Words and Photos by Rebecca Parsons
Yoga is an age-old practice that helps build muscle strength, improve flexibility and enhance your mood. In recent years, SUP yoga has been rising in popularity and for good reason. Adding a board to your practice forces you to slow down and further focus on your posture and balance, as well as fully engage your muscles for a well-rounded workout.
Doing yoga on a SUP may seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of simple poses to ease the transition. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for five beginner poses to help take your practice to the next level.
This pose works to lengthen your spine and alleviate back pain, high blood pressure and stress.
- Begin on your hands and knees—with your knees hip-width apart and hands directly below your shoulders. This starting position is referred to as the Table Top pose.
- From the Table Top pose, slowly raise your hips upwards until your legs are fully extended and your body is an inverted V. For added stability, spread your fingers apart.
- Relax your neck and allow your head to hang in the direction of the board.
- Inhale and exhale deeply and allow yourself to fully relax.
This pose is a great yoga and fitness pose as it strengthens your upper body, spine and core.
- From the Downward Dog, shift your weight forward until your shoulders are in line with your wrists.
- Position your body to form a line from the crown of your head to your heels.
- Look down at your board and engage your core for a great workout. Hold as long as you can.
This pose is an excellent core exercise as it works to tone the abdominal muscles and strengthen the lower back.
- Begin in a sitting position with your legs fully extended in front of you.
- Slowly lower your upper body until you are positioned at a 45-degree angle—be sure and keep your back straight.
- Using your core, raise your legs until they are in 45-degree angle as well. Keep your legs pressed together for added stability. Your body should now form a V.
- With your fingers pointed, lift your arms to shoulder height and extend them out in front of you. Hold as long as you can.
Not only does this pose strengthen the core and legs, but it also opens up the hips and chest.
- Bend your front knee into a 90-degree angle and extend your back leg out behind you. Position your hands near your front foot to help with balance as you get into position.
- Once you find your balance, slowly move your hands to your front knee. Carefully raise your arms above your head until they are fully extended and press your palms together.
- Lean back slightly to experience the stretch fully.
- Breathe in deeply and hold the pose for at least five breaths before switching sides.
This pose may seem simple but is the perfect way to finish out your practice as it allows the mind and body to fully relax.
- Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and your head facing up.
- Position your hands at your sides, dangle them in the water, or cross them over your chest.
- Close your eyes and take long, deep breaths.
The article was originally published on Standup Paddling
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