We love yoga, but during the hot summer months we just don’t feel like sweating in the stuffy studio. The simplest solution: move the sun salutation outside and really wave to the sun for a short time. Water-affine yogis go one step further and do their yoga practice exactly where they like to be in summer anyway: at the water. More precisely, on the water.
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You are already happy when you can hold yoga poses on solid ground? Don’t worry, if you can stand on one leg, you will survive a yoga lesson on the water dry. “Anyone can do that,” says SUP -Yoga teacher Julian Bube from Hamburg. “Of course it would be good if you could swim, just in case.”
5 reasons why you should try Stand up Paddle Yoga
The yoga session on the water not only looks spectacular, but also has numerous benefits for body and mind. © lenina11only / shutterstock.com
1. SUP -Yoga trains the deep muscles
Yoga on the water demands especially the torso muscles. The rocking board activates many additional small muscles which are not important in normal yoga on solid ground: “Many deeper muscles are activated which we do not consciously control but which are only used when we try to keep our balance on the board in order not to fall into the water”, says SUP -Yogi jack.
“For example, trains SUP -yoga the so-called Musculi Multifidi, which run along the spine.” These small back muscles connect the individual vertebral bodies and thus stabilize the spine. Therefore yoga on the shaky ground strengthens the postural apparatus and improves posture.
2. SUP -Yoga trains balance and coordination
Even though the stand up paddle boards for yoga are a bit wider, making them more stable on the water and the non-slip upper material gives some grip, the unstable surface is a challenging balancing act. Every movement you make affects the board. When you come from the looking down dog into the low lung and put one foot between the supported hands, the board moves a few centimeters forward.
This means that especially the transitions from one position to the next require increased attention and balance.
That’s why this summer you should stand up paddle
3. SUP -Yoga improves concentration
“Don’t fall in the water now!” That’s the only thought that comes to mind at first SUP -yoga goes through your head. You just concentrate on not slipping and falling into the water. This will automatically drive all everyday worries and thoughts out of your head.
4. SUP -Yoga takes you out into nature
“What’s special about SUP -Yoga is that on the board itself you can escape the hustle and bustle of a big city and feel connected to nature,” says Bube. Whether you paddle on a river or a lake, on the waterway you can reach places that are otherwise inaccessible and experience your surroundings from a whole new perspective. It makes a big difference whether you can see the wall of the yoga studio through your legs as the dog looks down, or water, trees and the shore in the distance.
SUP -Yoga decelerated. Let yourself fall calmly – but do not plunge into the water. © lenina11only / shutterstock.com
5. SUP -Yoga stops performance thinking
What you need to switch off immediately when doing yoga on the water is your expectations of yourself and the perfect execution of the yoga poses. “In order to be able to do the asanas on the water, you have to balance yourself again and again and lead into yourself. Too much ambition and perfectionism are completely out of place,” says SUP -Yoga teacher jack. Instead, yoga on the wobbly board reminds us that yoga can be fun.
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This is how the first time feels SUP -Yoga on
Our fitness author has tried the fun sport trend:
“My first time SUP -Yoga is also my first time standing up paddling. After a short introduction to the SUP -technique at the jetty of the Supper Club, we get on the board and paddle out onto the Isebek canal. My first thought: quite shaky. But with every stroke of the paddle I get safer and get a better feeling for the board.
I grew up on the North Sea, the sea, lakes and rivers have always had a calming effect on me – even now, as we paddle along the small canals early Saturday morning, leaving the noise of the city behind.
When we reach our destination, we tie all boards together with a rope so that we don’t drift too far apart during the following yoga exercises.
We start the yoga unit in a sitting position. The sweetspot in the middle of the board is the most stable place – here everything is safe and I can’t fall down. The surface of the water is mirror-smooth, the first rays of sunshine are gently on the skin and the sounds that break the morning silence come from far away.
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When we get into the first looking dog, our boards start to sway – it feels completely different than in the studio. I notice how I automatically move slower, more consciously and especially the transitions from one posture to the next require more attention than usual. Asanas, which are no problem at all on solid ground, become a real challenge on the board – never before has Warrior 2 been so exhausting!
I have to concentrate in order not to lose my balance. The poses are not perfect, but even though I am standing on the board for the first time, I don’t fall into the water and actually get into a real flow where I forget everything else.
In the final Shavasana, the water gurgles slightly against the board, making it rock gently and really letting me go. When I open my eyes, a family of ducks swims past us.”
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6 Yoga exercises on the SUP -Board
To do yoga, you do not have to be agile. On the contrary: Yoga improves flexibility. Nevertheless, yoga classes in the studio often become a secret competition. The blame lies with the performance thinking that determines our everyday life. We all want to go higher, faster, further – and in a yoga class we want to be a rock star, bridge, headstand. The only thing we forget is what it’s really all about: feeling ourselves. On the water you can’t afford this pressure to perform.
If you want too much and don’t listen to your body, you’ll end up in the water in no time. “The challenge of many yoga poses increases on the board”, says SUP -Yoga teacher jack. These 6 postures can completely change your inner attitude while practicing yoga:
Level 1: Child attitude and cat and cow
To get started, Bube recommends sitting or kneeling postures on the SUP -Board. So you get a feeling for how the board lies on the water and find a stable base. The child position grounds you on the board, with cat and cow you slowly start to mobilize the spine and notice how small movements affect the water.
The one-legged dog is no problem on firm ground, with the SUP -Yoga a real challenge, because every movement is transferred to the board. © lenina11only / shutterstock.com
Level 2: Warrior 2 and tree
Standing poses like the warrior 2 are already a real challenge on the water and much more difficult than you know from your usual yoga session. Move slowly and try to balance the wobbling of the board.
Level 3: Bridge and crow
Professional moves, which require a lot of body tension and balance already on land, end with the SUP -Yoga quickly in the water if you do not distribute the weight evenly on the board.
Stand up Paddle Yoga is a great yoga trend for the summer, bringing a breath of fresh air into your yoga routine, slowing down and reminding you why we do yoga in the first place. Important: If you have never stood on a stand up paddle board before, you should SUP -technique by a trainer beforehand. When doing yoga on the board, the motto is: try it slowly, watch your body carefully and don’t want too much too fast. You are still not sure whether you should try the balancing act? No worries.
The worst thing that can happen to you SUP -yoga can happen is that they fall into the water – also kind of soothing.