Do you feel like your regular yoga routine has become a little uninspired lately? Are you weary of practicing yoga within the confines of a tiny, overcrowded yoga studio? Whether you are looking for a change of environment or a new challenge, paddleboard yoga would be a refreshing activity, and given the popularity of the paddleboard yoga community, this fusion fitness sport is definitely a must-try.
What makes paddleboard yoga so special? For one, it combines hatha and vinyasa yoga with stand up paddle (SUP) surfing, and is practiced on calm water, such as a lake or a pool. Don’t be fooled by images of paddleboard yoga practitioners standing cool and collected as they perfect an asana on a paddleboard, though. It may look effortless, yet it takes great strength and flexibility to maintain balance and accurate postures on water. For beginners, the platform can be extremely unstable; they cannot rely on the stability of the ground, but are challenged to engage their entire midsection to stay onboard. In this way, paddleboard yoga trains the core much more rigorously than regular yoga.
Due to the instability of the platform, practitioners also learn to distribute their weight more equally. If they put more weight on one side of their body, the paddleboard will fall out of balance or even topple over, making the practice much more challenging, but also rewarding.
Aside from its physical benefits, paddleboard yoga is believed by many to be even more effective than regular yoga in helping people relax and alleviating stress. Ocean breath, or Ujjayl Pranayama, combined with listening to the sound of the ocean, not only sooth the mind, but also help one become more in tune with nature. By practicing yoga on water, surrounded by the natural landscape, one can gain a better understanding of what yoga is really about – the union of the mind, the body, and soul. Not only that, but the possibility of falling into the water helps practitioners focus on their asanas. “It’s about letting go of the fear,” says Teresa Van Eyk, owner of Satya Yoga, “You get off the water feeling really rejuvenated. It’s empowering.”
And before you become daunted by this seemingly difficult activity, just know this – anyone can do it! SUP yoga instructor Dashama shared that she has taught everyone from toddlers to people over 70 to do yoga on the board. In fact, she added, it does not require much technical skill; “With time and practice, you will get stronger and better to be able to do more advanced poses.”
Better yet, paddleboard yoga has become so popular that it is now offered in numerous facilities and hotels around the country, such as the Wanderlust Festival and the Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. If you wish to be part of this invigorating experience, check out YOGAqua or OnBoardSUP!