SUP Yoga: Land vs. Water

Paddle board yoga

Switching out your yoga mat for a stand up paddle board is a no-brainer.

Practicing yoga while floating on the water sounds like a dream, and we’re here to tell you that this dream can become your reality. Not only are the 360 degree views of nature breathtaking, but practicing yoga on a stand up paddle board will challenge and increase the intensity of your practice. The more you challenge yourself, the better and stronger your yoga skills will become (…young grasshopper).

In the last few years, yoga studios have begun to offer SUP yoga classes at local bays and lakes. Paddle board companies like ISLE have been designing stand up paddle boards (SUPs) specifically with yoga in mind. With so much hype toward this new form of workout, we point out the advantages to SUP yoga vs. yoga on land.

Paddle board yoga

Challenges of SUP yoga 

Practicing yoga on a paddle board is going to be more of a challenge than on land purely because the water provides an unstable surface. In addition, practicing your routine on water creates a lot more distractions (wild life, wind, etc.) and can break your concentration when in your Vinyāsa flow. Beware that certain poses you do on land can be dangerous to do while on a paddle board, specifically anything involving the neck.  However, with practice, you will be able to achieve poses like headstands, shoulder stands and the plow pose.

SUP yoga poses

Benefits of practicing SUP yoga 

SUP yoga will provide you with more of a complete full-body workout than on land.  In order to stay on your board, you need to use your entire core mid-section, your quads are engaged and your calves are getting a solid workout. Furthermore, this core workout forces you to use your muscles which makes it easier on the joints. Almost all the positions are identical except a couple poses like warrior where you need to have a wider stance to remain balanced.

In conclusion, practicing your routine on a paddle board is going to be more psychically intense than a mat because of the unstable surface as well as more concentration. If  you are starting to practice yoga, practice in the studio before heading out to the water to become more successful. Nevertheless, if you’re an experienced yogi then challenge yourself with a new environment.

Yoga on a paddle board

Should I get a hard board or inflatable board for my practice?

Both a hard board (epoxy) and inflatable paddle boards will work great for yoga. However, the durability, portability and comfort of inflatables have become very popular for SUP yoga.  It all depends on your method of transportation and budget.

Tips for purchasing a yoga paddle board

  • Get a board that is at least 2 feet taller than you
  • Boards with straps or bungees on them are advantageous because they could hold your water bottle along with your paddle so it doesn’t get in the way of your routine
  • Try a session on a lake or bay before heading into the ocean because the calm water will be easier to balance

ISLE Yoga paddle boards




Posted in Fitness
Marc Miller - Co-Founder of Isle Surf & SUP. I started Isle back in 2004 to share my love of paddling and surfing in the ocean with others one board at a time. I love to surf, paddle , travel and write about it. When im not in the office I can be found on foreign shores searching for waves and fun.