I am a yoga teacher by trade and a paddler for my passion. Kayaking has been my favourite ( along with cooking and gardening) pastime and sport for years. My husband decided to shift from kayak to SUP’s as his back was not faring well with all his sitting down activities ;car, work, cycling and kayaking. I was not impressed; far too slow, I thought. But being a good wife, I decided to keep him company for his first SUP paddle. I instantly loved it and for once I felt my two great passions- paddling and yoga come together.
As far as I am concerned standing up on a paddle board is very ‘yoga-ish’. It requires good feet positioning & connectivity from feet to tummy. This inner stability and balance requires excellent posture between the paddle strokes ( during the glide) and is great cardio. I was hooked within minutes and my previous paddling skills translated well to the paddleboards. My river knowledge (volunteer canoe coach) and my agility from yoga were an organic combo . I rarely go out on the paddleboard without yoga-ing! When we paddle some rather narrow streams, I love nothing better to drop into a pigeon or cobra yoga pose. Warriors are scary to start with but they are fantastic to change foot position during long paddles. Low lunges are the best to unravel tight ankles and hips . So you can hear how excited I am when it come to the warmer weather and I can invite people onto the most comfortable yoga mat in the prettiest of outdoor studios!
Why SUP yoga & paddling?
- Pollution is minimal– away from traffic and surrounded by the best air filters : trees, so exercising in fresh clean air is always a bonus.
- Learning something new and challenging is beneficial to our brain too as well as improving co-ordination and stamina.
- Agility and flexibility really do help manoeuvring yourself around on the board; standing to kneeling and back up again and swapping feet around can feel really scary at first but practice makes for new skills and more brain cells.
- Emotionally doing something we could not imagine we would do and being outdoors makes our heart sing.
- Feel connected to nature and water is nurturing as well as meeting new inspiring people.
- Until you try it, you cannot imagine how good it feels to be standing in the middle of the river and combine that with yoga and you could be onto a winning formula!
If you just sign up for a SUP Yoga class, you may need to paddle to our ‘studio’ but you can stay sitted if you don’t want to stand up. We will at least 40 minutes of yoga and then at the end we can try out the standing moves that are more tricky but only when the water is warm. Normally about 70 minutes.
Costs: £25 if you don’t have a board and £15 if you do.
Paddling & Yoga
During any paddle over 30 minutes, it is recommended to move around your board and do some stretches; cat, dog and planks are super easy followed by lunges and squats that require a little more balance. The warriors are fantastic to practice to kneeling and very useful for paddling. I have never enjoyed my own personal yoga practice as much as on the board. I feel it is the most comfortable, moving , tranquil yoga mat one could ask for.
So even if you don’t ask to include yoga in your paddle, just to get up to standing requires a forward bend and a squat. Then a few stretches along the river way are a good idea to relieve aching feet and ankles.
SUP YOGA classes
Starting off with a 10-15 minute paddle (sitting, kneeling or standing) to warm up and tone your muscles throughout your body and get to our outdoor river studio. Followed by another 40 minutes of yoga;cats and dogs, twists, balances, squats, leg stretches and simple yoga moves that are challenged simply by being on the water. Meditation and relaxation are simply lovely under the trees surrounded by water, others may choose to practice some more challenging balances or headstands. It simply depends on you and what you would like and there is plenty of space in our open air classroom to do our own practice. You don’t have to be experienced in yoga or in paddle boarding to enjoy a SUP Yoga class, just willing to learn something different and feel the slight movement and wobbles of the board that can make the most simple yoga moves more challenging.
If you are interested in Yoga on the paddle boards and you cannot see a SUP Yoga lesson online, just let me know and I can put together a class, it is quite popular with the yoga teachers and their students. You can be a complete beginner to yoga and paddleboarding, no previous SUP skills needed to start.