SUP yoga

SUP Yoga: The summer sport you'll want to try

Have you ever tried SUP Yoga? Yes, you read that right: We can practice yoga on a stand up paddle board. “Impossible,”  you say? Quite the contrary! This sport provides all the benefits of yoga while adding a new level of difficulty. Both meditative and physically demanding, SUP yoga is highly beneficial for your body and mind.

A little history of the paddle board

The SUP board originated a few centuries ago in Polynesia where it was used as a means of transportation. At the time, the planks were cut from the trunks of trees. Recognized as "the ancestor of surfing", SUP as we know it was popularized in Hawaii by Duke Kahanamoku in the 1940’s. However, the practice of SUP yoga is more difficult to trace back. Some say it was practiced in Europe in the 1930s, others attribute its fame to the surfer and yogi Shiva Rea who started doing yoga on her surfboard.

The vagueness surrounding the history of SUP Yoga is all the more interesting considering that it fits perfectly into the philosophy of sport. Indeed, yoga lovers from all over the world are encouraged to create their own practice. This partly explains the many variants of the sport that we know today, such as aerial yoga and acroyoga.

The many benefits of SUP yoga: flexibility, muscle tone and relaxation

Physically, yoga allows you to work on your flexibility and muscle tone while helping your blood circulation. Mentally, it is a relaxing activity that helps, among other things, with stress reduction. So what happens when you practice it on a SUP board? The benefits and challenges are increased! 

Since it is more difficult to keep your balance on water than on land, SUP yoga is known to be a great way to work on your stabilizer muscles. You’ll see, basic positions like the  “downward dog’’ or the “tree pose’’ will be a lot more difficult to maintain! Since it is much more demanding than a regular yoga class, the energy expenditure is increased which leads to many health benefits. 

Before starting a workout, it is recommended to identify what your body needs. SUP yoga can also be practiced in a meditative way. To work on the mind and relieve stress, performing a few sequences in the middle of a lake on a sunny day will bring you bliss and peace of mind. 

It goes without saying that body and mind go hand in hand, especially in a sports context. No matter what your priority is for the day, you will experience benefits on multiple levels.

Where to go and what to wear

SUP yoga is practiced wherever you can use a SUP board! As for clothing, it is recommended to choose fabrics that dry quickly, or a swimsuit.

During the hot season, many companies offer outdoor class sessions across the province. For those who would like to get started in the fall or winter, several pools offer SUP yoga classes year-round.