This article was originally posted on June 13, 2013 on MindBodyGreen.com
Stand-up paddleboarding appears to be growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. The increasing popularity of using SUP for yoga is highlighted by the many stand-up paddleboard companies that have begun to manufacture boards specifically for yoga. For the yoga community, this should be great news!
It’s been my experience that most yogis like to connect with nature. We find solace in exploring the outdoors and tend to travel where we can find more peace. That’s why if you have yet to experience the wonderful act of standing on water and paddling to a quiet spot, where you find yourself moving through various yogapostures to build up a sweat, then you should find your nearest accredited SUP yoga instructor and take a paddle to experience firsthand this magical act of walking on water.
What to expect on your SUP yoga Session:
1. Stand-up paddleboarding is beginner friendly.
First off, if you’ve never been on a stand-up paddleboard, don’t be discouraged. Paddle boards are extremely stable and built for you to balance on them. Your instructor will know how to get you up on the board and show you the proper ways to paddle for momentum, how to stop, and how to turn.
2. You’ll work your CORE, CORE, and MORE CORE.
Expect to engage your CORE! Your abdominals are essential to proper paddling and avoiding any discomfort in your lower back. By engaging the muscular energy in your core, you’ll not only tone your muscles but will find a deeper sense of strength inside you.
3. It’s truly a full-body experience.
You’ll work your legs, your feet and your arms. Your feet are your central connection to your board, so think about Tadasana “mountain pose” where your feet are your roots. You engage your legs for even more stability, so make sure to put a slight bend in the knees, and avoid stiffening up the lower half of your body. Be relaxed. The act of paddling comes from the core but you use your arms to create moment with every paddle stroke.
4. It’s relaxing.
Savasana , or “corpse pose,” on the paddleboard will be the best savasana of your life! Ending a class in savasana on the stand-up paddleboard is nothing short of amazing. Imagine, for a moment, lying quietly on your back, floating with movement of the water with fingers dangling in the water and a warm breeze brushing over your body as you listen to the sounds of birds chirping and water lapping the nearest shore.
5. You’ll wash away your fear.
Expect to fall in! Why? Because we have the opportunity to play, and with playfulness comes the ability to let go of our fears and try something daring. The great part about falling in the water is it’s refreshing and makes you feel alive.
You truly connect with yourself and nature in moments where you’re able to let go of anything outside of that moment. SUP yoga uses all of the aspects of traditional yoga on the mat, but by adding the dynamic of being on water in a natural setting, you see for yourself how we’re all connected. So enjoy, feel alive, feel refreshed and get on a board this summer! You won’t be disappointed you tried it!