We love us a good outdoor yoga practice - the park, the beach, there’s really nothing like hitting mountain pose with a sweet view of the mountains. This summer, we’re eager to get our feet wet and take our practice to the water. We caught up with Oakridge ambassador, Kristy Wright for the scoop on all things stand up paddleboard yoga.
what exactly is “sup yoga”?
SUP Yoga is essentially yoga on a stand up paddleboard in the water. Since the SUP board is large enough to act as a mat (and sturdy enough to support someone standing on it) it was only a matter of time before yogis started to discover the ways it challenged their practice.
which came first for you – paddleboarding or yoga?
Yoga! I began my personal practice about 10 years ago and I started teaching yoga just over two years ago. On a trip to Hawaii in the fall of 2010 my friend Coreena and I tried SUPing and both really enjoyed it. When we returned home she enrolled me in starting Stand Up Paddle Vancouver with the intention of starting a SUP Yoga program. What was missing in my yoga practice was the ability to be outside – now I’m so grateful to have both!
what’s a sup yoga class like?
Before diving into a SUP Yoga class, you should: 1. know how to swim and 2. take an intro to stand up paddling class.
I try to keep my sessions intimate (about five people) so that I can really pay attention to my students and their needs. We generally start with a warm-up stretch on the beach, working through a few sun salutations – then we hit the water. We take the boards out for a paddle to get the heart pumping and once we’re settled into an area we move as a group from pose to pose. We finish with a seated meditation and Savasana. Imagine the hot sun warming your body, the smell of sea salt and your fingertips grazing the water as your float around on your board –pure bliss.
what gear do we need?
For cooler days I recommend the kind of stuff you’d wear to a regular yoga class that will move with you and dry quickly if you get wet. In the warmth of summer, a bikini and board shorts (and of course, sunscreen) will do just fine. There’s always a chance you could get wet so come prepared – bring a change of clothes and a towel!
what about a board?
At first it’s a good idea to just rent a board until you’re ready to commit. I paddle an 11' Rogue Vixen All Water SUP Board - this board is the most versatile to paddle and play on for SUP Yoga. If you’re just beginning go for a board that is much longer and wider, such as a Jimmy Lewis Cruise Control. The wonderful thing about the SUP Yoga practice is if you think it's getting too easy... just get a smaller board.
on a scale of savasana to handstand how difficult is sup yoga?
SUP Yoga is definitely challenging (especially when it comes to balancing poses) but it’s a fun way to energize and transform your regularpractice. Adding the element of water simply increases the amount of core stability you need to achieve every pose.