Yoga on a SUP board helps work out rarely used muscles
Yoga isn’t easy to begin with (not many people can readily twist themselves into figurative pretzels), and it’s gotten progressively tougher thanks to variations like sweat-inducing Bikram and inverted trapeze yoga. But no form of yoga fires up those little (and rarely used) muscles quite like stand-up paddleboarding yoga, the art of stretching out while perched on a SUP board in the middle of the water.
SUP yoga is relatively new, too, with the first weekly classes sprouting up in San Diego about three years ago. The woman behind the craze? Paddle Into Fitness’ Gillian Gibree, the lanky blonde beauty you may recognize as one of the models from the new Roxy Outdoor Fitness campaign. The Massachusetts native grew up life guarding, ocean swimming, and surfing on Cape Cod, but it wasn’t until she moved to San Diego that she decided to combine two of her favorite fitness pursuits—yoga and standup paddleboarding—and launch the first set of weekly SUP yoga classes through her company, “Paddle Into Fitness.” Here, we catch up with Gillian to get the scoop on the benefits of yoga on the water and her tips for getting started.
What are some of the benefits of practicing yoga on a SUP board versus in a studio?
It’s a fun way to get outdoors when the weather is nice. The unstable surface of the board makes it a little more difficult—even planks and other simple poses become harder and they fire off muscles you may not be working on stable ground or in a studio. It’s a nice change from the mirrors and the studio—our goal is to have fun and enjoy the elements, to get out on the water and try something different.
What are some beginner yoga moves we can try on our boards?
Anything from a seated position—eagle arms to open the shoulders, even meditating from a seated position to get into the routine. From there coming to all fours, doing some cat-cows to warm up the spine before extending the opposite leg and hand, which will get the core firing. Work on some balance moves and you’ll start noticing the board making something like the table top position more difficult. Get into plank pose for a few breaths, then move to downward dog.
Do you have any gear recommendations?
The boards we use are 404 boards and they’re great for all-around SUP yoga, fitness paddling, and surfing, and they have a variety of shapes and sizes. The board I use is a 10-foot, 6-inch called the “Floater” that seems to work well for me and women of my size. You can wear yoga attire and if it’s colder you can wear a wetsuit (though I wouldn’t recommend it since it can get in the way). Roxy just came out with their Outdoor Fitness line, which has great options for yoga gear, fitness gear, and SUP-specific gear, like SUP yoga pants that are made from neoprene.
How can we improve our skills after we’re well schooled in SUP yoga?
We’re doing SUP yoga certifications for people who want to start their own SUP yoga businesses, get more experience, or even get continuing education credits for the Yoga Alliance. We go over water safety, paddling technique, different styles of SUP yoga; we talk about equipment and even go over things like what insurance to get or where to go to start classes. Our Mexico event will be our first destination certification, but the rest are out of the Sheraton in downtown San Diego. Most teachers are really good at teaching yoga, but they might be lacking the ocean knowledge and water safety knowledge. I want to make sure I teach people everything I’ve learned to prevent injury.
For more information about SUP Yoga and the certification program, visit paddleintofitness.com.
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Source: Johnie Gall, GrindTV, http://www.grindtv.com/lifestyle/pro-active/post/sup-yoga-tips-from-paddle-into-fitness-gillian-gibree/