Paddle board yoga is one of the most incredible experiences out there. If you’ve done yoga or paddle boarded before, then you’ll know that they’re both amazing workouts and require a lot of core strength.
However, combining the two takes it to a new level and can really help strengthen your mind and muscles. If you’ve never done it before, then you’ll probably want to read through our guide to make sure you’re not spending the entire time in the water!
Why Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) Yoga?
The two sports may seem a bit odd to combine together, but once you try it for the first time, you’ll need no explanations. But for those who haven’t yet tried it, why?
- To do something different! Don’t you get tired of doing the same old thing? There are so many physical activities we participate in, but for many, we never try anything new. Doing yoga on a paddleboard can engage muscles that you don’t even know you had! They’re definitely not engaged on a regular basis, so this is something new and fun.
- To keep yourself aware. Sometimes it feels like we’re always engaged with a screen. We see what other people are thinking and posting on social media so much that we oftentimes neglect our own thoughts and can struggle to stay present and “enjoy the moment”. Many of us tend to always wonder what’s next and live in these virtual worlds more than our physical one. Doing yoga on a wobbly surface doesn’t give you the choice to keep your mind elsewhere. You must be present and aware of how your body is moving and the energy you’re putting out.
- To take you back to square one. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for many, being put in the position of a beginner again is fun and exciting. Even if you feel advanced with either yoga or paddle boarding, you’ll likely find SUP yoga to be a great challenge.
To make sure you’re starting out on the right foot, you need to have the right gear!
- Stand up paddle board – We assumed you already knew this part, but make sure you have a wide, stable SUP. If it comes with a squishy deck pad, that’s even better as without one, the boards can become uncomfortable during long poses.
- Paddle – Oftentimes, your board will come with a SUP paddle. You may want one with an adjustable length so you can adjust it according to your individual height and preferences. When you’re done paddling and ready for yoga, simply set it across your board near the nose. Alternatively, you can wrap your coil leash around it a couple times and let it float in the water. If your leash isn’t coiled, simply use the hook-and-loop strap.
- Leash – We already covered this but yes, you need a leash to keep it from getting away if you happen to fall off.
- Personal flotation device (PFD) – These are not only a good idea but required generally if you’re on the water. As you’ll be doing yoga with it, try to get one that’s not too bulky or one that’s inflatable.
Now, we’re on to the actual beginner’s tips! Let’s take a look so you can have the best experience yoga paddle boarding yet!
Find a sheltered location – This means that you’ll want to try and avoid windiness or large waves as this is not only challenging for yoga, but can be risky for any beginner. Also remember to avoid areas where there’s a lot of boat traffic as it’s not only dangerous, but they can create large wakes that can easily knock you off your board.
Find Seclusion – Even if you’re a social person, you’ll want to make sure you’re in an area that isn’t crowded. We recommend going with a friend or family member if it’s your first time for safety and support but trying SUP yoga for the first time in front of an audience may make you nervous.
Move with Awareness – This means you want to try to avoid making any sudden movements that could cause you to fall off the board. You may already feel comfortable with certain yoga poses, but you’ll have to do them slower on a SUP.
Keep Your Stance Wide and Head High – To help keep your balance you’ll want to keep your feet shoulder-width or wider apart. We know that yoga poses generally encourage a very narrow stance which also helps build awareness and balance. However, when it comes do doing yoga on a stand up paddle board, you’ll need a more stable stance.
On top of that, when you’re actually paddling to your location or back to shore, you want to avoid looking down. It can be natural to want to look down at your feet or board, but this can cause you to easily lose your balance and fall off. Instead, try developing the habit of looking towards the horizon. You want to look where you want to go.
Don’t be too hard on yourself – Understand that you’re probably not going to be doing a smooth yoga session right away, even if you do so on land. We are at the mercy of what the water wants to do, so we will actively be working to maintain balance. However, this not only builds muscular strength, but character!
Now that you’ve read through all the beginner tips for stand up paddle boarding, are you ready to conquer your first day out on the water? If you follow these tips you can feel confident that you’re going to do a great job and already be ahead of other beginners who aren’t sure what to do.
We hope that this guide has helped you out in getting you situated. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you again soon! Have a great time out on your board and remember, practice makes perfect!