SUP Yoga: Land vs. Water

Posted on November 12, 2014 by Marc Miller

Paddle Board Yoga

Switching out your yoga mat for a stand up paddle board is a no-brainer.

Practicing yoga poses while floating on the water sounds like a dream, and we’re here to tell you that this dream can become your reality. Not only are the 360-degree views of nature breathtaking, but practicing yoga on a stand up paddle board will challenge and increase the intensity of your practice. The more you challenge yourself, the better and stronger your yoga routine will become (…young grasshopper).

Over the last few years, yoga studios have begun to offer SUP yoga classes on local bays and lakes. Paddle board companies like ISLE have been designing stand up paddle boards for yoga. With so much hype toward this new form of workout, we point out the advantages of stand up paddleboard or SUP yoga vs. yoga on land.

Paddle board yoga

Challenges Of Paddleboard Yoga

Practicing yoga on the water is going to be more of a challenge than on land purely because the water provides an unstable surface. In addition, practicing your routine on water creates a lot more distractions (wild life, wind, etc.) and can break your concentration when in your Vinyāsa flow. Beware that certain poses you do on land can be dangerous to do while on a paddle board, specifically, anything involving the neck. However, with practice, you will be able to achieve challenging postures and poses like headstands, shoulder stands, and the plow pose.

paddle board yoga

Benefits Of Practicing SUP Yoga

SUP yoga will provide you with more of a complete full-body workout and fitness course than yoga on land. In order to stay on your board, you’ll need the support of your entire core midsection, your quads, and your calves -- which is why it’s such a solid workout. Furthermore, this core workout forces you to engage your core and use your muscles which makes it easier on the joints. Almost all the positions are identical except a couple poses like warrior where you need to have a wider stance and core strength to remain balanced.

In conclusion, practicing your workout routine on a paddle board is going to be more physically intense than a mat on land because of the unstable surface need for more concentration. If you are starting to practice yoga, practice in the studio before heading out to the water to become more successful. Nevertheless, if you truly love yoga, then challenge yourself with a new paddle board yoga environment.

paddle board yoga

Popular Paddle Board Yoga Poses To Try

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)
    • A restful pose design to stretch your hips, thighs, and ankles. Balasana is a great pose to reduce stress and relax your muscles.
  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
    • A basic pose to strengthen your ankles, arms, legs, knees, and thighs. Tadasana is known to improve the function of your respiratory and digestive systems.  
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
    • A calming pose that can relieve fatigue, headaches, and insomnia. Adho mukha svanasana is a beneficial post for increasing strength in your arms, feet, lets, and shoulders.
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
    • A great pose for toning the upper and lower body. Virabhadrasana II is touted for its ability to help strengthen your outer hips and shoulders while stretching your inner thigh muscles.
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)
    • A truly relaxing pose that’s a great way to finish your yoga routine. Savasana relaxes your whole body while reducing depression, fatigue, stress, and tension.

Should I Get A Hard Board Or Inflatable Board For My Practice?

Both a hard board (epoxy) and inflatable paddle boards (iSUPs) with proper deck padding will work great for your yoga practice. However, the durability, portability, and comfort of inflatables have become very popular for SUP yoga. It all depends on your method of transportation and budget.

Tips For Purchasing A Yoga Paddle Board

  • Get a board that is at least 2 feet taller than you
  • Boards with straps or bungees on them are advantageous because they could hold your water bottle along with your paddle so it doesn’t get in the way of your yoga routine
  • Try a session on a lake or bay before heading into the ocean because the calm water will be easier for you to keep your balance

ISLE Yoga paddle boards



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