Easy poses for sup yoga beginners include:
Downward facing dog
Expert yogis can practice advanced poses such as warrior II, plow pose, dancer pose, headstand, and tree pose.
Where to do SUP Yoga?
Ideally, SUP happens in water, but not all water bodies are suitable for the activity. You'll need calm waters for sup yoga practice. A steady surface is the key to ensuring stability while balancing on one leg or practicing challenging poses such as the tree pose or a headstand.
Another critical factor to consider when choosing the appropriate location for a sup yoga session is weather conditions. Wind affects the stability of a yoga paddle board. It will help if you avoid areas with too much wind.
Other factors to consider include water temperature, depth, and vessels.
The most popular water bodies for sup yoga are calm water lakes. However, you can practice your sup yoga routine in the ocean, bays, and harbors as long as it allows you to maintain a stable balance easily.
What to wear for SUP Yoga?
Just like land-based yoga, you need to wear flexible clothing for paddleboard yoga in order to switch between yoga poses without restriction. It's recommended to wear a stretchy water-resistant swimsuit in case you need a cool-down dip into the water between sup yoga poses on a summer day.
Don't forget to wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the harsh effects of sunlight.
During the cooler days, you can throw on your quick-drying workout clothes on top of your swimwear to keep warm. Regardless of your workout outfit, be prepared to get wet in case you plunge into the water.
What SUP Yoga Accessories To Add TO Your Gear?
A paddle board and paddle are the essential tools needed to practice sup yoga. We recommend inflatable paddle boards if you're still searching for a paddle board.
Besides your swimwear, you can wear the following to practice yoga:
Sunglasses with retainers
water sandals (ideal for carrying your board over hot asphalt and pebbles)
Other recommended accessories include:
A SUP anchor will help keep your board from constantly moving. Even on calm waters, wind, tide, and current will carry your board around and cause you to drift. You can drop a SUP anchor to ensure excellent stability.
SUP SHOULDER CARRY STRAP
Most yoga paddle boards feature carry handles. However, you can opt for a shoulder strap to transfer your board to and from the water.
PORTABLE ELECTRIC SUP AIR PUMP
If you're using inflatable paddle boards, you may want to carry around a portable electric SUP air pump with the right adapter for your inflatable boards
INFLATABLE BELT PACK PFD
Depending on your location, the coast guard regulation may require you to carry a personal floatation device on your board. You don't necessarily have to wear it, but it is an excellent addition to your SUP yoga accessories.
How to choose a stand up paddle board for SUP yoga?
Finding the best SUP yoga board from the numerous available options can be daunting. It's easy to throw away lots of money and still end up with a SUP board that won't serve you well. A great yoga board will mean a great time. You'll want to practice sup yoga poses comfortably and smoothly transition between poses on a comfortable platform.
What To Consider When Buying a Yoga Board
When it comes to SUP yoga, the bigger the board, the better. A bigger stand up paddle board is more stable and will ensure a comfortable and fun yoga practice. The ideal board length for yoga is 10'6 to 11'6.
Because width significantly affects stability, choose yoga boards 32 inches and above wide. Wider boards, however, tend to be slow. You'll, therefore, need to find a balance between speed and stability.
You'll require thicker boards between 5 to 6 inches for better buoyancy and stability.
Fin setup affects the stability of paddle boards. Most paddle boards will feature either s three-fin setup or a single-fin setup. You'll also need to decide between removable or fixed fins. Removable fins will allow you to modify configurations to find what you like.
There're two types of hulls; displacement hulls and planning hulls. The planning hull is suitable for stability and, therefore, great for SUP yoga. On the other hand, displacement hulls are created for speed and are unnecessary for yoga classes.
The deck pad works similarly to a yoga mat. The best paddle boards feature a large or full-length traction pad textured well to prevent slips and falls when practicing yoga.
A good yoga SUP board should be durable. So, pay attention to the building material. Most inflatable boards are made from PVC. You should buy one with several layers of military-grade PVC to last longer.
Practicing Yoga: Water VS Land
There's a massive connection between SUP yoga and traditional yoga. Both paddle boarding yoga and land-based yoga provide a full body workout, strengthen the core muscles, and improve controlled breathing.
The main difference between these yoga practices is one is on land and the other on the water. For SUP yoga, your yoga SUP board is your mat. You'll also need to adjust your body and weight distribution to balance board movement.
Additionally, yoga on the water allows you to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the beautiful scenery for the ultimate calming experience. Yoga on the water will take your yoga skills to another level.
SUP YOGA BENEFITS
Sup yoga is not only relaxing and calming but also offers amazing health benefits. Sup yoga is excellent for your physical and mental wellness. Some of the benefits of sup yoga include:
Sup yoga engages hard-to-find muscles. For instance, practicing a standing pose such as the warrior pose engages your inner thigh to maintain stability on the board. The unstable water surface creates a huge need to work dormant muscles, progressing your practice.
Improved breath control
During yoga, you put intense focus on breathing techniques, helping you transition from one position to another and hold longer poses. Yoga on the water is more intense than traditional yoga and will help you master breath control.
Promote blood circulation
Breath control achieved during the yoga routine improves blood circulation, promoting a distressed mind and a healthier body. Ultimately, excellent blood circulation will improve your emotional well-being.
Exposure to Vitamin D
Sun exposure is one of the best ways to get vitamin D. Practicing sup yoga allows the larger areas of your body, like arms, legs, and torso, to soak up some rays of sunshine, increasing vitamin D accumulation in your body.
Immersion into nature
Paddleboard yoga offers an excellent chance to interact with nature and breathe fresh outdoor air. Being around nature helps to unwind, relieve stress and improve your mood.
Improved balance and flexibility
Your balance and flexibility will improve as you continuously practice SUP yoga. You need excellent flexibility and stability to maintain balance during yoga poses.
If SUP yoga crosses your mind, it's time to find a board and start your journey toward a calm mind. If you're new to stand up paddle boarding and yoga, you can opt for a yoga class to access a yoga instructor to help with practice. Alternatively, you can practice with a group of friends or by yourself whenever you please. So, find your dream SUP board and grow your yoga skills!