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Easy SUP Yoga Exercises
Make the most of your stand-up paddle board (SUP) experience by challenging your balance and your zen with these Yoga exercises. Take your yoga practice to the next level when you take it to your board. Yoga requires balance even on land so you might be intimidated to take the challenge to your stand-up paddle board. But don’t worry, you can do it.
Tips to start:
- Take it slow. Slow down your breathing, slow down your movements. Imagine you are moving at slow motion speed - about ½ the speed you would on land.
- Fix your eyes. A huge part of balance comes from holding your gaze on a fixed point, like the horizon. When you shift your gaze quickly (or even close your eyes), you will find your balance is compromised.
- Find your place. You are not just finding your own center of balance, but you have the added complication of finding your board’s center of balance as well. Orient yourself around the paddleboard’s handle (usually inset at the top of the board) to aid in balancing.
Beginner Yoga Exercises for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding:
Lotus Position: This simple position will help you feel the stand-up paddle board under you. Find this seated, cross leg position and practice breathing.
Child’s pose: Get on all fours. Bend your knees and rest your head on the ground. Think about resting your bottom on your feet and reach your hands forward.
Cobra or Upward-Facing Dog: From child’s pose, bring yourself forward so your thighs rest on the SUP. Push up with your arms so your torso is raised.
Bridge: Roll over so you are lying on your back. Place your arms down by your sides and bend your knees. With your feet firmly planted on the stand-up paddle board, raise your hips and squeeze your glutes.
Savasana: Often used to end your yoga time, this pose just requires you to lay flat. Leave your arms down by your side and allow your legs to relax. Let go of any tension and breathe.
More Challenging Yoga Poses on Your SUP:
These Yoga poses require a bit more movement, tension, and balance. See if you can level up to build strength and balance when paddle boarding.
Plank: Lay on your stomach. Pull your arms under your shoulders with your fists/hands at about chin level. Tighten your stomach, glutes, and thighs. Raise your hips. Hold.
Cat: From all-fours, raise your back/spine as high as it can go. (Mimic a scared cat). To make this pose more dynamic, alternate the cat with the cow (arch your back and lift your head).
Downward Facing Dog: This classic yoga pose becomes a bit more difficult on a stand-up paddle board. From a plank position, raise your hips making a V-shape. Work on pushing your head through your arms and make a straight line with your back. Also try to drop your heels.
Wide Leg Standing Fold: Turn on your stand-up paddle board so that you are facing sideways (lengthwise). Take a wide stance with your legs. Bend forward as far as possible. You can put your hands on the board, on your ankle, or fold them and rest your head on your forearms.
Chair: Stand upright on your paddle board and find your balance. The wider your stance the easier it is the narrower your stance the more difficult. Lift your hands over your head and drop your hips and bottom as if you are going to sit in a chair. Hold this position. Get as far down as you can. You can keep your arms raised, out at your side for balance, or folded and placed on your hand.
This is just the beginning; once you have mastered these Yoga poses, feel free and increase the difficulty. Practicing yoga on your stand-up paddle board will pay dividends for your health, state of mind, AND your balance when paddling.
*Imaged credited to: Dimensions.com
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