The Ultimate Guide to Yoga SUP
SUP Yoga is the latest trend to take the world of outdoor fitness and mindfulness by storm as more and more people try their hand at what remains to be a relatively new sport. The twist on Yoga and Stand-Up Paddle boarding is, as the name might suggest, that you take part in both sports simultaneously, manipulating your body in a range of different positions whilst balancing on an inflatable stand up paddle board.
Here at F-One, we believe everyone could benefit from taking time to themselves, to step back from the bustling world around them and reconnect with nature – and the fact that it’s combined with one of our favourite sports of SUP is just an added bonus! We’ve created a guide for those considering trying their hand at this new sport that is bang-on trend to introduce you to the basics and prepare you for your first session out on the water!
Before You Start
Find a SUP Board
There are various SUP board varieties available on the market and if you’re looking for high quality boards from a trusted retailer, get in touch, we just might know some people who can help… In all seriousness, boards need to be on the more stable side of things to accommodate the more daring yoga poses and to save you from a downward deep-sea dive! Our advice is to rent one a couple of times before you commit to a purchase to first, check that SUP Yoga is for you, and second, determine which board is best suited to you. Most people tend to opt for an inflatable stand up paddle board.
Check the Weather
To ensure your first experience with SUP yoga is as good as it can be, we recommend opting for a sunny, calm day where you can easily learn the basics. Check the weather reports for any signs of incoming unsettled weather and avoid rain and thunderstorms – there’s something not so zen about trying to relax while hail stones spray down onto you and the board.
Prepare on Dry Land
As you might imagine, if you have never done yoga before it makes sense to master the basic poses on dry land before you head out on the water. Find classes in your area and attend before you even attempt to do so on water, and perhaps even trial a few sessions on your board on dry land so you can perfect your spatial awareness. This will usually be included in professional SUP yoga lessons if this is the route you have chosen to go down. You can also check out our recent blog post, How to Get in Shape for Paddle Boarding.
Locate the Centre
As with most things, the centre of the board is where it is most balanced, meaning finding this is vital to keeping yourself stable whilst changing poses on the water. Find a marker such as a piece of writing or the end of the handle or mark the centre with coloured tape as a point of reference.
Five Beginner Poses
Whilst you might have seen experienced yoga SUP boarders mastering the headstand at sunset on Instagram, you’ll probably need to start with the less photogenic basic poses. Here are five of the easiest to try out during your first few sessions:
A fantastic place for any beginner to start is the Savasna pose, which involved lying on your back with legs fully extended and gazing straight up towards the sky. Hands can be kept at your sides, dangled in the water (perhaps if practising in warmer climes) or crossed over your chest and then close your eyes while taking deep, long breaths. This is a great way to allow your mind, body and soul to relax.
Great for both yoga and fitness, the plank pose strengthens your upper body, core and spine and is completed exactly how you would do a plank pose on land. Position your shoulders above your wrists and manoeuvre your body into a straight line, from head to heels. Keep your gaze down at the board and feel the burn in your core whilst you maintain this pose for as long as you can.
A challenge for your core, boat pose works the abdominal muscles and strengthens the lower back for a fantastic work out. Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you and lower your upper body whilst keeping you back straight until you are at a 45-degree angle. Use your core to elevate your legs until your body forms a v and extend your arms out in front of you holding for as long as possible.
Start on your hands and knees, with your legs hip-width apart and your hands directly below the shoulders. Raise your hips towards the sky until your legs are fully extended and your body is positioned in somewhat of an inverted V. Spread your fingers to help you balance, hang your head wherever comfortable and inhale and exhale deeply as you relax.
Lie on the board on your front with your palms located under your shoulders. Push yourself up and back to cause a stretch without pushing yourself too far and press your feet into the board to lift your quads and knees up off the board. Keep your gaze firmly ahead and hold this stretch for as long as you can.
That concludes our guide to SUP Yoga for beginners – we hope you have found it informative and that you have now been inspired to hit the open water. Are you already an experienced SUP Yoga enthusiast? Let us know any tips you may have for beginners via the comments on our social media platforms!