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Yoga Moves for Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding is an excellent full-body workout. This challenging and fun exercise works all the major muscle groups of your body (and believe me, you will feel it the next day).

Strength, balance and flexibility are all important aspects to fun and effective paddle boarding, and yoga is an excellent practice to prepare your body and mind for the fun workout ahead on the water.

Here are some perfect moves to practice (on land) before a day of fun on your board:

1. Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

This powerful and challenging posture builds strength, stability and balance in the whole body. Begin in a classic plank position and shift your weight onto your right hand.

Roll onto the pinky side of your right foot and stack your left foot directly on top. Press the floor away from you and rotate your chest to face toward the side of your mat as you extend your left hand up toward the sky.

Try to lift your hips up high away from the ground, fully activating into your obliques, to find balance and stability. Practice evenly on both side of the body.

2. Makarasana (Dolphin Pose)

To paddle properly and efficiently, the technique requires full integration of the entire core system. The muscles of the thighs, glutes, abdominals, back, shoulders and arms must be properly prepared and engaged to effectively paddle while on the water.

Dolphin pose is an excellent posture to engage the full body, specifically strengthening the shoulders, arms and upper back while simultaneously activating the core and legs.

Start in a tabletop position and relax your forearms to the floor so that your elbows align directly underneath your shoulders. Hug your arms into the midline and press down firmly against your forearms.

Relax your shoulders away from your ears and press your chest toward your legs. Lift your knees up off the floor and extend your hips to the sky (so you’re in a down dog position with your forearms on the floor). Walk your feet in toward your hands as close as is possible.

3. Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Balance is obviously a huge part of standup paddle boarding, and there is nothing better to prepare you for precarious balances on the water than practicing balancing yoga postures first on land.

Start standing in a Mountain pose and shift your weight into one leg. When you feel steady, lift the opposite leg up high off the floor and open at the hip joint so that your knee points to the side of your mat.

4. Chair Pose

Generally when standing on the board, you’ll want to be in a loose Chair Pose so you glide with the ripples in the water.

Always turn your toes out at an angle and keep your feet hips width distance or wider. A stable base will keep you up in almost any posture. For Chair Pose, focus your gaze on the top of your board or on the horizon as everything else will be moving around you and could throw off your balance.

Now you’re ready to add in a twist or change the arm variation.


5. Adho Mukha Dandasana (Plank Pose)

A full-body strengthener, Plank pose strongly activates your arms, core and legs so it is a perfect prep pose for paddleboarding.

Start in a Down Dog and roll your weight forward so that your shoulders align directly over your wrists. Spread your fingers widely and press the floor away with your hands. Create a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.

Hug your bellybutton in toward your spine, engaging deeply into your core, and actively press your heels toward the back of your mat. Elongate your spine and relax your breath. Hold for as long as you can maintain integrity in the posture.

Yoga on paddle boards improves core, leg and arm strength, all while encouraging better balance. On the water you instinctively engage 100 percent and correct any favoring of one limb simply to prevent your self from falling in! All this focus makes your practice that much stronger when you return to your mat.

Are you a SUP fanatic? What yoga poses do you practice before getting on the water?