11 Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Yoga Poses For Beginners
Taking yoga from dry land onto water is a daunting process. No longer do you have a firm grounding to support your poses: now you must find your balance with the surface moving beneath you.
However, practice these poses, and even a beginner will excel at SUP yoga.
An image for inspiration, and then we get to the poses!
We’ve picked out eleven poses to try ranked by difficulty.
Together, they make up some of the most fun and impressive yoga poses for SUP boards.
Best Inflatable SUP’s for your money,
How to choose the best inflatable SUP,
Best Inflatable SUP’s for Yoga,
Best Inflatable SUP’s for Surfing (more category reviews on the way).
Before we dive into the guide, let’s get inspired with the awesome bulldog SUP dog 🙂
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
- Plank (Adho Mukha Dandasana)
- Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Its simplicity makes this one of the easiest poses to master. In a sequence, the child’s pose works well after the table pose – all you need to do is lower your hips to your heels, move your knees further apart and lower your torso to the board. Gentle and relaxing, the child’s pose allows you a restful pause for a few minutes in the middle of a more challenging sequence.
Arguably the best known yoga pose in the world, the downward-facing dog is another easy SUP yoga pose for beginners to try. Once again, start in the table pose before carefully and gently moving your knees away from the board, slowly pushing your heels to the floor. You’ll really feel the stretch in your calves and hamstrings with this classic pose.
There are many different yoga lunges to try on your stand up paddle board, including the low lunge, high lunge and crescent lunge. The lunges have many similarities, but each stretches a slightly different muscle group. Although these are fairly simple poses for beginners to try on dry land, the balance required does present a greater challenge on a SUP yoga board, causing you to really focus on your alignment.
Often performed on dry land with the back pressed up against a wall for support, this pose is known to be tough on the thighs. Without the solid wall to push against and with the movement of the water to tolerate, a chair pose in SUP yoga is even more of a challenge. If you’re new to yoga then you can keep your hips raised slightly higher (as if you’re halfway to a sitting position), but as you build up your strength and endurance you’ll be able to push the chair pose deeper until it looks as though you really are sitting on a chair. From here, you can deepen the pose and transition into the slightly more challenging garland pose.
Popular amongst those who want to tone their abs, the plank works really well on a SUP yoga board. In its simplest form it acts as a real arm strengthener which can prepare you for challenging positions which need you to balance using your arms. Alternatively, you can also develop this pose on its own by transferring into the side plank, which is one of those awesome poses that looks really impressive on a stand up paddle board.
The boat pose can be tricky for beginners to hold for more than a few seconds. Keeping your head and feet raised and level requires a great deal of balance and core strength, which is even more difficult on water than it is on land. If you’re finding it too tough to straighten your legs, you can start with them slightly bent before gradually stretching them out.
Also called the upward-facing dog, the cobra pose is wonderful for stretching out your back and opening up your chest. Start by lying flat on your front on your SUP board, with your hands pressed between your shoulders and the board. Carefully press your palms into the board, raising your head, chest and shoulders up, while still keeping your legs flat against the SUP. A properly inflated iSUP should keep you steady and afloat, even while pushing against the water.
This might not look like the most comfortable yoga pose in the world, but using an inflatable SUP rather than a hard board actually provides a softer surface against which your neck and shoulders can press. Simple and relaxing, the bridge pose is the perfect way to rest and unwind while floating on water.
The camel pose is another one of those SUP yoga positions which looks awesome when silhouetted against a clear blue sky or a vibrant sunrise. The challenge here is to arch backwards evenly, without putting more pressure on one leg than the other. If you do, you could end up wobbling and falling into the water, so this is one pose which will really test your balance, alignment, control and flexibility.
Involving a wide stance and some twisting, the warrior II is one of the most difficult poses to do on a stand up paddle board. The board may feel unstable at first as you try to get your balance right, but as you perfect your foot placement and gain more control over your hip movements, you’ll find this to be an incredibly powerful position.
What better way to wind down than to lie flat on your back, staring up at the sky while floating on still water? The savasana allows you to exactly that. This is just about the most relaxing yoga pose you’ll come across, but it’s about far more than just kicking back and having a nap. Use it as a way of meditating, releasing tension and completely switching off from the stresses of everyday life.
Great article on Savasana
Other great reads on SUP Yoga Poses:
SUP Yoga Poses