I'm currently a few days past my due date for having my baby, and you know what I'm thinking about? SUP yoga (and also hoping to sneak in some coffee again soon as well!).
The first time I saw a person on a SUP board I knew I had to try it, but I didn't even think of attempting yoga on a board until a few years ago when I was exposed to images on Instagram of SUP yogis such as Rachel Brathen. That was it for me, I had to buy a board. I'm a self-taught SUP yogi. I taught myself how to transfer my practice from the mat to the board. It was a very natural transition for me, and I've been hooked ever since.
Here are some of the reasons why I love SUP yoga, and I think you will, too!
1) Being outside on a beautiful day is way better than being in a studio! I personally have a low tolerance for being inside when it is nice out. Time outdoors has been shown to improve your mood, balance your emotions, and even improve your cognitive abilities! Plus, it just feels great to be out in the sunshine, hear the lapping of the water, feel the wind on your skin, and see birds flying by. I instantly feel better after being out on my board.
2) The physical challenges of SUP yoga are far greater on the water than on the mat. You work little muscles that you didn't know you even had. You can't get away with a lazy practice. You can't cheat your way through. Your core must be engaged. You have to have proper alignment. You have to pay close attention to the transitions between asanas which sometimes gets lost on land. You can't force poses you're not ready for.
3) Be prepared to try things on your board that you would never try on land. Falling into the water is fun! SUP yoga will have you playing, which is something most of us don't do enough of. In terms of wellness, we think of nutrition, workouts, yoga, meditation, but play seems to get forgotten about.
4) While on the water, you completely disconnect from the rest of the world. You're away from your cell phone which is hard to do these days. If you look around or lose focus you'll lose your balance. You have to be truly present (mindful). SUP yoga is a powerful moving meditation. Mindfulness and meditation are huge areas of interest right now in terms of health because they work! They've been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and numerous physical ailments as well.
5) SUP yoga is an awesome stress reducer, and stress is one of the leading causes of disease and dysfunction. Chronic stress causes inflammation in the brain and body, and although there isn't research that I know of that supports this, I'm betting that SUP yoga could be a powerful reducer of that inflammation. Stress is a huge problem for most of us, so it's crucial for your wellbeing to reduce it! You'll find that a lot of the stress you had prior to SUP yoga is gone after. Imagine the long term benefits if you practiced frequently! Your body knows how to heal itself if you allow it to.
6) It's good to break out of your regular routine and comfort levels. Positive change, growth, and fear tackling do not happen in your safety bubble. You need to bust out, and a SUP board can very well be that place for you.
7) Concentration and focusing abilities are like a muscle. You can actually improve them (train your brain) by using these abilities, and pushing past your current levels. When doing SUP yoga, the mind has to focus. Your brain is hard at work rather than being lost in out of control monkey mind thoughts. This has the ability to improve your focusing abilities over time.
8) SUP yoga can enhance athletic performance and sports psychology. Cross training with SUP yoga not only has the physical benefits needed for any sport, but the psychological benefits to help you perform better on game day as well. Learn how to get into the zone and stay there on your SUP yoga board!
9) What you learn on your board may follow you home. A new practice may help you form new healthy habits and behaviors in other areas of your life. Be prepared to make healthier choices!
10) SUP yoga can help you form social connections that you may not have otherwise found. Who doesn't want to make like-minded friends? Social connections are linked to better physical and emotional health.
SUP yoga is a recipe for happiness, balance, and wellness. I'd even go so far to call it preventative medicine. I can't wait to get back on my board later this season! In the mean time, I hope to see you guys out on your boards! Do you practice SUP yoga already? Tell me why you love it in the comments below.
Want my favorite SUP yoga board? I highly recommend a BOGA Yoga board. You can learn more about BOGA Yoga at www.bogaboards.com