Are you looking for a workout that will benefit both your physical and mental health? Either stand up paddle boarding or yoga are both great on their own – but even better when put together!
This post is a complete guide to SUP yoga. After reading, you’ll know what it is, why you should do it, what you need, and how it will benefit your health. So, let’s check it out.
What is SUP yoga
It really is as simple as it sounds. SUP yoga is a crossover between the increasingly popular board sport of stand up paddle boarding and the super popular form of exercise: yoga! You might have seen yogis balancing on their boards on Instagram in front of a stunning backdrop and thought you’d never be able to do that, but it’s nowhere near as hard as you think.
While SUP yoga is a little more difficult than the land version at first, once you’ve got accustomed to it, there’ll be no substitute.
Why do SUP yoga
Embrace the outdoors
Everyone feels better after spending time outdoors. Whether that’s in green space within your (city or out in the mountains, you’re sure to feel better afterward. The great thing about a SUP yoga studio is it could be anything from a mountain lake to a white-sand beach. Unlike mountain biking or surfing, SUP yoga is gentle and tranquil – meaning you have time to take in your surroundings without them flashing past you!
Spice up your regular yoga routine
If you’ve been doing yoga for years from the comfort of your own bedroom or even a local studio, it can begin to feel a bit stale. If you want to ignite your spark for yoga again, doing it in beautiful surroundings each week while feeling the gentle rocking of the water beneath you sure is up there with the best ways to do it!
Many people cite their reason for doing both SUP and yoga as something to reduce stress. The combination of being surrounded by nature and the therapeutic effects of the water that you get from SUP, as well as the slowing down of breathing and existing in the present from yoga, meaning that after a few minutes you’re millions of miles from the stresses of everyday life!
What you need for SUP yoga
The first thing you’re going to need for your workout is a paddleboard. How could you practice yoga poses on water otherwise?! The good news is that you don’t need a specialized yoga paddleboard, but they are available. These will often come with places to hold your paddle when you’re not using it. When it comes to sizing, look for extra wide yoga paddleboards with large traction pads. These factors are important for stability.
If you have an adjustable paddle of any kind, you can use that for SUP yoga. Most of the time, you won’t actually be using your paddle. That’s more to get you to the perfect zen spot! When you’re ready to lay your paddle down, if your board doesn’t have a holder, store it in the board’s bungees or wrap your leash around it. That way you can focus on yoga safe in the knowledge your paddle is floating nearby.
Personal Floatation Device
Even if you’re confident you won’t fall off your board, a personal floatation device is a must when doing SUP yoga. Use a compact PFD around your waist – it makes it much easier to do the cobra pose that way!
Anchor or Tether
A personal floatation device is necessary but an anchor or tether isn’t. However, you still will probably want to consider it for your SUP yoga sessions. These (as you might expect from the name) keep your board in one place and maintain stability as you arrange your body into yoga poses. They’re particularly useful if you’re doing a group yoga class – you won’t bump into other members or even worse, your instructor!
Health Benefits of SUP yoga
We’ve already touched a little on the mental health benefits of yoga earlier on, but here are some of the most important physical benefits too.
Works every muscle
There are very few muscles that are left alone during a SUP yoga workout. Even in regular SUP, your legs, back, and core are working overtime to keep you balanced on the board. This improves your balance. When paddling, your arms and shoulders are key in propelling you forward.
Bringing in more muscles to execute yoga poses also helps your flexibility. As well as falling over less, such an intense core workout also means you might be seeing a six-pack developing!
SUP does work every muscle, but there’s one that has a different effect on others, and that is the heart. The heart is working hard to pump oxygen to all of the muscles you’re using, in turn, increases circulation throughout your body. In the short term, this will leave you feeling good – which no one can be disappointed by. However, in the long term, it’ll reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and other health scares.
Helps to lose weight
Last but not least, some people see building muscle tone as a nice bonus, but their key motivation for exercise is losing weight. SUP yoga is good for burning around 500 calories per session, which is more than twice what you’d burn from walking at your average pace.