In Sanskrit, “yoga” refers to a connection or union. And for SUP yogis, this union is elevated when you add fresh air, sunlight and the weight-altering power of water. With a fluid surface, the burdens of life have less effect on you and gradually dissipate into the gentle waves.
Of course, it’s not all about the heavenly moments. Paddleboard yoga also involves a fair amount of falling. And that’s part of the appeal. Ungracefully splashing into the water is simply another rejuvenating aspect of the practice. One more element of the union.
So if you want to try SUP yoga, leave your ego on the beach. Prepare to have fun and get wet. And get ready for a completely new array of sensations for the muscles. Your core will naturally activate to a greater degree to compensate for the fluid surface, and you’ll notice muscles getting involved in ways they never did back at the studio on Main Street.
Here are five poses, of varying complexity, that can give you a memorable SUP yoga experience.
Don’t let the name fool you—this can still be a tricky SUP pose for beginners. Because it’s a familiar position, however, you can focus less on the mechanics and more on your surroundings. Check the step-by-step instructions here.
This advanced pose looks absolutely gorgeous on a paddleboard. It opens up your chest and empowers the lungs, so breathe deeply. Fresh air is one of the key ingredients for an invigorating day on the water.
This classic forward bend is one of the few poses that has name recognition in the general public. It’s also a good pose for rookies as they find their sea legs. It stretches your whole body and you’ll really feel it in your spine.
Is this a difficult pose? Yep. Will you fall while attempting it? Probably. But Warrior 2 is one of those poses that merges perfectly with the surf roots of SUP.
Don’t let the name fool you… this pose will make you feel more alive than ever. After a day of falling, getting back up and ultimately achieving poses on your board, reward yourself by lying on the board on your back. Let your feet and hands dangle into the water. It’s pure bliss.
BONUS: Two poses NOT to try on your paddleboard (I dare you).
The basic Peacock pose is challenging enough, requiring immense arm and wrist strength. The Wounded Peacock takes it to the next level, with all your weight balancing on one hand as your legs rise up behind you. It’s risky on a solid surface, so attempting it SUP-style might result in more than a Wounded Peacock!
Lotus Headstand Variation with Bound Legs
Headstand poses like this are unique because you don’t even use your hands or forearms for balance. It’s just your noggin resting on the ground, with your legs in a vertical diamond shape. Trying it on your board would be a recipe for disaster.