“Yoga is the Journey of the self, through the self , to the self”
-The Bhagavad Gita
The above quote aptly explains why ‘Yoga’ has become a worldwide phenomenon. This technique of union of the mind, body and soul is helping millions worldwide.
Yoga involves a lot of physical exercise which we call ‘asanas’. These postures help us in the development of the harmony of the mind, body and soul. The main aim of Yoga is to attain peace and bring your body at peace with yourself and nature. Yoga makes your body strong and flexible. It helps to improve your respiration. All of us have the basic idea of what Yoga is and how it can be done, but we thought of showcasing a new and fast-spreading form of Yoga on this International Yoga Day known as Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga.
Ever heard about doing Yoga on a Paddleboard or SurfBoard?
Yoga on water?
Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga is what is catching people’s attention a lot nowadays. On this International Yoga Day we bring you a Beginner’s guide to Standup Paddle Board Yoga or SUP Yoga.
Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga – SUP Yoga : An Introduction
What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Surfing?
Stand Up Paddle boarding is where you use your hands to propel the water by either kneeling on the board or lying on it completely.
Stand up Paddle surfing and Stand up Paddle Boarding is an offshoot of Surfing from the Hawaiian Islands.
Stand up Paddle Boarding is where the surfer has an upward stance on the board and uses a paddle to wade in the water. Paddle boarding delivers a full-body workout improving your health drastically & since you stand at your full height, you can enjoy unique views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon.
In the 1940’s there were two surf instructors named Duke Kahanamoku and Leroy and Bobby AhChoy who began stand up paddle boarding as a way to stand on their boards during incoming swells. Thus, the phenomenon known as Beach Board surfing was born. In the 1990’s the Hawaiian surf schools started teaching stand up paddle boarding as an alternative way to surf when there is little swell. Since then, this practice became increasingly popular.
A variation of stand up paddle surfing (SUP), combined with yoga, Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga originated in Rishikesh, India. It involves doing yoga poses on a board or a surfboard which combines hatha yoga and vinyasa yogaasanas, or poses. Practitioners may practice on the beach sand or in a swimming pool. The practice is useful to gain the strength and flexibility (anatomy) required to maintain the balance and postures on fluid water such as the ocean or a lake. They can begin by moving through a sequence of yoga postures, while standing on a normal length surfboard or a specially designed stand up paddle board.
Tips by India’s 1st Female Stand Up Paddle Board Surfer & SUP Yoga Instructor, Tapashi Devchoudhury
Benefits of Yoga on a Stand Up Paddle Board:
- Being surrounding by water where Prana is stored in abundance, you will automatically recharge yourself with the life energy – and even more with Pranayama practice.
- When practising asanas, you will be forced to focus on your alignment to avoid losing your balance.
- Easy postures could become challenging on water and bringing your awareness in new areas of the body.
- Water has a calming effect on your mind that will allow you to feel rejuvenated.
- Developing awareness of the 5 elements, water, fire (sun), air (wind), earth (you) and space as well as the environmental sounds.
- Even the simplest asanas (let alone balancing postures) on a paddleboard require you to be fully aware and focus on your balance, which in turn activates the cerebral cortex (the most evolved part) of your brain.
- Muscle tone and strength improve as they have to constantly stress and relax to maintain balance in a posture.
Before You Get Into SUP Yoga:
- Know how to swim.
- Learn the basics of Stand Up Paddle either on a calm sea, river or lake.
- Having some prior practice of yoga asanas will help but is not compulsory.
- Find a quiet water area with agreeable air and water temperature.
- Take a beginner’s guided lesson by a qualified Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga instructor.
You can take Surfing as well as SUP Yoga lessons from Tapashi at Waterwalk India.
Here is a list of simple beginner’s Yoga poses you can do on the paddle board.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward Facing Dog Pose
This pose strengthens and tones your arms and legs as they are stretched at their fullest. This is one great pose to start with. It helps you get stability and balance on the board. Its helps you relieve pain in the upper, middle and lower back. Try breathing in and out for a few counts while in this pose.
2. Dhanurasana, Bow Pose
The Bow pose helps in strengthening the back and your muscles in the abdomen. The pose helps you tackle fatigue and is a good stress buster. Inhale strongly when you lift your body for the pose. Hold the pose for 5 breaths and then do it again.
3. Anjaneyasana, Crescent Lunge
This pose helps you to strengthen your knees. It strengthens your core and legs, stretches your hips and improves your balance. Keep your one foot forward and stretch the other one backwards, bend your front knee at 90 degrees. This pose stretches your hamstrings, quad. Reach up to the sky and lift your spine upward. Hold it for five breaths and then you can switch sides.
4. Ustrasana, Camel Pose
Ustrasana helps you in getting a good posture for your body. It stretches the shoulder and the back and therefore strengthens them. It helps in reducing fat in your body, specially on the thighs. It helps in relieving lower back pain and helps the spine to become more flexible. It improves digestion, elimination and cures constipation. You can hold this pose for five breaths.
5. Hanumanasana, Split Pose, Monkey Pose
This pose is best for people who run, walk a lot, use a bike etc. Hanumanasana stretches your legs completely. This helps in stretching the hamstrings and quadriceps. It improves the abdominal organs by stimulating their functioning. Stabilize yourself by placing the hands on the board and getting one with the waves. If you have never stretched before, practice stretching your parts before going for this pose. You can hold the pose for 5 breaths and then do it again by switching sides.
6. Vasisthasana, Side Plank
This pose helps you build arm and shoulder strength. It strengthens your wrist, abdomen and legs. It helps in improving balance, coordination and concentration. Rely on your shoulder strength when doing this pose. You can hold this pose for 5 breaths.
7. Utkatasana, Chair Pose
The Chair Pose helps you strengthen your calves, ankles, hip flexors and your back. It reduces symptoms of flat feet and also stretches your chest and shoulders. It stimulates the heart and abdominal organs. It gets tough if you keep your feet very close so remember to keep some distance. Relax and you can hold this pose for 5 breaths.
8. Virabhadrasana II, Warrior II Pose
This pose helps you build your stamina and concentration. It helps you energize your tired limbs and relieves backaches. It develops stability and helps you gain balance. It improves circulation and respiration. You can hold the pose for 5 breaths and then can do it again by switching sides.
9. Ardha Matsyendrasana, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
This pose opens up your shoulders and neck and hips. It increases their flexibility and cleanses the internal organs. It helps in improving digestion and elimination of wastes. It stimulates the lungs, heart, liver and the kidneys. It helps release excess heat and toxins from the body.
10. Malasana, Garland Pose
This pose helps in opening your hips and groin. It stretches your ankles, lower hamstrings and also the back and neck. It helps in digestion and improves your metabolism. It keeps your pelvic and hip joints healthy.
If you have any more poses to contribute or want us to include more Information about this unique SUP Yoga let us know in the comments section.
Stay healthy, Stay Fit.