By Michael Gleason
Summer is still here in New England! This is the chance to travel to beaches or mountains and get out on the water. However, if you are deep into your yoga practice you may want to consider paddleboard yoga to help stay in practice. Sally Susinno, RYT-200 of Wellesley, Mass., has herself not done paddleboard yoga but said it looks awesome and loves the idea. Moreover, if the Earth is 70% water it makes sense to move your yoga practice to the paddleboard. This will allow you a deeper connection with the world. Susinno emphasized that, “I don’t know of any spiritual or cultural medium that doesn’t include water…people who are empathic need water to get grounded.”
Paddleboard yoga, therefore, “forces you to get back in your body. It [being on the board] will make you adjust: tides, current, winds, other swimmers,” Susinno further commented.
The other term for paddleboard yoga is Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga (or SUP Yoga). Because yoga and swim apparel are often the same or at least identical you can wear either. SUP will work on your midsection and core muscles. Plan on being out on the water for 60 to 90 minutes, not unlike a standard Hatha Yoga class. Some important guidelines are to take classes with an instructor who knows the local waters (i.e. if you are in California you will want a CYT-200 or CYT-500 who has swam the Pacific and knows of any potential changes in weather or riptides).
Once you are on the water plan on focusing on your posture as Susinno mentioned. Because you are on water this will give you, during the paddleboard yoga, to really look at your posture. Both in the sense of what is working and where you have room for growth. The class will be much slower because of being on the water and is in contrast to any intense cardio or vigorous flow yoga.
As far as equipment for paddleboard yoga there is the board itself. For SUP Yoga enthusiasts there is even a board that allows better traction when barefoot. You will also need one or two paddle boards.
Before getting into poses keep in an eye on the horizon. This will help stay oriented and also alleviate motion sickness if you are new to being on open water. Because of the need to remain stable the 60 to 90 minutes of paddleboard yoga will cover about half of the poses to which you are accustomed when on terra firma. Because you have to sit and stand forward the initial pose will be the easy seated pose. This way will be where you take your first deep breaths and help with that balance. As you go along there will be table pose, downward facing dog, and up dog. The poses will get more challenging such as camel pose. This is where your stability on the craft will really come into focus. Take good care. The final position will most likely be sleeping pigeon. If conditions are calm enough you can opt to use your life preserver as a bolster. Once back at the landing you can go into corpse pose and the final sitting pose.
In all, paddleboard yoga or (SUP Yoga) is the way to stay in practice while enjoying the nicer weather. Who knows, maybe you can get the gang to come out on the water with you and enjoy the poses, too!
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