What Is SUP Yoga? 9 Reasons You Should Try It

SUP yoga is an enjoyable way to practice yoga. It provides you with all of the fantastic benefits of yoga while also allowing you to experience nature. This great activity is excellent for yogis of all skill levels.

SUP yoga is when you do yoga on a paddleboard. SUP yoga is very beneficial for your mind and body. It allows you to experience nature while also reducing your stress levels and engaging your muscles. It also helps improve your balance, makes you more mindful, and will enable you to meet new people.

This article will go over what SUP yoga is, the gear and clothing you’ll need, and some tips for doing yoga on a paddleboard. We will then go over nine excellent SUP yoga benefits that will make you want to hop on your paddleboard and try it out today!

What Is SUP Yoga?

“SUP” stands for a stand-up paddleboard. SUP yoga is when you do yoga on a paddleboard! It is a relatively new form of yoga that has spiked in popularity in recent years because it’s fun to perform!

During a SUP yoga class, you’ll flow through many traditional poses, such as mountain pose, cat-cow, bridge pose, and more while balancing on a paddleboard. The balance required to perform SUP yoga adds challenge to your practice.

SUP yoga class

All yogis, from beginners to advanced, can practice SUP yoga. As with any yoga practice, you’ll have the option to perform easier or more challenging variations of poses depending on your skill level. Newer yogis can perform simpler poses that require less strength and coordination until they feel more comfortable on their board.

Gear Needed for SUP Yoga

During typical yoga classes, you need a mat and some additional props, like blocks and blankets. For SUP yoga classes, on the other hand, you’ll need to invest in entirely different equipment.

Listed below are all of the gear you may want to acquire if you plan to do SUP yoga. If you attend a SUP yoga class, they may have these items available for you, so you won’t have to buy them. However, if you plan to practice frequently, it may be worthwhile to invest in your equipment.

  • Buy a high-quality stand-up paddleboard. There are some boards on the market explicitly designed for stand-up yoga. However, any broad, flat, and stable board should work well for a SUP yoga class. Boards with cushy padding along the surface are ideal for yoga since holding poses on them is much more comfortable.
  • Obtain a leash to keep your board nearby. Leashes are cords that connect you to your board. They are often sold separately from the paddleboard. It’s recommended that you invest in one of these, so your board doesn’t get too far away from you when you fall off.
  • Get a paddle to steer your board. SUP paddles have a blade on one side and a handle on the other. They are often adjustable, so you can make them taller or shorter depending on your height. You can lay the paddle perpendicular to your board near the nose while you practice, or you can adhere it to your board with the leash.
  • Wear a life jacket for safety. Many states require that adults have a PDF nearby while they are on the water. If you choose to wear a PDF, try to find a thin one, so it doesn’t inhibit your practice. Check your state’s laws to determine what the rules are regarding PDF’s in your area.
  • Acquire an anchor to keep you from drifting during class. While this is optional, many people find having an anchor helpful, especially for group classes, to keep everyone near each other. Try to find a small anchor designed for SUPs, kayaks, or little boats. Attach the anchor’s rope to the leash attachment area. Paddle out with your anchor on your board’s back, then drop it into the water at the desired location.

Tips for Doing SUP Yoga

Listed below are five tips you should follow to do yoga on a paddleboard successfully:

  • Don’t move too fast. Don’t perform any sudden movements while doing SUP yoga. If you move too quickly, it’s easy to lose your balance and fall off your board. Allow yourself plenty of time to move into the next pose, even if you are behind the class.
  • Find a safe location. It’s not a good idea to do SUP yoga in the middle of a busy harbor. Instead, look for a safe area with few boats. Similarly, you should avoid doing SUP near dangerous objects that could hurt you if you fall on them, such as rocks, piers, or pilings.
  • Look out for the wind. When doing yoga on a paddleboard, it’s best to find a sheltered location that doesn’t get too windy. Doing SUP yoga in a windy spot will make it more difficult for you to perform most poses without falling over.
  • Keep your legs in a wide stance. Putting your legs about hip-distance apart will help you maintain balance while doing yoga on the paddleboard. You may want to keep your legs further apart even for characteristically narrow-legged poses, such as mountain pose or chair pose.
  • Always maintain at least two points of contact with the board. Some poses, like eagle pose or tree pose, require you to keep only one point of contact with the ground, which is typically too difficult to do on a paddleboard. Instead, try modifying these poses so you have two points of contact, or skip these poses altogether and solely perform poses that allow you to keep at least two limbs on the ground.

What to Wear

During SUP yoga, you should wear comfortable clothing that dries quickly just in case you fall in the water.

Many women choose to wear swimwear, such as a bikini or one-piece, with shorts and a rashguard on top. Swimsuits with straps are recommended since they are less likely to fall off during class! Men often wear swim trunks or board shorts with a rash guard for sun protection.

During SUP yoga, you should wear comfortable clothing that dries quickly just in case you fall in the water.

It’s best to try on your swimwear at home before the class so you can practice doing poses in the mirror. This way, you can make sure the clothing you’re planning on wearing is comfortable and doesn’t reveal anything you’d preferably not be displayed.

If you’d prefer, you can also wear yoga clothes for SUP yoga, such as leggings, sports bras, and athletic shirts. However, you need to make sure the clothing is light and quick-drying in case you fall overboard.

As far as shoes go, you’ll want to wear some sandals or flip-flops that will be easy to remove before your class begins. Make sure the shoes are water-safe so you won’t ruin them if they get a little wet.

Besides clothing, you should also wear a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes while you are on the water. Put a sunglass retainer around the glasses to help prevent them from falling off while doing the poses. It’s also recommended that you don’t wear your most expensive pair of glasses for SUP. It’s pretty common for them to fall overboard during class!

SUP yoga is terrific for your mental, physical, and even social well being. Below, we will go over nine reasons why you should get out of your paddleboard and try out SUP yoga today.

You Get to Experience Nature

Whereas most yoga sessions occur in a studio, SUP yoga classes occur out on the water. Doing class on a paddleboard permits you to experience nature’s incredible beauty while also getting in a killer yoga session.

Depending on where your class takes place, you may get to see wildlife, such as birds and fish, unique plants and trees, and more. Performing yoga outdoors will give you a greater sense of calm and help you connect with the world around you.

Spending an hour or so out on the water doing yoga is a great stress reducer.

Also, having a change of scenery is exciting and may make you feel more motivated to do your workouts. Every class, you’ll get to experience something new, whether it be a new animal, different weather conditions, or a new sensation while you are on the board.

Helps Reduce Stress

Spending an hour or so out on the water doing yoga is a great stress reducer.

Yoga has been found to reduce the amount of cortisol you secrete, which is the primary stress hormone in your body. Similarly, various studies have shown that regular yoga sessions alleviate stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression participants felt.

Being near (or on) the water has also been found to reduce stress. Researchers in the UK recently found evidence that being in or around the water is incredibly beneficial to human health. These same researchers found that water is incredibly calming for humans and may improve overall well being.

So, during SUP yoga, you get the dual benefits of practicing yoga and being on the water, both of which have been found to improve your stress levels!

Engages Your Muscles

When you do SUP yoga, you have to focus on performing the poses correctly while also maintaining your balance. Therefore, you’ll have to engage many of your large muscle groups during each pose while also tightening your core, so you don’t lose your balance.

The combination of focusing on stability and correctly performing poses makes SUP yoga an incredible workout that can tone your arms, legs, abs, and other parts of your body.

Some of the best poses for engaging your muscles during SUP yoga are chair pose, plank pose, high lunge, and downward-facing dog. All of these poses stretch and strengthen your body, providing you with optimal muscle engagement during your practice.

Improves Your Balance

SUP yoga is fantastic for enhancing your balance. When you do yoga on a paddleboard, you have to focus on performing the poses while also tightening your core and stabilizing your legs to prevent yourself from falling overboard. You also have to adjust your positioning based on the waves and the weather, further increasing your balancing abilities.

You may be wondering, why is enhancing my balance so important? Well, falling is the number one cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older individuals. So, you must start improving your balance today so you can avoid harming yourself in the future!

If you’d like to learn some of the best SUP yoga moves that will help you improve your balance, check out this video by Caron from Personal Best Health & Performance. In the video, Caron goes through multiple poses that will challenge your balance while also strengthening your body.

Every Class Will Be Different

Water, wind, and weather conditions are always changing, so no two yoga classes will ever be the same. The different circumstances you’ll experience each class are one of the most exciting (and most difficult) aspects of SUP yoga. Every session will be a new challenge for you to face. While the weather may be still and calm one day, the next day may be windy and rough. You’ll have to be ready to face any circumstances on your board and adjust your body accordingly.

Helps You to Become More Mindful

Mindfulness is the ability for humans to be fully present and to live in the moment. When you are mindful, you can focus on what’s going on right now without worrying about or reacting to the things around you.

Being mindful is much harder than it sounds. Humans are very easily distracted and often struggle to pay attention to the present moment. Even during typical yoga classes, it can be easy to get lost in your thoughts and not truly focus on your current surroundings.

If you’d like to improve your mindfulness, you should give SUP yoga a try! When you do yoga on a paddleboard, you have to be too focused on your breath, body movements, and balance. If you aren’t concentrating, it’s very easy to topple over and fall into the water!

Makes Experienced Yogis Feel Like Beginners

If you are an experienced yogi, you may be so accustomed to your yoga routine that you feel like you’re on autopilot every time you go through the poses. If you always do the same routine in the same environment, you may lose the passion and curiosity you once had.

To make yourself more aware and excited for your practice, do SUP yoga! Doing yoga on the water adds an extra challenge that can make the poses feel difficult, even for seasoned yogis. Changes in the weather make the practice even more demanding since you’ll frequently need to adjust your position depending on the wind and wave conditions.

Performing this new form of yoga will reinvigorate you and will make you feel excited to practice again. So, if you are getting a little bored with your current routine, make sure to give SUP yoga a try!

It Is Easy to Cool Down

When you do yoga on-land, it’s easy to get hot and sweaty during your practice. After class, if you want to cool down, your only options are to wait your turn to use the shower(s) at your yoga facility (if they even have showers) or drive home in your sweaty clothes and take a shower once you get there.

During SUP yoga, however, you don’t have this problem. If you get hot at any point during class, all you have to do is jump in the water to feel instantly refreshed. After class, you can take a nice relaxing swim to cool down your body and lower your heart rate.

So, doing SUP yoga means you’ll never have to drive home all hot and sweaty again!

Allows You to Meet New People

Going to a SUP yoga class is a great way to meet new friends who share similar interests. If you are new to your area or simply want to expand your social group, regularly attending a SUP yoga class can be a fantastic way to meet new people.

If you meet new friends, you guys can take your boards out and practice poses outside of class to enhance your skills. Or, maybe you could go for a leisurely swim after a SUP yoga session with your new crew. No matter what you end up doing, it’ll be nice to meet new friends who are also interested in improving their mental and physical health!

Conclusion

SUP yoga is a great activity that is beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. This form of yoga improves your balance and core strength since you have to remain stable on the board throughout the session.

SUP yoga is both stimulating and challenging, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever get bored. You’ll get to experience the beauty of nature while also taking on varying weather conditions, making SUP yoga one of the most exciting ways you can practice.

We hope this article has convinced you to give SUP yoga a try!

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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