7 yoga poses to do while stand up paddleboarding
Summer is right around the corner—it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, and what better way than on a paddleboard? If you have the opportunity to try the sport, you will quickly notice the major benefits. SUP improves core strength, posture and endurance. By combining it with yoga, you can also reduce inflammation in the body, boost “feel good” chemicals in the brain and increase energy levels.
These yoga postures will help rejuvenate your mind and body, while building strength and increasing balance. The poses are a combination of restorative and challenging postures. If you are just starting out, begin with the first three poses and work your way up to all seven. Hold each pose for at least five deep breaths and repeat the entire series three times.
Lunge with Arm Reach
Benefits: Improves mobility in the hips while opening up the chest and shoulders.
- Come onto your knees. Step right foot forward so ankle is directly under knee. Keep torso upright and press forward into the hips.
- Hold paddle overhead with hands shoulder width apart. Maintain a neutral spine and keep your gaze straight ahead. Draw shoulder blades together and keep core engaged the entire time.
Pigeon with Chest Expansion
Benefits: Opens up the hips, chest and shoulders. Releases tension in hip flexors and improves flexibility in the glutes.
- Come into a downward dog with hips pressed toward the sky and legs straight. Lift right leg up to hip height, then swing it through bringing right ankle behind left wrist. Level off the hips.
- Bring paddle behind your back, lift chest and gaze up.
- To switch sides, place the paddle down and come back into downward dog. Swing left foot behind right wrist and get back into position with paddle behind back.
Benefits: Increases flexibility in the hips and shoulders, while also increasing strength in the legs, back and ankles.
- Place the paddle on the board. Step your left foot to the back of your board and press down through your feet, bringing your torso up, aligning your shoulders above your hips.
- From this high lunge, spin your back heel so your foot is planted on the ground, turn your right toes to face your front and your left toes slightly in so your hips and shoulders are facing your torso, right arm in front of you, and left arm behind you, palms down. Look over your front hand. Repeat on the other side.
Straight Arm Plank
Benefits: Strengthens the entire core and improves stability in shoulders.
- Come onto your hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Maintain a neutral spine and deeply engage the core.
- Extend right leg straight back, placing the ball of your foot on the board. Once you are steady, extend left leg straight back coming onto the balls of your feet.
- Form a straight line from your head to your heels. Draw belly button toward your spine and keep chin off chest.
Straight Arm Plank with Leg Raise
Benefits: Strengthens the core, glutes and hamstrings. Improves shoulder stability and strength.
- Come back into the straight arm plank with legs extended straight and wrists under shoulders.
- Engage the glutes to lift right leg up to hip-height. To switch sides, return to center and lift left leg up to hip-height.
Downward Dog Split
Benefits: Improves balance, increases strength in core and reduces tension in back and shoulders.
- Come onto your hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Curl your toes under and press hips up and back to downward dog.
- Lift right leg up above the hips. Engage your core, press through the palms of your hands and relax your head.
- Switch sides.
Benefits: Improves balance, increases flexibility in the hamstrings and stability in ankles.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart. Deeply bend both knees and fall forward. Place both hands on the board for stability.
- Lift right leg up to hip-height or above. Let head hang heavy. Deeply engage your core to help with balance.
- Switch sides.
Nora Tobin is a NASM certified personal trainer, nutrition and performance enhancement specialist, advanced rescue diver and yoga instructor.