Whenever a new sport comes out, there are bound to be adaptations to fit people’s interests and needs. For example, the traditional game of golf spawned miniature golf and various other games that used the original sport as a base to create new sports. The same is true for standup paddle board yoga. It’s not a pairing that you might automatically put together, but based on the number of paddle boards reviewed on iSUPReviews specifically for yoga, the combination has really taken off. Here are several reasons why standup paddle board yoga or SUP yoga has become so popular.
Exercise Different Muscles
As you might imagine, practicing yoga on a standup paddle board requires significant balance, even more than yoga on its own does. Keeping your balance on a paddle board works out muscles that you don’t normally get exercised when you’re doing yoga on solid ground. For this reason, many people are turning to SUP yoga to get a more intense workout than they get from yoga alone. It’s a nice change of pace, particularly if you’ve been practicing yoga for years and need to change up your routine to stimulate muscle growth.
When practicing yoga, one of the goals is to be completely present in your workout. You want to be mindful of every movement your body makes so you can be one hundred percent aware of your body’s response to the exercise. This mindfulness helps relax you and keep you from focusing on the negatives in your life. When you’re concentrating entirely on your body’s movements, you don’t have time or space to think about anything else.
However, once you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you might get complacent and allow your mind to wander while you routinely perform the yoga poses. Since mindfulness is such a major component of yoga, practicing it on an unstable surface like a standup paddle board can restore your focus to your movements so that you’re fully present during your workout. The added benefit of practicing yoga on a peaceful lake also improves your state of mind as you work out, especially if you’re able to do your exercises in relative solitude.
Encourage a Beginner’s Mindset
As mentioned above, it can be easy to fall into the pattern of doing the same old workout routine over and over again. You should be challenging yourself with your workouts so that your body can reap the benefits of pushing itself to work harder. By practicing yoga on a standup paddle board, you’re adding a challenging element to your yoga routine without really changing your workout. The instability of the paddle board will have a learning curve that may take some time to master. During that time, your body will be working harder to adjust to this new element of exercise.
Your muscles should be sore when you finish your first SUP yoga workout (and probably for several subsequent workouts) because it’s just like you’re working out as a beginner. If you recall the first time you ever did yoga on land, you probably were quite sore and stiff the next day as your muscles reacted to the new level of activity. Becoming a beginner again is critical for shocking your muscles into their growth phase.
Improved Balance and Flexibility
As you continue to practice SUP yoga, you will notice that your balance and flexibility improve. This is because your body will become adept at keeping itself stable as you work out on an unstable surface. Eventually, it won’t feel any different from doing yoga on land. You’ll also gain more flexibility because you’ll be working and stretching different muscles than you do when you practice yoga on solid ground.
Increased Breath Control
No matter which yoga poses you do during SUP yoga, you will need to do them more slowly than you do on land so that you don’t lose your balance and fall into the water. This means you’ll need to focus on your breathing to make sure you don’t move too quickly. Improved breath control has been linked to better blood circulation and a lower level of stress.
SUP yoga is gaining in popularity wherever there’s a lake or pond that allows standup paddle boards on the water. If it’s time to add a new challenge to your workout, give this new form of exercise a try.