Paddle board yoga is the practice of doing yoga on a stand up paddle board. With the explosion in popularity of stand up paddle boarding over the past decade, paddle board yoga has also grown in popularity. It is simply a new and unique way to practice yoga.
You may be thinking that yoga is already hard enough and doing it on a paddle board would make it impossible but it's not as hard as you think. Although it adds an additional challenge of an unstable surface, paddle board yoga is not that difficult. You will want to make sure you have the proper paddle board as well as an array of poses that you are comfortable with doing. Paddle board yoga has a few benefits that studio yoga can’t provide. First, it is more of a full body workout as you will be constantly engaging your core as you try to balance. Also, doing yoga in nature is incredibly relaxing as you can listen to the waves, wind, and birds while doing your routine. If you are a yoga expert, SUP yoga can add a new dimension to your yoga routine that you aren’t normally used to. For those who like both of these forms of exercise, paddle yoga is perfect for you.
10 Paddle Board Yoga Poses You Gotta Try
1.) Warrior II Pose (Virabhadra)
Difficulty Level: 2 (Out of 10)
A foundational yoga pose, the Warrior II, is a great pose to test your balance on your paddle board. With both feet in the middle of the board, it will be a bit more difficult to balance. This will engage your core and stretch your back really well. This pose also strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles and increases overall stamina. Tip: Reach those fingertips as far as you can on each side to get the best stretch possible!
2.) Upward Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Difficulty Level: 8
This pose requires a bit more experience. For those savy yoga masters out there, give this one a try next time you're doing SUP yoga. Once you're in the pose let your head hang freely as this will provide an extensive chest stretch that will have you feeling rejuvenated. This yoga pose strengthens a variety of muscles including your legs, abdomen, arms and wrists.
3.) Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Difficulty Level: 4
This pose is perfect for beginners because it uses 4 points of contact on the SUP board making it very easy to balance. This pose is great because it stretches the entire front of the body. It also helps strengthen your back muscles. If you are having trouble reaching all the way back to grab your ankles, use your SUP paddle and hold it behind you with both hands while you reach as far as you can.
4.) Crane or Crow Pose (Bakasana)
Difficulty Level: 6
This pose is a compact arm balance that will strengthen your wrist and shoulders. The key to this pose is to keep yourself as packed tight as possible. Keep your heels and butt close together and press your elbows against the inside of your knee cap to get a good stretch of your groin.
5.) Sleeping Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Difficulty Level: 3
This pose is great for beginners as it is relatively easy. It provides rotation and flexion in your hip which will stretch your butt muscles. Try to flatten your back as much as possible and reach your chest to the board. Let your toes point to the back of the board and reach your fingers for the nose of the board to provide the best stretch.
6.) Tripod Headstand Pose (Salamba Sirsana II)
Difficulty Level: 8
This variation of the traditional headstand pose, provides you with two more points of contact to help you keep balance while on your SUP board. This pose has a variety of benefits including increased mental clarity and concentration due to the blood rush to your head and a boost in energy. You can move your legs into different positions including both pointing towards the sky or one parallel to the board making a ninety degree angle with your legs. With either, make sure you are keeping your legs as straight as possible to get the best out of the pose.
7.) Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)
Difficulty Level: 5
Balance with this pose can be difficult while doing SUP yoga. With only one touch point on the board, make sure that you are going slow and focusing on the foot that's on the board. This pose helps stretch your thighs, goins, and abs and will vastly improve your balance. Try hard to get your body parallel with the board so you can get the most out of this pose. You can hold your paddle in the forward hand as you reach for your back leg with your opposite hand.
8.) Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Difficulty Level: 2
This classic yoga pose is one that anyone can do. This introductory pose allows you to lift and open your chest while strengthening the spine, arms, and wrist. It also provides an extensive stretch for your ab and oblique muscles. If you are new to paddle board yoga and want to try out some basic poses before your advance, upward facing dog is a great pose.
9.) Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)
Difficulty Level: 9
This pose, commonly known as the splits, is one of the more difficult yoga poses. For those who practice yoga regularly and are comfortable with their abilities, this pose is great. It is the ultimate stretch for your groin, thighs, and abdomen. By adding the additional act of reaching your hands to the sky you are engaging your entire body in this pose.
10.) Leg Behind Head Arm Balance Pose (Eka pada sirsa bakasana)
Difficulty Level: 10
We saved the most difficult for last! This pose is extremely hard and we recommend only the most advanced yoga masters give it a try. It provides an amazing stretch for the neck and back while strengthening your arms and wrists. Although this pose is difficult in a studio, adding the balancing aspect of SUP yoga makes it even harder. Give it a try if you dare, but be safe!
Best Paddle Boards for SUP Yoga
At Tower, we specialize in inflatable paddle boards, which are perfect for paddle board yoga. Our touring paddle board is our widest, longest, and most stable board making it perfect to practice yoga on. At 14 feet long, 32 inches wide, and 8 inches thick, this board will provide all the stability you will need to practice your whole routine. If you are looking for something a little smaller our Adventure 2 inflatable paddle board will fit you right. As our most popular iSUP, this board provides a little bit of everything while being more manageable to carry and inflate. Most of our SUP yoga enthusiasts prefer an inflatable board over a hardboard because they are easier to store, carry, and travel with.