Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga, or Sup Yoga is a huge fitness trend for 2015, and is often somewhat more expensive than a traditional studio yoga practice. SUP yoga originated in Rishikesh, India, but classes are now offered everywhere from the exclusive resorts of Tulum, Mexico, to fitness groups practicing off of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain.
So that’s the big deal? Is SUP yoga worth your time and money?
In all seriousness though, there are numerous advantages to trying SUP yoga.
First, it’s a better workout. Because you are practicing on an unstable platform (a large, buoyant paddleboard that looks similar to a surfboard), you have to use core strength to keep balanced, thus getting a much more intense abdominal workout. Doing yoga on a stand-up paddle board forces you to use your deep transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus and obliques to stay balanced and rotate the core as you paddle out and in.
SUP yoga also demands deep concentration on your alignment in poses. If you are shifting weight to one side, your board will begin to tip. So in order to remain steady, yogis must work even harder to maintain correct alignment. Even better, the extra attention to good form helps to prevent injury in the body caused by misalignment of joints.
Not to mention the attention to balance. If you fall out of a pose, you will fall into the water – which might sound a tad bit scary at first, but will end up acting as motivation to truly center yourself and focus your attention.
From all angles, SUP yoga is a true mind-body workout. Floating on the water causes a deeper sense of connection with the body, because every movement you make correlates directly to the integrity of your surface of balance. Exercising on water also helps you focus on the breath, and is naturally conducive to the practice of Ujjayi Pranayama, the oceanic breath, because of the lapping of the waves against the board.
Do you risk plunging into (possibly) cold water if you try SUP yoga? Sure. But the sense of accomplishment and empowerment you will gain from practicing this challenging form of yoga will keep you motivated and ready for more.
For many, it may not be feasible to make SUP yoga a daily practice, because of the additional costs it incurs and the necessity of having an available body of water to practice on. However, it is a great option to add in to your routine on a semi-regular basis – or at least, as a new challenge to try the next time you get the opportunity.