On a recent vacation I was swept away by a new experience. Well, not entirely new, it was more like two experiences rolled into one. That experience(s) was Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga. It was one of the most invigorating, challenging and awe-inspiring things I’ve done in a long time.
There is just something about that back drop – blue ocean that seems to stretch forever. The sun beating down, while you expel toxins doing one of the most relaxing activities you could possibly be doing. Yet, you’re actually working those tiny stabilizer muscles and balance takes an entirely different meaning.
If you’ve never tried SUP Yoga before I strongly recommend finding a class in your area. If you’re in a stand up paddle board hot spot you’ll have absolutely no issue. If not, you certainly can read up about the sport and make up your own yoga routine. Remember to keep the poses as simple as possible. Things like downward dog and warrior are easy to do on a board. Other, more challenging poses will be extremely tough. As a rule of thumb, if you struggle to balance in a pose on a dry land don’t do it on a SUP. You’ll probably end up falling in the water :). Not that, that is such a bad thing.
Okay so what do you need?
I would suggest you’re at least a beginner in both sports, obviously this isn’t a requirement but if you’re just trying either Yoga or Stand Up Padlde Boarding for the first time I would do them separately.
A solid paddle board. Find a big, stable paddle board with a soft top. A lot of different paddle boards have an EVA top which is basically yoga mat material. However, others have harder wood surfaces – avoid those. There are certainly boards that are better than others for this sport. Inflatable paddle boards often make a perfect ySUP (Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board) as they have soft forgiving surfaces to get bendy on.
Aside from size (11′+ is perfect) and a soft top other things to consider. Does the board have a place to store things? Lots of boards come with the elastic straps which can hold clothing, paddles, etc.
Dress for the occasion. Once you get moving around you’re probably going to get hot. That means you’ll want to shed layers. Obviously a bathing suit is a must but don’t forget the screen. Just because you start with a long sleeve doesn’t mean you’re going to end with a long sleeve shirt on.Hats are great but can get in the of some poses. All things to keep in mind when you’re getting bendy on your board.
The Paddle & A Leash
Paddle Board accessories are vital. You’re going to need a paddle (no, it’s not the same as a canoe paddle). A leash is another handy item to have. If you fall off you don’t want to let your board run into others enjoying the ocean (or lake). Keep it nearby with a slick little leash.