How Does SUP Enhance Your Yoga Practice?

The Benefits of SUP Yoga

5 Reasons SUP + Yoga are the Perfect Marriage

 

1. Increased strength

SUP yoga targets all those little muscles we often forget we have. Rather than focusing on large muscle groups during a practice on the water you will feel all the little stabilizer muscles that are so important for us to find balance not only on the water, but also on land. It is a full body experience. Rather than focusing all in the core or the legs the entire body needs to be involved to maintain the balance on water.

2. increased confidence

Ever held yourself upside down on water? If your answer is not yet this is one of the most exhilarating experiences. Proving to yourself that you are able to complete such a daunting feat builds a sense of confidence you will find few other places. 

3. become a beginner again

No matter how long you have been a yoga practitioner or if this is your first attempt everyone is a beginner on the board. It teaches us where we are lax in our land practice and where our strengths are. For seasoned yogis it is common to find a new appreciation for their practice and for complete beginners it is reassuring to know that they are stronger than they may think.

4. let go of expectations

Few things on the water are predictable. The beauty of practicing on a moving surface is that the practice changes from moment to moment. Whether it is our expectations going in or nature throwing a wave at us to knock us off our feet. The practice on the water teaches us to live in the moment and let go of what we think "should" be or "could" be. We learn to appreciate all that is.

5. find your inner child

It can be hard to find time to have fun or to allow our daily responsibilities to take over. SUP yoga helps to teach us not just to let go but to laugh and enjoy the simplicity of life. Find the same joy falling into the water as you used to while running through the sprinkler on a hot day as a child. Know that sometimes it's okay to let your inner child out to play.

Ready to float & flow?

9 poses to take from land to water

I frequently get questions about what the best poses are to try on the water for first time SUP yogis. It's important to note that almost every pose feels different on the water than in studio but there are some core poses I teach in just about every class to make even the most beginner yogi feel at home on the board. This doesn't mean that there won't be challenges because don't forget that's half the fun right?!

 Utkatasana (Chair pose)

Utkatasana (Chair pose)

1. Chair pose is an excellent starting place to get your feel for how the board balances and where the center of gravity is. Start with your feet about hip width apart on either side of your handle. As you bend your knees keep your chest lifted and your core engaged.

 Anjaneyasana (Low lunge pose)

Anjaneyasana (Low lunge pose)

2. Starting from table step one foot forward and slightly out to toward the board rail keeping your hips just over the handle of the board. Hand can stay on the board come to the front knee or for an extra challenge extend the arms overhead.

 Parivritta Anjaneyasana (Twisted low lunge pose)

Parivritta Anjaneyasana (Twisted low lunge pose)

3. Keeping one hand inside the front foot on the board extend the opposite arm up lengthening through the spine as you twist.

 Ardha Hanumanasana (Half splits pose)

Ardha Hanumanasana (Half splits pose)

4. Coming from twisted lunge place both hands down, straighten the front leg, and lengthen the spine. For a little added intensity in this pose turn the toes out.

 Chaturanga Dandasana (Four limbed staff pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four limbed staff pose)

5. Stepping back to plank on an exhale slowly lower down parallel to the board by hugging the elbows toward the side body and maintaining a tight core. Keeping the shoulder heads lifted. This can be done either knees up or knees down.

 Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog pose)

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog pose)

6. On an inhale press into the palms and lift the chest keeping the hips low for upward facing dog or a slight bend in the arms for cobra.  

 Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)

7. There is nothing better than flipping your perspective on the water (other than maybe Savasana). Starting from plank lift the hips keeping them directly over the handle of the board and take your hands and feet slightly wider than you do on land to maintain a strong foundation.

 Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

8. Coming from down dog step to the handle of the board and bend the knees placing your hands down on the deck just in front of the handle. Keep your hips low as you hug your knees around your upper arms. Look toward the front (or nose) of the board. Draw your belly button in and play with lifting the feet.

 Supta Hasta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-big-toe-pose)

Supta Hasta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-big-toe-pose)

9. Come all the way to your back for a final stretch. Lay down with the board handle just underneath your sacrum. Hug your knee into your chest and extend your leg upward on an inhale. You can hold the back of the leg or the big toe if it's accessible as you press the opposite thigh bone down. Relax the shoulders and jaw and most importantly SMILE!