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What Is SUP Yoga?

what is sup yoga

For many people, yoga is a great way to relieve stress, exercise, improve flexibility, and make them more mindful. 

SUP is short for stand up paddleboarding. It is an amazing sport that helps you engage every muscle as you enjoy the beautiful outdoors.   

SUP yoga is a combination of these two fantastic activities–yoga and SUP. It simply involves practicing yoga on a paddle board on the water. And no, it is not as intimidating as it sounds. 

Anyone can practice yoga on a paddle board. 

Here, we’re going to discuss SUP yoga to help you understand what it is, why you should try it, and how you can get started. 

But isn’t paddle board yoga pretty much the same as practicing yoga on land? Well, let’s see. 

RELATED: Read our article about the best sup boards for yoga in 2023

Key Takeaways

  • SUP yoga is a combination of stand up paddleboarding and yoga.
  • Practicing yoga on a paddle board is more challenging than practicing on land.
  • SUP yoga engages more muscles and requires more focus than practicing yoga on land. It greatly improves mindfulness and makes you more flexible.
  • Find a calm body of water and start with simpler yoga poses.
  • You can wear whatever you want for SUP yoga as long as it’s stretchy, comfortable, and appropriate for the water.

Yoga on Land Vs Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga

The main difference between these two types of yoga is obvious, one is on land while the other one is on a body of water.

On land, the surface under you is not moving. You can’t say the same for stand up paddleboard yoga. Your SUP board will be moving depending on the conditions. 

This makes the practice a little more challenging. 

Another difference is that you don’t have a large platform with SUP yoga. The paddle board deck is all you have. 

This also adds to the challenge, but that’s what makes it fun. 

With these unique challenges, you have to make a few adjustments while doing paddleboard yoga. You have to focus more, use more muscles, and modify some poses. 

ALSO READ: What’s the best sup yoga clothing?

What Are the Benefits of SUP Yoga?

Stand up paddle board yoga comes with a lot of benefits. I mean, it combines two great activities with many health benefits on their own. 

Take a look.

1. Engages New Muscles

yoga paddle Pin

Stand up paddle boarding is a full-body workout and you have to paddle board to and from your yoga spot. It engages almost every muscle in your body. So even paddling for about 30 minutes without doing yoga can be a good enough workout, depending on the intensity. 

Yoga on a paddleboard is much more challenging. By being forced to maintain your balance on a slightly unstable platform, you’ll be using muscles that you wouldn’t otherwise use on land. 

2. Improves Mindfulness

While practicing yoga on land, you can get away with losing focus every now and then. SUP yoga is different. 

With the small unstable surface, you have to be intentional and self-aware at all times. This is especially important when you’re transitioning between poses. 

3. Helps with Stress

It’s a well-known secret that being outside in green spaces has a positive effect on your mental health. This has been proven through scientific studies. In addition to that, another study now shows that blue spaces (such as lakes, oceans, and rivers) help your mental health and well-being. 

Also, don’t forget that yoga itself helps you relax and gives you a sense of peace. 

4. Makes You More Flexible

Yoga poses on a standup paddleboard engage and strengthen more muscles. This enhances your mobility and flexibility.  

5. Improves Balance

If you have practiced yoga on land, then you know how much your balance gets tested. Now imagine SUP yoga where your yoga mat is a stand up paddleboard that is constantly moving.

The practice targets your core muscles and requires intense focus. Your physical and even mental balance will improve. 

6. Better Breath Control

You can’t make any quick sudden movements during your SUP yoga practice. You have to slow down, keenly focusing on your breathing and poses. 

The more you do this, the more control you will have over your breathing. 

7. It’s a Good Workout

Stand up paddleboard yoga is a generally good workout. It is fun and relaxing, not to mention that it works so many muscles–arms, shoulders, core, legs, back, and more. 

It’s also easy to start. You can join a SUP yoga class today or get your own gear and start reaping the benefits. 

What You Need: Gear for SUP Yoga

a. Stand Up Paddle Board

A good yoga stand up paddleboard should be wide with a large enough deck pad. The deck pad doubles as a yoga mat.

Wider paddle boards have more stability, and this is important for SUP yoga. Go for boards that are at least 33 inches wide and 10’6 to 11’6 long. 

Both hard boards and inflatable SUPs make great yoga boards. Blow-ups, however, are better because they have a soft surface and are generally more stable. 

b. Paddle

You will need one to paddle to and from your SUP yoga spot. Most paddle boards come with a paddle in the package. 

c. Leash

A leash ensures that you’re not separated from your SUP board if you fall into the water. It is an important SUP safety accessory

d. Anchor

It will be hard to practice paddleboard yoga with your board floating away. A SUP anchor keeps it in place. 

e. PFD

This is another important safety accessory. A PFD (personal flotation device) keeps you afloat should you fall into the water. 

What to Wear for SUP Yoga

Dressing for stand up paddleboard yoga is simple. You can wear whatever you want, as long as it is comfortable, appropriate for the water, and allows you to move. Make sure the clothes give you enough coverage during all poses. 

Tips for Practicing Yoga

Here are a few important tips to help you get started. 


a. Find a Quiet Spot

A calm body of water, like a lake, is preferable. Move away from the noisy vessels and crowds so you can practice in peace.

b. Start Slow

Begin with simpler poses and try to move slowly. Take time to get used to the feeling of your ‘yoga mat’ being swayed by the water. 

c. Go with the Flow

You may have to modify some poses, and that’s okay. Embrace whatever happens throughout your yoga practice and don’t force anything. 

d. Falling in Is Expected

It is all part of the fun so don’t be frustrated. Enjoy it instead. With time you will get better and fall less. 


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Read how to become a SUP yoga instructor

SUP yoga involves doing yoga on a paddle board in the water. It is an exciting activity with tons of health benefits, both physical and mental. 

You can start on your own or find a yoga instructor. You’ll love it!  

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