The Amazing Benefits of SUP Yoga
There’s a new yoga style in town – one that’s challenging to a new degree. Yoga has seen various popular trends over the past years. There was restorative yoga, Bikram Yoga, and Hot Yoga. Now there is paddleboard yoga, a.k.a. “SUP Yoga”, a shortened moniker for Stand Up Paddle Yoga. In short, where yoga was earth-bound, now it brings in the element of water. Athletes know that using balance in – or in this case “on” – water develops core strength. Gyms use stability balls to enhance core strength. And, in SUP Yoga, the stand-up paddleboard used previously for crossing waters, is now repurposed as a yoga mat. Paddleboards are large enough and sturdy enough to serve the purpose. Add the buoyancy of water and you can see why SUP has become the rage.
From there it was only natural that fans of Pilates would pick up on the benefits of stand-up paddleboards. The strength and grace of Pilates and Yoga set in an environment of sun and tranquil waters have long been the draw of five-star spa resorts. Now, classes in SUPilates and SUP yoga are becoming more readily available, especially in areas like ours where paddleboarding has already been a mainstay of coastline living.
Benefits of SUPilates:
Both SUPilates and SUP yoga draw on the use of the stand-up paddleboard. Fitness professionals readily recognized, from the get go, that standing on a board and paddling across waters is more than just fun. It is, in effect, a great cardiovascular workout.
Adding the movements SUPilates and SUP yoga is superb for strengthening core-based balance. The body’s “core” gets a full workout when poses are done are added.
The element of water buoyancy requires the paddler to constantly draw on the deep stabilizing muscles of the pelvis and spine simply to stand and paddle the board. Adding core-based exercises takes this benefit further to enhance the development of such muscles.
Add Pilates exercises to SUP heightens the challenge and benefits of Pilates. As an example, Leg Circles can be a simple exercise for devotees of Pilates. Foundational to the exercise, an individual needs to stabilize their pelvis and ensure their weigh does not shift from hip to hip. On a paddleboard, the board signals the individual by rocking, if their pelvis is unstable in a repetition.
Wobbly hips and poorly managed leg movements will cause the board to flip over.
SUPilates routines build spinal stability and abdominal strength. The individual in SUPilates works the abdominals in flexion, requiring them to fire more stabilizers to maintain stability on the unstable board.
More complicated exercises such as Kneeling Side Leg Series are even more challenging because of the demands placed on scapular and pelvic stability in order to perform the exercises properly.
Pilates and Yoga done as a routine necessitates intense focus and single-pointed concentration. Still, it is all too easy to have daily concerns and wandering thoughts sneak in. Doing the same routines on a paddleboard provides an instant scorecard. If your mind takes off on a tangent, odds are you’re going to flip over. The required mindset is intensified when done on water versus land.
Nature is healing. Being outside is a benefit in itself. Taking Pilates and yoga to tranquil waters can be like heaven on earth.