SUP yoga’s ever increasing popularity has SUP Yoga schools and classes popping up across the country and the world. This type of practice is identical to a normal Yoga flow but instead of a mat you are on a standup paddle board. With the help of Mandy our San Diego resident SUP Yoga guru we put together an introduction to Standup Paddle Board Yoga. Before participating in your first class, we recommend you already have some yoga practice experience. We suggest you practice how to do these 10 paddle board yoga poses before attending a class.
Zen Girl Mandy:
Mandy Burstein is one of our Isle ambassadors who helped us in designing our Women’s Yoga Paddle Board. Mandy has been teaching group and private SUP Yoga Classes for several years now so it was only right that we ask her for some advice on what to expect during a SUP Yoga Class. You can connect with Mandy on Facebook or Instagram and visit her blog, Zen Girl.
What should you expect?
A typical SUP Yoga class is 75 – 90 minutes long. The first few minutes includes an overview of the equipment and paddle techniques on land, so you are prepared once out on the water. The teacher will help the students launch their boards into the water. Go for a nice group paddle, warming up your muscles and your breath. The postures will be very similar to those practiced in a typical Vinyasa class — sun salutations, chaturanga, downdog, warrior poses, etc., culminating in Savasana — the best part! After your final resting pose and guided meditation, students paddle back to their launch spot and return to land refreshed and renewed.
“Go for a nice group paddle, warming up your muscles and your breath.”
There will be distractions, you are practicing outside. Try not to look around too much at the birds or any sea creatures you come across. That could distract you from balancing and make you fall off your board. Use a drishti (gaze point) just like in your yoga practice. Stay focused and present and you’ll do great!
“Use a drishti (gaze point) just like in your yoga practice.”
What should you wear?
A bikini, layered with tank top and shorts/capris you don’t mind getting wet, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Equipment: paddleboard (at least 30″ wide), paddle, leash. Optional: GoPro to take pictures, EcoRox for class music.
What are the dangers?
The biggest danger is that you can potentially fall in the water, so it’s a requirement that you already know how to swim before you take a SUP Yoga class. There are also some poses you don’t want to try on a board.
What are the benefits?
You can get a deeper sense of connection to nature, the opportunity to be 100% present during your practice, savasana under the sun, breathing and flowing with the sea, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to try something new and different; extremely challenging to your balance. You can gain increased balance, focus, strength and courage practicing SUP Yoga.
“pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to try something new and different”
The Best SUP Yoga Boards
When looking for a paddle board for sup yoga you certainly want a board that is going to be very stable and a soft full deck traction so you can practice the full length of the board. The variety of Yoga SUP Boards that we offer covers everyone’s needs. If you’re looking for a hard epoxy board we suggest you get the Glider AW or our Versa which both have a wide outline allowing more surface area on the water. Furthermore, if you are looking for an inflatable SUP options then our Women’s iSUP is perfect due to the wide outline and soft comfortable deck pad. It quickly rolls up into the size of a sleeping bag to store anywhere easily and inflates in around 5 minutes offering a nice little bonus warm up.
Sometimes your paddle can get in the way of your practice while resting on top of the board and for this reason we added a paddle strap bungee to the side rail of the Women’s Inflatable board.
Leave your expectations (and fancy yoga clothes!) at home! The more open-minded and open-hearted you are, the better the experience will be. Trust your teacher and use this opportunity to breathe deeper than you ever have before. Bring a friend! Class is so much more fun when you bring a friend. You’ll have someone to laugh with you if you fall in 🙂