Photo: SUPGirlz.com (@supgirlz) on Twitter
If you’re hoping to take your regular yoga class to the next level, standup paddle board (or SUP) yoga may be your new fitness fix. With a focus on testing balance and combining the serenity of yoga with the unique exercise of paddle boarding, this water-friendly workout is the best of both worlds. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about this standup paddle board (or SUP) yoga trend:
SUP yoga offers a full-body workout: Whether you’re aiming for a defined six-pack of abs, sculpted shoulders or perfect posture, SUP yoga is your best fitness move. The pressure also allows you to develop strong obliques. The extra challenge of tricky yoga poses on a board builds strength, flexibility and agility.
It can also be practised indoors: If the chilly autumn wind is preventing you from taking an outdoor class in the water, there’s no need to take this fast-paced activity off your workout calendar. After all, SUP yoga can be practised indoors in a swimming pool or even on dry land. Besthealthmag.ca recommends the six-foot long Indo Yoga Board for an indoor session, perfect for bringing the lake experience right into the gym.
The exercise is a great choice for yogis who are new to paddle boarding: If you’ve been mastering your yoga asanas while in the studio, you can easily make the switch to practising yoga while balancing on a board. According to AceFitness.org, the exercise works for anyone looking for an exciting new experience. Advanced yogis can challenge themselves with new poses, while beginners can master the basics with a twist.
Being in motion helps to tone the body’s core muscles: The constant motion of paddle boarding is fantastic for building a toned core. According to Yoga Journal, the combination of movement and yoga allows the body to strengthen arm and core muscles. Even smaller muscle groups in the core that aren’t used as often can feel the pressure, and develop from it.
Many yoga poses can be taken right from the studio to a paddle board: You may be used to practising your Downward-Facing Dog, Tree Pose or Plank Pose on a sweaty mat on a hardwood floor. Luckily, most of these poses can be brought right out onto your paddle board for a double-trouble workout. If you’re in water, try the seated Half Lord of The Fishes yoga pose or the balancing Bow Pose to help stabilize the body as you ease into this new workout.