SAN DIEGO, California - If you love Yoga it’s likely you’ve heard of or have practiced on a stand up paddle board. SUP Yoga is a popular yoga-fitness fusion involving practicing a yoga routine on a paddle board while floating on water. The wind and constant motion of the water only add to the intensity. While the occasional passing bird, fish or dolphin tend to really mix it up from a traditional land yoga practice.
With some help from Isle Surf and SUP resident SUP Yoga Guru we have put together a paddle board yoga sequence anyone can do for a happy and healthy life.
Meet Our SUP Yoga Guru
Helen Cloots is a personal wellness consultant and one of the finest yoga instructors in San Diego. Helen has her own website, Balancing Wellness dedicated to a more balanced way of living. Originally from Texas, her passion for being outdoors has led her down the path of Paddle Board Yoga instruction.
Choosing the Best Paddle Board for Yoga
There are a lot of Stand Up Paddle Boards on the market specifically for Yoga but we have found the inflatable boards make an excellent choice for many reasons versus a hard board.
Our womens sup yoga board packs down to the size of a sleeping bag making it easy to store in your car or trunk, and the slight give from the inflatable construction helps reduce soreness while posing. It also features a wide outline for extra stability and is outfitted with a rail bungee paddle mount to keep your SUP Paddle out of your way. In addition, it includes 2 top mounted bungee cords for storing a water bottle or gear.
As a general rule of thumb as long as the paddle board you are using is wide and stable enough to comfortably support your weight while standing on flat water you should be fine.
Inflatables are an excellent choice of board for SUP Yoga.
SUP Yoga Classes in San Diego
It seems like SUP Yoga classes are popping up everywhere so we wanted to mention a couple places in San Diego to check out. Our friends over at San Diego Paddle Yoga do a great job with classes for beginner and intermediate yoga, SUP with your PUP, Kids Yoga, SUP Fit Challenges and dark night tours.
If you’re looking for a more one on one experience our good friend and yoga expert Mandy or “Zen Girl” as many call her, is a certified yoga instructor and writer based in La Jolla. Mandy has been leading yoga retreats and offering unique private instructions which you can book via her website and blog, Zen Girl : A Modern Girl’s Guide to Finding Inner Piece.
Mandy or “Zen Girl” as many call her, is a certified yoga instructor and writer based in La Jolla.
Paddleboard Yoga Certification:
If you are interested in teaching a SUP Yoga class you will need to acquire your certification through an authorized instructor. Our friends at Paddle Into Fitness put on a great four day training course which covers learning key techniques, water safety and two styles of SUP Yoga. The class costs $400 and you have to be CPR and First Aid certified while being a proficient swimmer.
10 Poses for Practicing Yoga on a Stand Up Paddle Board
There are a lot of reasons to try Yoga on a Stand Up Paddle Board and below are the 10 poses that Helen and Isle have put together for a balanced and fun Yoga practice.
1. Downward Dog
This is a great pose to start with. It creates length through your spine, helps you find balance on your board and connect to your breath and the water. Spread your fingers wide and feel free to pedal your feet. Let go of your day and get centered.
2. Chair Pose
This pose builds strength in your legs and core. The closer your feet are the harder it is, so you can start with your feet hip distance or wider. Chair pose creates a sense of grounding, which can be challenging when you're on a moving board.
3. Modified Crescent Lunge
Image your feet on either side of the center line of the board because balance can be tricky in crescent lunge. This is a great pose for opening your hips, psoas, and quadriceps. Really press your feet into your board and engage your core.
4. Warrior 2
Warrior 2 is one of the trickiest poses you can do on your board. It makes you feel like a warrior when you finally find your balance, but requires you to be strong, steady and calm. Move slowly, and reach fingertips forward and back.
5. Boat Pose
This is a great pose to continue to build core strength and stability, which is useful for paddle boarding, yoga and any other sport. You can challenge this pose by straightening your legs and reaching your arms to the sky, or doing boat crunches, lowering halfway down then lifting back to boat.
6. Malasana/Garland Pose
Garland pose opens your hips and low back, and brings your center of gravity toward your board. Bring your feet wide, lower your hips and breathe.
One of my favorite poses on the board, headstand flips your perspective and brings fresh blood to your head. I love seeing the water and sky upside-down and feel the freedom of floating with my legs over my head.
8. Thread The Needle
This is a great way to stretch your shoulders and wring out your spine, creating flexibility and decreasing stress between your vertebrae. Paddling can cause sore shoulders, this pose feels really good to stretch everything out.
9. Full Wheel
Backbends lengthen your spine, open your chest, stretch your abdomen and help lift your mood. This is an awesome pose to do when you're feeling a bit down.
Probably my favorite pose, especially on a paddle board when it's sunny. There's no better feeling than floating along the water. I like to let my hands and feet dangle into the water.
To learn more about SUP Yoga, click here. Check out the video below to watch Helen desribe the 10 SUP Yoga poses above as she demonstrates them.