First of all, what’s a SUP board? SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle.
Stand up paddle boarding originated in Hawaii as an alternative to surfing when the swell was low (Wikipedia). Ever since the activity has grown a lot, turning into a competitive sport as well as a fun low to high fitness activity. Then one day came the combination of stand up paddle boarding and yoga. Wow you say? That’s right, Stand up paddle board yoga (SUP yoga) is awesome!
Stand up paddle board yoga (SUP yoga) is a fun and playful addition to your studio practice.
It helps improve balance, body awareness and muscle integration. You have no choice but to be aware of where your body is in space (proprioception), keep your muscles integrated, especially your core, in order to keep your balance on the board.
Because of the added balance factor, your mind cannot be wandering, you have to be present, giving your full attention and focus on the present moment. This is yoga!
Yoga is union. Of the body and the mind. In SUP yoga it is also union with nature. Connecting to the sounds of the water, the birds… Connecting to the smells of the plants, flowers and trees around…
SUP yoga allows developing inner strength and stability. You not only have to work with your body but also with the elements: optimal conditions are not always there; there might be waves, a breeze, distracting sounds… There is no other choice but to accept the moment as it is.
SUP yoga also teaches us to let go of fear and that it is ok to fall. If you fall, well you have to get over the setback, get back onto the board, and try again. What a wonderful life lesson!
Once the class is over, you will feel empowered from conquering your fear and falls, leaving you recharged with self-confidence and trust that you can do whatever you set your mind to.
There are also various benefits from exercising outside.
20 minutes of daily sunlight gives you a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which is essential for good health.
Studies reported by The New York Times have shown that muscle tension decreases, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol diminish after adults perform the same activities in garden-like environments, as opposed to indoors.
And the floating sensation is very calming. It helps to alleviate the heaviness that life sometimes inflicts upon us.
SUP yoga is suitable for every level, from beginner to advanced. There is no choice but to slow down the practice, great for beginners. And it the extra balance element can be very humbling for the seasoned practitioner (which is not a bad thing sometimes to have our ego put back into place).
But above it all, SUP yoga offers THE best savasana you’ll ever experience. Floating on water, lulled by water’s motion and sound… pure bliss!
For me there is no better feeling than being focused on the present moment, connected with nature, cradled by it sounds and smells. Try stand up paddle board yoga once and you will be hooked!