Stand up paddleboard yoga, also known as SUP yoga, is a new trend sweeping across the US. It’s been around the coastal areas for a number of years and is now moving inland to lakes and rivers. It’s a fun and unique way to get outside, strengthen and stretch. As one of my students, a popular yoga instructor here in Asheville, NC described: “So fun to have river as the floor, and sky as the ceiling of the yoga room.” Many yoga teachers talk about connecting with nature in the classroom and that connection is so much more powerful when you’re actually practicing outside.
SUP yoga also requires a good deal of focus and mindfulness, much more so than yoga on a regular mat that isn’t moving! I had a student recently comment, “I had to move more slowly in and out of the poses. I couldn’t just pop into a pose.” I really like this aspect of paddleboard yoga – moving slowly, paying attention to our alignment and to how each movement affects our balance. In this way, SUP yoga strengthens our bodies and our minds.
I’m fortunate enough to live very close to the French Broad River here in Asheville and one of my favorite workouts is to paddle upstream against the current up to the Biltmore House and then practice yoga as I float back down to my start point. I especially love doing this on summer evenings when the light is beautiful and everything is starting to quiet down from the bustle of the day.
Staying hydrated while practicing SUP yoga can be challenging because regular round water bottles tend to roll around and can easily roll right off of the board. You need extra equipment like attachment points and carabiners to hold them on the board. Luckily, I am equipped with Vapur Anti-Bottles that easily rest on the front of the board while I practice making it easy to move around freely and hydrate when I need to!