Why Try SUP Yoga?
When people ask me what I’m doing lately and I answer, “teaching SUP Yoga…” they either know exactly what I mean, or they give me a sideways quizzical look. So I figured it’s about time to set the record straight and do some explaining. SUP Yoga, or stand up paddleboard yoga is a relatively new activity to our area. It combines the two complimentary sports of stand up paddleboarding and, yup, you guessed it, yoga! I tried it about two years ago and was instantly hooked. This practice just makes sense to me.
Class is taught on the water using your paddleboard as a floating yoga mat. It’s brilliant! The currents, motion of the water, and winds create a studio unlike any other. And because you’re practicing in an organically changing environment, no two classes (or poses) are ever the same. If you haven’t tried a class yet, I urge you to do so. Step out of your comfort zone, off of your mat, and onto a board! Here are my top five reasons to try a SUP Yoga class. You’ll be happy you did!
1. Try Something New SUP Yoga is a fun new way to enjoy a workout in nature’s beautiful surroundings. It doesn’t get much better than listening to the wind in the trees, the birds singing, and the ripple of the water while you float on the river in your child’s pose. The upside down view of the clouds in the sky while in Downward Dog is always a nice treat. And believe me when I say there is no better way to end a class than an on water Savasana (final resting pose) with the sun warming you and the current lulling you into… pure bliss!
2. Challenge Your Balance Floating on the water adds a whole new dimension to your yoga balance. The motion of the water creates instability that forces you to go with the flow. The constantly changing platform fires up your muscles in ways that they are not used to being utilized. Muscles work hard to keep you balanced and atop of your board, thus creating a finely tuned workout. This type of engagement between body and mind will help strengthen your attention in daily life. Or as I like to say, “Be here now.”
3. Strengthen Your Core Ahhh, the core. We’ve all been told to “strengthen our core.” But what exactly does that mean? Your core muscles are made up of your abdominals, obliques, upper/lower back, shoulders, gluteal muscles and pelvic floor. A SUP Yoga class will have you using all of these muscles to keep you stable and in your poses, while still floating on your board. However, if you should fall in (which we all do sometimes) what’s the worst that could happen? You’ll get wet, have a laugh, and climb right back onboard.
4. Feel Successful We all want to feel success and a sense of accomplishment with each new activity we try, right? Once you try it, see how much fun it is, and how successful it makes you feel, you’ll be hooked! Yoga in itself will give you a sense of happiness, but SUP Yoga will give your self-esteem a boost and you’ll float away with a smile on your face and a blissful new excitement in your heart. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.
5. Make New Friends The stand up paddleboarding community is one fun group of individuals who just want to “share the stoke” of the sport. The Yoga community is known for it’s openhearted joy and acceptance. These two are made for each other! Getting a workout, having a great time and meeting new people is a major added bonus. However, I must warn you to be cautious; hugs run rampant in both circles.
Shelby Russell Neubauer is a California Power Yoga, OnBoard SUP Yoga, and ASI WSUPA certified instructor with an energetic passion for the practice of yoga and standup paddleboarding.