The Benefits of SUP Yoga
When I started teaching SUP yoga, I wanted first and foremost to share my love of being on the water, where I can admire the scenery to better connect with the present moment. I also wanted to contribute to the feeling of escape and humility that paddleboard yoga creates. It’s that simple. That is why I am sharing with you the different benefits of SUP yoga today.
Contact with Water
Many people feel soothed when they are in contact with water. Whether we are swimming or staying on the shores watching the water’s surface, we feel the relaxing effect the water creates. So, imagine yourself floating on a SUP yoga board with a horizon that seems to belong to you and where a symbiosis is created between the sea and the sky. The water under the board produces a gentle rocking movement which makes practising SUP yoga soothing for the body and mind.
We can also do SUP yoga in a pool. In the first years of the practice’s increasing popularity, I didn’t warm to the idea. The smell of chlorine, the artificial lighting… This environment didn’t inspire me at all. But there was so much demand that I finally caved! And I was happily surprised by the results. I do choose my swimming pools according to my requirements: being alone throughout the class and being able to listen to ambient music. Being in a pool allows us to further develop our practice while we wait for summer!
Enjoying and Letting Go
When the surface conditions are more active on the lake, the river or even the sea, the practice obviously takes on a whole new form. The body often becomes tense and the mind resists… and whoops! We fall into the water! This exact moment is a turning point in this practice. Either we react negatively, or we open ourselves up to a whole new perspective: letting ourselves go and enjoying the moment. Because falling can happen when you practise SUP yoga, no matter your level of proficiency.
When it happens, I always invite my participants to reconnect with the heart of their inner child and ask them, “what are you afraid of?”, “what are you resisting?” Indeed, when we were young, playing and falling were a part of our daily lives. With this idea in mind, people start laughing and enjoying falling into the water. It’s a practice that has a huge playful and balancing power on our emotions.
Moreover, when we are with a small group of people ready to experience new sensations, it is pure joy. People often tell me how they were nervous or tired, but that after the session was over they felt energized.
The Deepening of Classic Yoga
We can’t cheat when we are on the water. Obviously, alignment remains a basic principle that is specific to yoga. But here, we need to know how to adapt our posture to whatever happens. Just being and trying to do our best according to our breathing in sync with the water’s movement.
Activating the abductors and the adductors is key for most standing postures. The kneeling postures, on the other hand, require engaging the trunk’s stabilizing muscles (the famous abdominal and scapular belt).
The joints contribute too and are in high demand. As the board is constantly moving, we need to be perfectly aware of the sensations in the body to avoid overloading our ankles or wrists, for example. We need to use the correct muscle groups to feel stable and relaxed and to avoid certain potential injuries.
In my humble opinion, the practice of SUP yoga opens us up to life in a different way, on another level. Nothing less. And it’s for that reason that people really adhere to the practice.
That being said, will I have the pleasure of guiding you on the water this summer in one of our on-water-studios?
Marie-Ève Bertrand is certified in yoga since 2010 and is the founder of POP SPIRIT. Every year, she trains the future teachers of SUP Yoga, a practice that is dear to her. She is the instigator of UNDA YOGA™. She is also trained in Mindfulness meditation. Each year, she travels to Hawaii, surfing with the aloha spirit is her thing! In the same vibes there’s the #PopEscapade year-around component who presents various activities including SUP, snowshoeing, meditation, yoga and creative and spiritual workshops.