Today we want to delve into a discipline related to water and Yoga, which can be practiced in natural environments such as the sea. The river or a lake, which is gaining more followers every day: SUP Yoga. Summer and heat are coming, so this is one of many proposals to do Yoga outdoors. Do not miss the opportunity to meet a new practice.
What is SUP Yoga?
This audacious discipline does not have a specific origin or date. Some say it comes from California, others from Miami or Hawaii. It has existed for at least 10 years and is gaining more and more popularity. So, in October of 2016 broke a Guinness record by achieving the largest class in the world with 313 participants in Minnesota, United States.
The SUP Yoga is a combination of two disciplines: Stand Up Paddle and Yoga. At the same time, the Stand-Up Paddle is a kind of combination between surfing and rowing since it is a board (much wider than those for surfing. It should be clarified) and a paddle. The premise of this activity is to row standing on the board. Now, how does Yoga interact with this sport? Almost perfectly, because just as we can all practice the asanas on the traditional mat, we can also do it on a board in the water. Although the feeling of balance is probably lost at first, it can be reversed with practice.
The first time I got on a paddle board, when I finished rowing, it came naturally to me to do a seated twist, with the board on the water. And it was an inexplicable connection, I immediately realized that it was the ideal combination. So, I began to investigate and saw that Argentina was not known. The discipline already existed and in California there was a very important movement. Then came a stage of much research, much study, many hours of training alone with the board, in the river, in swimming pools. And everything I learned I pass on to my students today.
Although it is an activity that has more than a decade in Europe and the United States, it arrived in Latin America a little later. It became known thanks to the dissemination of people like Karina, who has had her school called Yoga for three years.
To keep in mind before starting
The best way to start the activity is to attend a school, with trained instructors, who teach us basic questions, especially to take care of the body. For example, being guided by someone who knows the environment is key to not taking risks. When the practice takes place in a natural environment and not in a pool, the wind is a fundamental factor. Karina assures that with strong winds of 13, 14 or 15 knots, it is possible to train, but it is not suitable for beginners. So if it’s your first time, the weather has to be with you.
Another important factor is the element. The board must be of good quality. Above all, be in good condition. In the case of SUP Yoga beginners, All-round boards are used, which are the widest and most stable. It is important that it has a non-slip surface and they can be rigid or inflatable. If they are of good quality, are even better because the surface is softer and friendlier. In addition, an adjustable paddle is convenient. It has to be a little longer than your body) and a leash, an accessory that holds your ankle to the board, so when you fall, it is easier to get up again. As an extra safety element, the life jacket has to give you good mobility in the armpit to paddle comfortably.
Differences between table and mat
By changing the base of support, everything changes. The mat placed on solid ground is a stable element that helps us not slip on the floor. On the other hand, when floating on the water, the SUP board generates a lot of instability and becomes an extra difficulty. However, no harm does not come and the element allows for greater awareness of the postures. “Many times, and especially people who do Yoga regularly, tend to automate the postures. But when they go to the table, they are activated in a more conscious state, here and now, of putting their mind on what they are doing. Being in the water awakens their state of consciousness, they lose automation. They focus more on breathing, on supports, and seeing what happens to the body’s weight. On the other hand, it gives you more strength, more resistance. Plus,
The SUP Yoga has the power even to improve and perfect the technique of advanced yogis. Because the instability of the board and the water make the body align itself so as not to lose balance and not fall.
What is a SUP Yoga class like?
SUP Yoga classes generally consist of two modules: rowing and Yoga. Depending on the weather, you can warm up on land, even with greetings to the sun or directly start training in the water, paddling.
If you are going to start, the instructor should give you all the tips on how to handle the rowing. The differences between rowing with wind and against the wind, the turns.
Do not worry. It is not difficult to learn. According to Karina, the pioneer instructor in Argentina, SUP Yoga can be practiced by children from 3 years old to older adults. And he even ensures that it is not necessary to know how to swim. The classes are given no more than 100 or 200 meters from the coast.
After the warm-up, the best comes the yoga postures module. At Karina’s school, they work with easy postures so that no one gets frustrated.
“What I am looking for is for the person who approaches to find their center through the postures. To feel part of it, to connect with what they are doing and above all, to see that they are capable of doing them. When I work with those who are just starting out and also when the weather is adverse, we do a lot of twists sitting on the board and also the child’s posture. Then, those with medium difficulty are those on the knees like the camel or the half camel. The most complex ones are the ones standing: the half-moons, the clamps, the heroes, the triangles, the headstand”.
And there is also a space for relaxation in Savasana, the corpse pose, which floating on a board over the water becomes even more pleasant.
What are the benefits of practicing SUP Yoga?
In addition to the pleasure of being in a natural environment, SUP yoga brings a lot of fun. According to Karina, “it breaks the silence of salon yoga, in which a fly does not fly. Here you fall, you laugh, and it’s very funny. You leave with joy, fully oxygenated. It gives you a great physical-emotional well-being”.
From the first time I already felt a very strong connection with the river, nature, the group and, more and more, I began to connect with myself. With practice, you will deepen your own knowledge, in parallel to the learning that sport gives you. I took it very personal and I dedicate more and more time to it. Physically you feel a greater body control, you control the table from the abdomen, the buttocks and the core, which is the entire center of the body. With SUP Yoga I managed to have more body awareness.