The Basics of SUP Yoga: Health and Fitness

Updated on February 15, 2021

Image source: Unsplash

If you’re wondering why people prefer exercising yoga on an unstable surface such as a stand-up paddleboard, then you’re not alone. The thing is, no one seems to understand when and how yoga and SUP joined forces. However, as many studies show, what we do know is that SUP yoga has excellent health and fitness benefits.

In this article, we’ll discuss the health and fitness benefits of SUP yoga in great detail. We’ll also discuss the difference between practicing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard and land. Read on to learn more!

The difference between SUP yoga and land yoga

SUP yoga provides you with much of a full-body workout sequence than doing yoga on land. To stabilize and stay on your board, you’ll require the support of your entire quads, calves, and core midsection—which is why SUP yoga is such a solid exercise. 

There are several contrasting elements between SUP yoga and on-land yoga. For instance, when practicing yoga on land, you’re always stable, but on SUP, you’re continuously moving with the wind and water current while maintaining your balance on a paddleboard. Because of the intensity required to keep your balance on the board, you’ll need to engage your focus and use of muscles when holding or transitioning your poses.

However, if you’re just starting to practice yoga, you might need to practice a bit on land before switching to SUP yoga to become more successful. All in all, if you’re already familiar with yoga, then get yourself a new paddleboard and head out to the water and experience the best SUP yoga has to offer!

Health and fitness benefits of SUP yoga

When you start practicing stand up paddle yoga, you’ll experience lots of benefits, some of which you’ll never stop to think about. Below are several reasons why SUP yoga is beneficial:

Improve balance

All yoga poses focus on helping you gain and maintain balance. Stand up yoga does wonders when it comes to improving and sustaining balance because it requires a lot of stability to hold and change poses while floating on the board. 

When working to support yourself during holding and switching the poses, your muscles kick it a notch to help your core in maintaining constant balance. Frequent workouts will eventually help you gain strength and a lasting balance that you’ll always be proud of.

Improve flexibility

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Some yoga poses are used to improve flexibility and boost mobility. On the other hand, paddleboarding requires you to engage your core and a lot of different muscles, which helps to strengthen the muscles and increase joint mobility. 

When yoga and paddleboarding workouts combine, they offer an extensive range of motion benefits that work for different areas of your body. 

Muscle tone

SUP yoga also has the added advantage of enhancing your muscle definition and overall body tone. When balancing on the board, your body engages the entire micro muscle system to provide more stability to the major muscles you’re using. 

Here are some muscle tone improvements you can expect after frequent SUP yoga sessions:

  • Back muscles supporting the spine
  • Thigh muscles
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Abs

Weight loss

Along with improving your balance, flexibility, and muscle tone definition, stand up paddle yoga can also help with weight loss. SUP yoga might seem relaxing, calm, and somehow slow from a distance. But anyone who has ever practiced either of these workouts can understand they can be pretty demanding— which is good for weight loss.

A standard stand up paddleboarding exercise can burn around 300 calories per hour, and SUP yoga can burn even more. However, you can’t only rely on stand up paddle yoga to lose weight. You’ll need to combine it with a good-for-workout diet. By combining both, it won’t be long before you start shedding some weight.

Relieve stress

Image source: Pexels

A unique acronym is used to name the four brain chemicals of happiness—D.O.S.E, standing for Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphosis.

Happiness is one of the effective ways to cope with stress and a huge mental health benefit. When you practice SUP yoga either alone or with a companion, you’re going to get the four chemicals of happiness and overcome stress. Let’s explain this:

  • Dopamine chemical is released when someone achieves a goal. By attaining a pose, balance, strength, or that muscle tone you’ve been longing for, your brain will release Dopamine.
  • Oxytocin occurs when you feel loved. This happiness chemical makes you feel satisfied and connected. When you’re doing SUP with a friend or someone else, the connection you feel is simply Oxytocin!
  • Serotonin is a mood regulator. While a lot of Serotonin is created in the gut, workout, specifically SUP yoga, will help boost Serotonin levels to a more efficient and healthy level.
  • Endorphins are what keeps you going even if things get tough. During SUP yoga or other exercises, Endorphins are released to help fade the pain to keep you moving. This is why after several minutes of SUP yoga, you’ll always feel the urge to do it more.

Increase circulation, cardiovascular, and control

One of the stand-up paddle yoga basics is to focus on steady, relaxed breathing during the exercise. Using stable breathing while practicing SUP yoga increases blood circulation, which essential in preventing issues like Strokes, aneurysms, blood pressure, varicose veins, hypertension, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and kidney damage.

Excellent blood circulation, improved cardiovascular system, and increased control will provide the strength and balance you need to stay on your board. Practicing consistent and stable breathing during SUP yoga will also seep out into other aspects of life, meaning a healthy and happy life for you.

Bottom Line

Stand up paddle yoga (SUP yoga) allows you to practice yoga on the water while enjoying the beautiful nature. This unique type of yoga comes with a wide range of profound health and fitness benefits, as discussed in this article. If you’re already familiar with practicing yoga on land, then all you need is to secure the best paddleboard and start practicing SUP yoga. 

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