What Is SUP Yoga?

SUP yoga (or stand-up paddle board yoga) is an alternative to practicing yoga at home or in the studio that’s become increasingly popular in recent years.

It’s a style of yoga that’s practiced (you guessed it!) on a stand-up paddle board while floating on a body of water. But while the practice may look fairly serene, it’s a lot harder than it looks!

In this article, we will learn about the benefits of SUP yoga, what it is, when to practice, and how to practice. We’ll also be sharing a few of our favorite poses and online classes so that you can get started today!

SUP Yoga Definition

SUP yoga has been practiced since 2009 and involves practicing yoga on a stand-up paddle board on a body of water. The ideal condition for SUP yoga is calm water, meaning that this style of yoga is often practiced on lakes or floating on calmer seas around the world.

Generally, SUP yoga classes will incorporate vinyasa and hatha yoga positions, particularly the more well-known poses such as mountain pose and downward-facing dog. After all, it can be challenging to learn a brand-new pose while balancing on an unsteady paddle board!

Because the board is constantly moving with the water, you’re likely to find that the alignment of poses is slightly different to enable you to balance. You’re also more likely to make small adjustments throughout your practice to work even closer with your center of gravity – and avoid falling in!

Benefits of SUP Yoga

SUP yoga is quite different from a regular yoga practice, and, as such, you’ll get a whole new range of benefits.

Improves technique on land

Because you run the risk of falling into the water during your SUP yoga practice, you’ll build greater balance and better understand the correct alignment and center of gravity in poses. Not to mention the core strength that you’ll build!

Core strength

SUP yoga requires great core strength to help you balance. You might not feel the burn during the class, but you’re sure to notice how fired up your core is the next day!

Reduced stress

As well as practicing yoga to reduce stress, SUP yoga will give you the added benefit of being surrounded by the calm sounds of nature and the gentle movement of water. It’s the perfect combination of spending time outside and exercising!

Strengthen new muscles

Practicing SUP yoga will call you to use muscles that might otherwise get neglected. In particular, you’ll work your calves and the muscles around your ankles as you build balance on your paddle board.

Gets you outside

It’s no secret that most of us are spending nowhere near enough time outside. Hopping onto a SUP board for an hour of yoga is a great way to get outside and move your body.

When to Practice SUP Yoga

It’s best to wait to practice SUP yoga until you’ve attended a few in-studio yoga classes. This way, you’ll be familiar with the poses and find it easier to maintain balance on the board.

SUP yoga is the ideal practice for you if you love yoga, movement, trying new things, and spending time in nature.

SUP Yoga Poses

SUP yoga classes include some of the more basic and common Hatha and vinyasa yoga poses. Here are a few that you might like to practice!

Mountain pose

Mountain pose is a great way to start your SUP yoga practice as it allows you time to get familiar with the board and your center of gravity. Come to a standing position with your feet slightly apart and your hands at your sides with palms facing forwards. Play around with the position of your feet until you find the center of the board and your center of gravity. Then breathe for a few rounds.

Downward facing dog

Start from a kneeling position with your shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees. From here, walk your hands one palm print in front of where they are now and tuck your toes. Push into your hands and lift your hips towards the sky, coming into an upside-down ‘V’ shape. Let your head hang between your biceps and bend your knees as much as you need to keep your spine straight.

Tree pose

Once you’ve built up your balance on the board, why not try a balancing pose?! To practice tree pose, come to mountain pose in the center of your board and find your balance. From here, bring all of your weight into your right foot and slowly start to lift your left foot away from the board. Bring your toes to your right ankle, knee, or inner thigh, and use the strength in your hip to open your hips and bring your left knee away from the center. Bring your hands overhead or to a prayer position at your heart center.

Boat pose

Sit on your board with your knees bent towards your chest and the soles of your feet flat on the board. From here, lean your torso back and lift your legs to bring your shins to parallel with the board. Raise your arms alongside your lower legs, engage your core muscles, and grow tall through the crown of your head.

How to Practice SUP Yoga

All you need to practice SUP yoga are some comfortable clothes and a stand-up paddle board – you can probably rent one of these at your local lake!

Although it is possible to practice SUP yoga alone, you might prefer to attend at least one class with a teacher to learn how to move on the board and the best poses to practice. If you would like to practice alone, why not follow one of the following videos?

Start SUP Yoga at Home

Check out these follow-along videos to give SUP yoga a try on your own!

SUP Yoga Beginner Sequence

10 Yoga Positions on a Stand-Up Paddle Board

SUP Yoga with Jodelle


Is Paddle Board Yoga Good for You?

Paddle board yoga is a great way to build full-body strength, improve your balance, relax, and enhance your in-studio practice.

What Do You Need for Sup Yoga?

All you need for SUP yoga are comfortable clothes (or swimwear) and a paddle board! If you don’t have a paddle board, no problem, it’s more than likely that there is somewhere local that will rent one to you.

How Do You Anchor a Yoga Sup?

You can easily anchor a yoga SUP (stand-up paddle board) with a weighted anchor kit. You simply clip the anchor to your paddle board and drop the anchor in the water. Once you’ve completed your yoga practice, pull the anchor up and paddle back to shore.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying SUP yoga for the first time if you have any type of injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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