ALMOST HERE!!!!! (Can you tell I’m super excited??) And that means it’s time to head to the nearest body of water and spend as much time there as possible over the next three months. Standup Paddle Yoga has been in most vacation destinations for a few years now and you’ve probably seen it before on tv or on someone’s Facebook profile. Chances are though, you’re a little intimidated to try it out yourself. You might be thinking, “yoga? On a paddleboard? That sounds nuts.” And you wouldn’t be totally wrong. But it’s worth it. Trust me. And it’s not nearly as scary as it looks. If you haven’t given it a go yet, here’s a list of reasons why this year should be your year to try out SUP yoga for yourself:
1. It’s easier than it sounds. I won’t call it easy, because it’s not. But if you have an appropriately-sized board and a knowledgeable teacher, you will be much more stable than you think and you won’t be asked to do any crazy-difficult poses that will put you in harm’s way. It’s a huge confidence-booster and a great way to spend vacation time (with or without family. Your choice.)
2. Stock up on Vitamin D. Most places in the US had a cold and rainy (or snowy) winter, and April showers have extended well into May and June, breaking records in much of the eastern United States. That means that for most of us, our systems could use a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Why not combine that yoga practice you’ve been working on all winter long with an opportunity to get some sunshine in your life? SUP yoga provides a unique atmosphere to stretch it out, get back in balance, and soak up some rays (just don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen first.)
3. Work on your core. It’s bikini season, and that means you literally have to do nothing else besides put on your bikini (you look good in it, trust me). But if you do happen to be interested in toning up your midsection, SUP yoga is a great way to do that. Practicing yoga while maintaining your balance on your board does amazing things for your core. Those stability muscles will be engaged the. entire. time.
4. Mix up your routine. Typically winter fitness plans consist of indoor workout routines (unless you live in Southern California, in which case, you’ve most likely already tried your first SUP yoga class or three. But thanks for still reading!) Working out at the gym and going to the same yoga studio can get kind of stale after months on end. Mix it up this summer by trying something new. Never tried SUP? That’s okay. Never done yoga? That’s totally fine too! Never paddled OR done yoga? You’re just adding an extra layer of exciting challenge, which your body will really respond to. Just be sure to let your instructor know ahead of time and ask for adaptations of poses.
5. Great photo op. Now, I know I’ll catch some flack for this one, but Imma go ahead and put it out there (I know you’ve probably already thought about it anyway) because let’s get real- an Instagram photo of food you’re about to eat is only so interesting. More than one is much too much. Spice up your social media feed with a photo of you trying out a new pose on a board with a picturesque coastal backdrop. Bonus points if someone catches a shot of you falling in head-first! (Just kidding- for safety purposes, always try to fall in belly-flop style. We don’t need any spinal injuries, folks).
6. Practicing Presence This one is the real, meat-and-potatoes reason why I would recommend SUP yoga to anybody. One of the greatest benefits of practicing yoga is to practice presence under the current circumstance, whatever that may be. Practicing yoga on a board that floats and drifts and wobbles really causes you to be aware of and adjust to the present moment. It’s a great analogy for life, too. Sometimes things get rocky. We can stand strong, learn to adapt, counterbalance, and go with the flow, but sometimes, we are going to fall in. And that’s okay. What matters is that we can learn to laugh at ourselves and then get back up and try again.
7. Savasana. Do I need to say more? Laying down to let all of the poses integrate into your body after yoga is always one of the absolute best parts of the practice. It’s a chance to let go of any remaining tension that you may still be holding onto after your session. This pose on a board, in the sunshine, while the sea rocks you gently into relaxation bliss? Yes, please.
So there it is! Before your next trip to the beach, lake, or bay, be sure to research who is teaching SUP yoga in the area. If you’re headed to the Delaware or Ocean City beaches, come book a class with me at www.surfandsoulyoga.com. I’d love to have you come join me out on the water!