6 Insider Tips To Master SUP Yoga

11/03/2016 2 Comment(s) Yoloha Life Blog,


If you haven’t yet given stand up paddle board yoga (i.e. SUP yoga) a try, it’s as hard as it looks. But it’s also just as amazing. A practice that will challenge every sense of balance you mistakenly thought you’d mastered, it’ll push you, humble you, and force you to let go. Let go of any expectations for yourself, let go of your need for control, and let go of the fear that you’ll tumble into the water and make a complete fool of yourself, because chances are you will. But don’t let that discourage you. There’s a reason SUP yoga’s making waves – it’s simply awesome.


6 Insider Tips to Master SUP Yoga I took my first SUP yoga class last year. I hadn’t had much experience on a paddle board, but it was a clear morning, I had no other weekend plans, and a drive down to Laguna Beach is always a good idea, if you’re able beat traffic anyway. I chose to take a class from an instructor rather than venturing out solo and although I was ready to have fun, I maintained pretty low expectations for myself – which is honestly the way to go. I’d been practicing yoga and teaching it for quite some time, but all bets are off once you add water. As a former competitive rower, I knew firsthand how every ripple, breeze, and curious seal can wreak havoc on a boat’s stability, let alone a paddle board’s. 


Over the course of a couple hours, I struggled, laughed, flopped, and inhaled a gallon of seawater, but I couldn’t have asked for a better time. I fell in love with SUP yoga because it’s so unpredictable that you absolutely have to go with the flow and be completely lighthearted through it – which is what yoga’s all about, or should be. On the one hand, I had to be conscious of every inch of my body and intentional with every deep breath I took. On the other, I needed to surrender to the movement of the water below me and make every adjustment necessary (regardless of how pretty) to relax in each posture. Breathe, center, balance, repeat. 


Of course, there are many factors that can affect your first SUP yoga experience for better or for worse, so here are a few ways to set yourself up for success: 


  1. As mentioned above, do yourself a favor and get rid of the idea that SUP yoga will be simple because you’re such a fantastic yogi on land. It’s not the same thing, which is part of why it’s so incredible. 
  2. Go slow and get low. As you might guess, standing postures require extra work on the water. Take your time in finding your balance at the center of your board before you get onto your feet. It may take a few minutes, an hour, or even a bunch of lessons before you’re totally comfortable so be patient and give yourself a break. 
  3. Wear long leggings, at least while you’re still a beginner. You’ll want the extra grip against your arms in balancing postures, especially if you’re a daredevil that plans on getting into firefly or crow pose. 
  4. If you’ll be practicing outdoors, wear a hat or, if you’re bringing sunglasses, invest in one of those totally uncool retainers to wear around your neck (yes, that’s actually what they’re called). You’ll be glad you did when your instructor explains how many people have irrecoverably lost their eyewear to the deep. 
  5. Try not to get sunblock on your hands. Grip is even more important on paddleboards than it is on a yoga mat so don’t do anything to compromise what little stability you’ll have. 
  6. Bring a friend. Camaraderie is pretty nice when just getting into a warrior pose brings with it the possibilities of face-planting onto your board, collapsing onto your stomach, and/or slo-mo nose-diving into the water. You’ll want someone to laugh with you and you’ll definitely want someone who will take a photo of your first experience becoming a yogi mermaid/merman…  


If you’re up for something new, and unafraid of getting wet, SUP yoga should be on your bucket list. I promise, the best savasana experience of your life awaits!



About the AuthorAbout the Author: Melissa Lynn is a writer, yogi, and coffee fanatic from Southern California. A former Division I athlete, Melissa earned her BA in History at Stanford University, worked as a paralegal in Washington, DC, and happily traded pencil skirts for spandex to become a full-time yoga instructor. She is an avid traveler and you can learn about her experiences abroad on her personal blog and website at TheTravelingAmericano.com

2 Comment(s)

Kitewest Team:
27/01/2017, 03:05:55 AM, www.kitewest.com.au

I LOVE THIS! Thank you for articulating so wonderfully the realities of a yoga life and career.

26/04/2017, 02:10:41 AM, www.kitewest.com.au

Excellent blog. This blog has a lot of information regarding my needs. I’ll definitely put it to good use

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