Have you been dreaming of trying paddle board yoga? This beautiful, challenging water sport has been rapidly growing in popularity, and for good reason! Here are five reasons why you should seize the summer and hit the water!
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, the moment you set foot on the board you will realize that practicing on water is a distinctly different experience. Taking your familiar sun salutation out of the studio and onto the board helps you develop a whole new appreciation for the balance and focus required for every pose. Mindfulness just comes naturally here, as your mind and body click into place to welcome this fresh new adventure.
Simply standing on a paddle board requires engagement of the entire core. Flowing through our yoga practice requires a deep connection to the beauty and strength of your core and the stable grounding of the hips. We learn to tap into our inner stillness as we center ourselves in a moving environment.
Learning to Go With the Flow
While you are responsible for your own safety, your stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga teacher will likely have you and your fellow students anchored in some manner (I use buoys and a rope), meaning that while waves may rock you, you will stay safe and secure. It’s a lovely lesson that can be applied to life: When we are anchored and safe, we are free to relax and flow with the current.
No worries if you’re a yoga newbie or have never set foot on a board. As in most yoga classes, all abilities are welcome because you can adjust your practice to your individual level by choosing to embrace the challenge or by easing through. Physically and mentally, paddle board yoga is incredible cross-training for cycling, trail running, ball sports and any movement that demands mental focus, proprioception, core strength and balance. This is particularly beneficial for triathletes.
The Beauty of Nature
When we practice outdoors, we are connected with the tranquil (and unexpected!) elements of nature. In SUP yoga, I’ve been blessed with quiet mornings, brilliant sunsets, blue herons, seal pups, colorful starfish and too many beautiful moments to list. As the current rocks us peacefully in savasana at the end of class, we blissfully listen to the birds calling and the water lapping at the board. Dreamy.
All other benefits aside, paddle board yoga is a joyful adventure! Whether you take a class solo or bring friends along and make a day of it, you are bound to have a wonderful time! Embrace mindfulness while building your core strength. Breathe in the scenery and envelop yourself in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I look forward to seeing you on the water this summer!
Wriitem by Carly Hayden. Originally published at SeattleYogaNews.com