Even if we were practicing at home, a studio setting was something totally unique and a bit intimidating. But we walked into the studio, unrolled our mat and set out on a life-changing journey. Stand-up paddleboard yoga brings us back to this place where it all started, but not just with the nervousness of trying something new but also how each pose is a challenge, but still something we all can do. In our traditional studio setting, we use modify poses by dropping a knee or knees, using blocks, bolsters or blankets to help us receive the maximum benefits of each pose.
SUP yoga is no different, we can explore many of the same poses but by modifying them we keep the integrity of the shapes our bodies create.
The following sequence is a warrior I modification, that is an all ability level pose and a great base for exploring SUP yoga. This can be added to opposite arm opposite leg pose to expand the sequence and test the balance while on the water.
Starting on all fours, hands below shoulders, knees below hips and about hip width apart. The belly button will be in the center of the board, over the handle. This will be the case throughout the entire duration of this pose, keeping the body in the center of the board. Extend out through the crown of the head and tailbone and encourage the spine to become long and the back flat.
Shift the weight into the hands and right knee, step the left leg forward. The left toes will land softly, behind the left wrist and the weight will be spread equally through all four points of contact, the left and right hand, left foot and right knee, shin and top of the foot. By having the weight distributed evenly the board will stay balanced.
Before we begin to rise up, the body will need to become active. The pelvis will need to come underneath the body, think mountain pose or standing with proper posture. If the booty pushes out and chest/head fall forward we will become unstable because our center of gravity will be shifted, the belly button will no longer be over the handle/center of the board. The core will become active and engaged as well as the Mula Bandha. The front foot and the back leg will pull inward towards the handle/center of the board/body. And the legs spiral inward. As the core engages the body will float up and the hands will drift up to the left knee.
Our lower body is in a modified warrior I, with a stable base. If the board is rocking from side to side, connect with the breath, engage the core, legs and allow the board to move. By trying to counterbalance the board, the body begins to shift the weight from side to side increasing the side to side roll of the board. On an inhale begin to slowly bring the hands over head, bring the belly button inwards toward the spine, lengthen up through the crown of the head, ground down through the base, rotate the palms inward to face each other and slide the shoulders back into the joints. Soften the jaw and face allowing a smile to appear, this is a SUP yoga warrior I modified.
Repeat the same steps for the other side of the body, stay in the pose for three and five breaths. The transition will be through table top, keeping the body and mind in a stable place as the confidence and comfort level builds.
Photos: Angelica Clemmer