Advice for the first-time SUP Yoga folks.
You don’t need super natural flexibility or amazing balance to try SUP yoga. Come as you are. It is easier than you think. The ability to swim and a desire to try are all that’s necessary.
While the SUP yoga experience is completely different from a studio yoga practice, the yoga philosophy remains the same on the board; still the mind and unify body, mind & spirit. Practicing in the open sky and feeling connected to the natural world quickly brings a sense of freedom, peace and joy to the yoga. Focusing on the breath and awareness of your movements are key to maintaining balance on the board. The focus and ease come with time as you practice and will help to develop mindfulness. And what happens if you lose your balance? Don’t worry, it’s a soft landing and you’ll only get wet! Letting go of the fear is part of the challenge. Sometimes we fall, we get back up, and we try again. It’s part of life and definitely part of the fun of SUP yoga. Most importantly, it is meant to be lots of fun!
Class always begins with getting comfortable on the board and some basic paddling tips and instruction first. We paddle together until we reach a calm destination to anchor. The yoga practice begins with warming up slowly and getting adjusted to how the board feels while sitting or kneeling. Many of the same poses done in a studio can be done on the board. Positioning of the hands and feet may be different to create more stability. So, what happens if you get out there, freak out, and can’t find your balance on the board? Everyone is encouraged to respect and honor their own limits; everything can be modified to your comfort level. Finding balance on the board can be challenging and yet it is very rewarding. The constant motion of the water under the board fires up the stabilizing muscle groups and the core in ways that a land practice does not require. In my opinion, nothing beats ending in savasana floating on the board. This final resting pose is where all work assimilates and rejuvenates the body in a deep rest. Feeling the warmth of sun on the skin, the sounds of nature, and the gentle lull of the water beneath you leaves you thoroughly relaxed and gratified. As you paddle back to land with a sense of empowerment and fulfillment you may realize it’s not just about SUP yoga, its another opportunity to believe in yourself, challenge your limits, and rise above your fears.