How SUP Yoga Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals
Are you tired of staying indoors after the many months of enforced confinement necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic?
If the thought of getting your daily dose of exercise inside another stuffy yoga studio seems less than exciting, then you should definitely give SUP yoga a try.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a growing water sport that involves using an paddleboard to stand straight on a body of water, while propelling yourself forward with the help of an adjustable paddle.
While stand-up paddleboarding can be a fun and healthy workout on its own, you will meet your fitness goals much faster if you combine it with the strength- and immunity-building practice of yoga.
Originating in 2013, SUP yoga is usually practiced in relatively calm waters, such as that of a lake or an outdoor pool. Some of the primary benefits of this innovative fitness routine have been listed below.
- Greater Focus and Mindfulness
One of the major benefits of SUP yoga is that it almost forces you to focus on your own posture and movements.
In a traditional yoga studio, you may feel tempted to look over at what your fellow practitioners are doing, to see if you got a particular pose just right.
However, during SUP yoga, your paddleboard will start wobbling in the water the moment you stop focusing on your own movements. To keep yourself from falling into the water, you’ll be forced to direct your gaze downwards and re-center yourself.
If you’ve been doing yoga for a long time, you probably go through many of the movements on autopilot by now. SUP yoga will help spice things up and encourage you to concentrate on your workout once again.
After all, maintaining an advanced position like the Ustrasana (Camel Pose) while floating on the water requires every shred of focus you can spare; but if performed correctly, it will exert and stretch nearly every muscle in your body.
- Amplified Balance
With the water under your paddleboard constantly moving in unpredictable ways, even simple yoga poses such as Chaturanga can be challenging to hold for prolonged periods.
SUP yoga can help strengthen your core and correct imbalances in your posture, simply because the board will wiggle (or maybe even overturn) every time you lose your balance.
If your posture is incorrect, you won’t have to wait for your yoga instructor to tell you so. You’ll feel it in your bones when your paddleboard starts floundering in the water, losing its stability.
Even the poses that previously seemed hard to execute on land will come easier, over time. After you have managed to hold a pose on a floating paddleboard, holding it on land would be no trouble at all.
- Improved Muscle Engagement
When executing the Tadasana (Mountain Pose), your yoga instructor will often tell you to press down with every corner of both your feet.
This is to ensure that you are engaging every muscle in each foot during the exercise. This can, however, be difficult to accomplish, because we are not used to engaging those muscles when standing or walking on stable ground.
When you are floating in the nearby lake, standing on a paddleboard, you will find yourself naturally engaging those unused muscles, pressing down with every corner of your foot. You would need to do so, in order to hold the intricate yoga poses without toppling over into the water.
The many intrinsic, balancing muscles in your body – that are not utilized during regular, land-based workouts – will have to be developed and strengthened during SUP yoga practice.
- Contact with Nature
Apart from being an excellent workout technique, SUP yoga is also a great option for those looking for some outdoor recreation in the lap of nature.
Having relaxed into Shavasana at the end of your yoga session, you can let your hands and feet dip into the cool water, lying on your paddleboard as you soak in the sounds and sensations of Mother Nature.
As you hear the birds calling, watch the fish jumping in and out of the water, and feel the wind caressing your face, you’ll feel closer to the earth than you ever would have inside an indoor studio.
Performing yoga out in the open will also let you breathe in all the fresh air that your body needs. The air around a lake or reservoir will typically have higher oxygen levels, and a lower-than-average concentration of pollutants.
As a result, while practicing SUP yoga, you will be able to enjoy the bounties of nature in a way that few people in the modern world have access to.
Find the Perfect SUP Package for You
One of the most important factors that will determine how quickly you achieve your fitness goals through SUP yoga is the quality of equipment you use.
The basic equipment you’ll need, in order to participate in SUP yoga sessions, are an inflatable paddleboard, an adjustable paddle, a dual-stage pump, a snap-in center fin, an 8-inch coiled leash, and a backpack in which to carry all your gear.
To stay within your budget and make things easier on yourself, you can choose to purchase a high-quality SUP package from a trusted manufacturer. Such a package will contain all the above-mentioned pieces of equipment.
Buying them all from a single seller will also ensure that all the items are of a similar quality. So you won’t need to spend time repairing and replacing individual pieces of SUP equipment every few weeks.
Still, the best SUP packages do contain a well-stocked repair kit, for enhanced safety. Just in case you need one while doing SUP yoga along the shores of some remote island on the other side of the planet.
After all, once you can do your Sun Salutations on a floating paddleboard, there’ll be very few things indeed that can hold you back!