How SUP Yoga Can Give Your Practice a Boost

There is nothing quite like finding yourself in beautiful surroundings. Whether you travel a lot, or are just lucky enough to live somewhere amazing, nature puts on some amazing shows and witnessing them can affect you in positive and unexpected ways. Stand Up Paddle or SUP yoga is inspired by these amazing places in nature and seeks to use them to enhance the experience of yoga. It also requires a good sense of balance and the ability to swim!

What Is It?

SUP yoga is yoga that is performed on a stand-up paddle board, which is like a long surf board. These boards are usually used for stand-up paddle boarding, which is a variation of traditional surfing that originated in Hawaii. In SUP yoga, the yoga poses are performed while standing or sitting on the paddle board in a quiet stretch of ocean, bay, or lake. This gives practitioners amazing views and all the benefits of the natural setting as well as a new and interesting way to enhance their yoga practice.

What Are the Health Benefits?

SUP yoga increases flexibility and strength in the same way as normal yoga, with the added benefits of greatly improving balance and core strength at the same time. Because of the unstable surface, core strength and stability are vital to this form of yoga, which guarantees a good workout. It is also fairly safe, as failure means a swim rather than some kind of injury.

SUP yoga is also said to improve blood circulation and digestion, as well as lower stress and encourage greater relaxation. The ocean setting is vital here, with the famously healing and soothing effects of nature used in tandem with exercise to produce positive benefits and a greater appreciation for the natural world.

Poses You Can Try During Your Session

Posing during a SUP yoga session are restricted by the limited space and natural balance of the person on the board. Beginners may find themselves in the water often, unable to balance, while performing the poses but with time and practice they can get used to the unstable ground.

Some poses that can be performed during SUP yoga include many of the normal poses you would perform in your everyday yoga practice.

Child’s pose: Good for establishing balance, kneel and put your forehead on the board in front of your knees. Relax and enjoy the sway of the board.

Downward Dog: Starting on your hands and knees, press up through your hands and feet and lift your tail bones towards the sky. Use the muscles of your thighs to pull your upper body back and stretch out your shoulders. Relax your neck.

Warrior I: This pose requires a lot of balance and will probably end with you in the water several times. Stretch your feet apart, one turned out and the other at a forty-five-degree angle. Turn your body to face in the direction of your lead foot. Lunge forward, keeping your knee behind your toes and lift your arms over your head.

SUP yoga is a trend that brings the beauty of the natural world and the benefits of being out in nature into the normal yoga practice. It can be difficult to learn to balance on the rocking boards, but the important thing to remember is to have fun with it, get straight back on your board when you do fall in, and enjoy both the movements and the amazing setting. Remember, don’t take yourself too seriously, because everyone falls in.

Power Yoga

Power yoga is the generalized term for vigorous vinyasa-style yoga. It is known as a fitness-based yoga and is modeled closely by the Ashtanga method with its athleticism and vinyasas (sequences of poses), but allows for the teachers to teach poses in any order. This makes power yoga classes different from teacher to teacher depending on which order they find to be most effective.

The term power yoga sprung up around the mid-1990’s. Two American yoga teachers who were practicing Ashtanga yoga wanted to make it more accessible to western students. They diverged from the traditional Ashtanga sequence that uses a set series of poses that are done in the same order every time. They kept the same vinyasas as the Ashtanga sequence but placed them in different orders to provide more of a variety and a more intense workout.

Even though classes differ greatly between teachers, all power yoga classes include an intense flowing yoga that has minimal chants or meditation. This is why it is considered more of a western form of yoga because it is more physical based than spiritual. This style of yoga is primarily seen in gyms for this reason.

Classes typically start with some integrative postures such as Child’s Pose or Downward-Facing Dog Pose to help awaken the muscles and get the body ready for practice. Next, a simple forward bend is taken to begin breath control and to connect the mind and body. After the mind and body are focused, the warm-up sequence begins. Warm up sequences can differ from class to class, but they typically include a few round of Surya Namaskar A and B. These Sun Salutations help to awaken the body further.

A few balancing poses can follow to reinforce concentration. Warrior and Triangle poses can be done next followed by a series of back-bends such as Bow Pose or Locust Pose to awaken the hips and mobilize the pelvic muscles. After the warm-up series follows the moon phase of the class. This is when hip openers such as Hero Pose or One-Legged King Pigeon Pose are taken. These stagnant poses begin to wind down the body. Head stands and shoulder stands can be done during this cool down period of practice. Savasana closes practice by bringing the body to complete relaxation.

Even though power yoga is one of the most intense forms of yoga, it still brings all the benefits of classic yoga. The flows are fast paced and there is little time to rest, but the controlled breathing brings a calming effect over the body. Some people stay away from yoga because traditional yoga can be seen as boring or considered to be religious. However, power yoga brings a new modern vibe to the yoga community and incorporates those that would have never thought of doing yoga for a work out. Power yoga is a great style for those that have stayed away from yoga and who strive better in a gym atmosphere. It’s just another type of yoga that proves that there is a style for everyone.

Reasons Kids Should Practice Yoga

Millions of people across the globe have been practicing yoga ever since it was introduced. This is because they are aware of the many benefits that come with it. Whether it’s recovering from an illness, boosting energy, improving flexibility, building muscles, yoga has numerous benefits. Although it is popularly practiced by adults, kids can also practice it for various reasons. 

Better Self-Discipline and Emotions

A parent with kids that have poor self-discipline is always stressed by how the kids behave. When a kid starts engaging in yoga, they learn how to master their behavior. Gradually, they become their own responsibility, learning how to control themselves in everything they do. At the end of the day, their self-discipline can improve. Yoga has calming effects that no other exercise guarantees. Studies have shown that kids who have behavioral issues especially those with autism can learn how to control their emotions.

Yoga Improves Flexibility and Strength

As their bones develop, kids need to be flexible and stronger. Practicing yoga assists with this which in turn reduces injuries especially when they run around or play sports. What improves the muscular flexibility is the breathing and the deep stretching involved during yoga. Their muscles also become stronger despite how yoga seems to be low on physical activities.

Kids Focus Better

For yoga to be effective, concentration must be involved. Kids tend to get distracted by various stimuli which affect their attention and focus. No one promises that yoga will be easy for them in the beginning but as they get used to it, their concentration will improve for the better.

Yoga Improves Eating Habits

There are kids who have eating disorders. Did you know that when they start practicing yoga, eating habits improve? Statistics show that they not only improve eating habits, but that children also tend to choose much healthier foods which will make every parent happy.

Kids Becomes More Patient in Life

A good yoga teacher is kid-friendly. Kids will definitely take time to learn a new skill but once they learn it, they adapt well. As a yoga instructor is patient with kids and keeps on encouraging them that they can do it, they adapt patience which is a virtue they hold in life.

They Develop Self-Awareness

Besides improving coordination and balance, practicing yoga also plays a role in how kids develop self-awareness. Yoga involves listening to the body and thinking about how it feels. Yoga helps them understand their bodies more and this boosts self-awareness.

Kids Listen Better

Most parents can attest that most kids will not listen to their elders. By joining yoga classes, kids not only learn good listening skills, but they also learn how to respect others.

Yoga, which first started in India, is fit for all kids. The ordinary and those with special needs can all practice this breathing, stretching and meditation form of art. It improves kids for the better. For the kids with Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, they can engage in yoga.