So, it’s safe to say I totally pulled a ‘Sha-nanigan’ while on vacation with my family on the beautiful island of Aruba. Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga has become the summer yoga practice of choice, and after doing it myself, there’s really no questioning as to why. It’s a great way to enjoy being out on the water and sneak in some core-challenging yoga poses. Plus, I got the perfect Instagram picture while doing it!
But honestly, it wasn’t the physical challenge that got me as much as it was the initial challenge of letting my mind set free of worries. Once I found my balance and got the footing down it was smooth sailing from there on. But, no matter how strong your core is, you’re still never prepared for mother nature’s elements of the water rocking you back and forth.
While SUP is similar to surfing, it is practiced in flat waters or protected bays, unless you are skilled enough and willing to pull a ‘Sha-nanigan’ like me (full disclosure I did this in flat waters). But no matter where you practice the benefits are still the same – increasing balance, strengthening of your body’s core muscles, decreases stress and anxiety, aids with weight loss, improves circulation and most importantly it’s so fun!
Luckly, the surfboards are all tethered together so no one floats away from the group, because trust me that would have been another story in it’s own. I will admit though, I am guilty of knocking the girl next to me off her board, not on purpose of course! I can thank mother nature and my balance for that one. I felt so bad, but we all got a good laugh in!
If I were to do it again, (which I totally will) I might want to bring water shoes next time around. The board got slippery at times, so the shoes may have have helped. I also would have loved for the class to be longer. After the intro/instructions we received on the sand, I felt like our time on the surfboards in the water FLEW. The class that I took only used basic, simple yoga poses – and for the first time doing it, it needed to be that way. There is a learning curve to finding your balance and it wouldn’t have been as fun if we were all bogged down in trying to balance and then trying more complex poses. But, once you get the hang of it and find your inner balance and zen, it’s smooth sailing! And you’ll totally want to try out more challenging postures. Here are a couple of my suggestions for beginners…
- Seated Pose – Make sure to sit with your hips on the handle and have your hands resting on your knees. And be sure to sit up tall facing the front of the board for balance. Then let the movement of the water rock you back and forth, focusing in on your breaths.
- Downward Facing Dog – If you’re looking for a great pose to start with, this is the one for you! It will aid with finding your balance and you will feel more at ease that you won’t fall off the board!
- Crescent Lunge – This poses focuses on strengthening your core and legs all while strengthening your hips and helping you find your balance. It’s suggested that you hold the pose for at least five breaths and then switch sides.
This experience was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The air was so clear and clean and I really was able to focus in on my breath and find this inner-peace within me. It was empowering and a solid workout that tested a different type of strength and level of balance that our bodies are just not accustomed to, and we all know, I love a challenge! This was also my first time standing up on a surfboard. So I felt like I conquered a bit of a fear in some way. I totally was one with the water!