~~~A lot of people have been asking me what is up with the standup paddle board yoga (SUP Yoga) that will be offered on my upcoming Beach Yoga Bliss retreat in Aruba. I’ve written about my experience doing SUP Yoga on Lake Erie last summer, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am to get up on a paddle board again, this time on the crystal clear blue (and calm) waters of the Caribbean in Aruba!
To share a little more about this yoga hybrid, I called on my good friends over at DoYouYoga.com, who put together this awesome guest post to give you the scoop on what’s up with SUP Yoga! ~~~
If you’ve ever seen people doing weird poses on a paddleboard on the water, chances are they’ve been doing Standup Paddle or SUP yoga. Not only does it look pretty darn cool, but it also comes with a bunch of spectacular benefits that extend far beyond the adventure factor. Spoiler alert: You’re gonna get hooked.
SUP yoga works your core in an amazing way. It involves doing yoga on a paddle board in water, while being careful to keep afloat the whole time. Obviously, it’s much more challenging to maintain your balance on a paddle board than it is on a yoga mat. Your muscles inevitably have to work hard to keep afloat, while maintaining the yoga poses for the desired length of time.
Of course, the first time you try it there should be no surprise when you topple over into the water while doing a good ol’ downward dog. No worries – that’s part of the fun! Get back on the board and keep going. Getting to learn this type of yoga is a great experience, and it helps that the water offers a soft landing (believe me!). Soon enough, you will be able to do head stands on the board while maintaining utmost control of your muscles. The fat burning and muscle toning possibilities are remarkable, something your muscles will certainly tell you the next day.
SUP Yoga Is Challenging
The fact that water never quite stands still means you will have to work much harder at maintaining your balance than when you are practicing yoga on a flat surface. Those who have practiced yoga for a long time have developed excellent core strength to prove it. But even for dedicated yogis, the first session of SUP yoga will be quite a challenge because it intensifies the experience and shifts one’s yoga abilities into overdrive.
Most fitness enthusiasts incorporate cross training into their routine, combining different exercises in a bid to avoid boredom and to work different muscle groups of the body at the same time. It is a good way to increase your fitness levels while keeping you from injuring your muscles due to overdoing one workout. SUP yoga is the perfect cross training sport for yogis who want some fun in the sun. It is not strenuous on the joints and helps your yoga skills by strengthening your balance.
Big thanks to the lovely yogini Elise Gulan who shared this picture from her yoga retreat held at
Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa in Aruba last April!
Before You SUP – This is What’s Up
So, what do you need to have at hand to enjoy this magical experience and gain the benefits you’re looking for?
1) The Right Kind of Paddle board & Instruction
Since you will be spending a lot of time trying to balance on top of it, it goes without saying that the paddle board should be large enough to hold you. In addition, it should have a non-slip surface so that you don’t spend your time sliding out of poses and into the water. Just like yoga in a studio, you probably started out with classes for beginners. The same holds true for SUP Yoga: Be safe and go out the first few times with a seasoned instructor who can guide you through the nuances of moving into yoga asanas while balancing on a paddleboard.
2) Stay Hydrated in the Sun
Anyone who has done yoga knows how strenuous it can be. Ensuring you are well hydrated is vital, and this is even more crucial when doing SUP yoga in the sun. With this kind of yoga you do not have the luxury of reaching for a bottle of water that’s standing next to your mat. The best thing to do is to ensure you are well hydrated before going for the session.
3) Dress Appropriately
Most yoga enthusiasts dress light in sleeveless tops and cut-off shorts because yoga can generate a lot of heat and sweat. Keep in mind that you are likely to get wet, so you’ll want to wear materials that dry quickly and will not weigh you down. You may want to wear a personal flotation device (life jacket), and in some regions/bodies of water it is mandatory.
4) Don’t Go Without Sunscreen
If the sun is out, you need to keep as much of your skin covered as you can to avoid any sun damage. You’ll also need to apply a waterproof sunscreen lotion. Forget the hats and sunglasses, which will fall right off unless you can securely tie them around your head like a bandana.
5) Not for the Hydrophobic
Above all, SUP yoga is not for the hydrophobic. Be prepared to have fun in the water and take in quite a few gulps, especially if you are new. This is not surfing, so it’s best to practice when the waters are calm.
6) Have Fun!
Enjoy the beautiful water, sunshine, and nature all around you. There is nothing quite like it to lift your mood and let go of stress. Some people even do SUP yoga in cold weather. It is quite addictive because of how fun and challenging it is, and the benefits are enormous. It is a terrific workout if you want to boost your balance, get a toned body, and have a uniquely exhilarating experience.
~~ I can already tell you that I am hooked. All it took was one trip out on a paddleboard on Lake Erie, and I couldn’t wait to do it again. It is way easier to do than it looks, and my good friend Trisha Yourkvitch was able to pull off a headstand on her very first try on the board. If you want to try out SUP yoga, the lovely Rachel Brathen will be guiding us through a class during the Aruba retreat. You are welcome to sign up for as many additional classes as you like throughout the week!
If you are interested in the Aruba retreat – you must book very fast as there are only a few more spots left!
Thanks again DoYouYoga.com for sharing what’s up with SUP!
DoYouYoga.com is a blog that brings together yoga enthusiasts, instructors, influencers, and bloggers. It’s a resource for everyone who loves yoga and a meeting point for people who want to share their ideas, experiences and thoughts. Head on over to DoYouYoga.com and sign up for their newsletter, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. I’m honored that DoYouYoga.com named The Daily Downward Dog one of the Top Yoga Blogs in 2012 and has provided a home for a few of my articles as well!