Looking for a way to mentally prepare yourself for the week ahead? Follow this all-levels Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga routine to wake up the right way and get in touch with yourself and nature:
Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Set an intention for your practice and take a moment to honor the god/spirit/source/universe of your understanding. Then, connect with your breath by drawing your awareness to your inhale and exhale. This will help slow down your heart rate and calm nerves, if any.
Seated Single-Leg Hamstring Stretch
Stretch your hamstrings during your warm up or your cool down. Sit with a tall spine and extend one leg straight while bending the opposite leg at the knee so that your foot touches your inner thigh. Sit up taller and hinge forward. Use the sides of the board to deepen the stretch. Switch sides.
Start in on all fours – a tabletop position – with your wrists planted directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips (about two fists apart). Draw your belly button to your spine and engage your core. Reach your right leg back behind you while flexing your foot and drawing your hip towards the board. Reach your left arm in front of you (like you’re going to shake someone’s hand). Balance and breathe. Switch sides.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Starting on your belly, press into your hands and tops of your feet. Lift your thighs from the board and draw your wrists towards your hips. Keep your shoulders down and away from the ears. Inhale.
*Don’t confuse this with Cobra (Bhujangasana) which is a different kind of backbend with wide legs on the ground.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A full-body stretch and strengthener! Start in plank pose (top of a push up) right over the middle of your board. Without moving hands or feet, push your hips back and find yourself in an upside-down V-shape. Spread your fingers and draw your shoulders back. Take weight off of your wrists by reaching up in the hips and down in the heels. Gaze is between your hands or toes. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
One Legged Downward Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Transition from your down dog to your sequences, by opening up the hip and stretching out the leg. For closed-hip sequences (Warrior I, Crescent), keep your hips parallel to the ground. If you’re opening up to Warrior II sequences or wide-legged folds, reach your leg up and open (knee towards the sky).
Crescent Lunge (Alanasana)
Start in Downward-facing Dog and step your left foot between your hands and in the middle of the board. Keep your knee bent over your ankle. Stay high on your right toes with a straight leg. Place hands over the bent knee for balance and then reach your arms up. Hold for five breaths then switch sides.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Start in downward facing dog and step your left foot between your hands and in the middle of the board. Keep the knee bent over the ankle. Pivot your right foot until your toes point all the way to the right and straighten the leg. Stretch the arms out and gaze at your left middle finger. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.
This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a fun pose to try and balance with, but make sure you’re warmed up!
Try this hip-opening variation of Pigeon for an added quad stretch. Start in Pigeon. Reach for the extended leg with your same-side arm. Wrap your foot around the crease of your elbow and try to interlace your hands behind your head. Breathe.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
You have to do Boat on the water! Balance on your sits bones with your legs either bent or extended straight and reach your arms out in front of you. Draw your shoulders back and away from your ears.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Start on your tummy, bend your knees and reach for your ankles. On your inhale, reach your heels to the sky, keeping your knees hip-distance apart. Find your breath and rock forwards and backwards as you inhale and exhale.
Full Wheel (Chakrasana)
Warm your way into this full-backbend by starting in Bridge. Lie on your back with your heels close to your hips (about fingertips reach). Lift the hips and interlace your fingers, reaching your hands towards your heels and drawing the shoulders open.
Once you’ve warmed up a few times, try Wheel. Lie on your back with bent knees. Place your hands by your ears, fingertips pointing in towards your body. Press into your hands and feet and lift your hips up. Stay grounded in your heels and keep the knees hip-distance. Try lifting one leg up and balancing on three limbs.
Master your headstand on land before you try it on a paddleboard, and remember there’s so much more to yoga than doing a headstand on a paddleboard!
Start in a Tabletop and grab opposite elbows. Keeping your elbows where they are, reach your hands out and interlace your fingers, untucking your bottom pinky and releasing the thumbs. Drop the crown of your head between your hands and find a drishti (focal point). Come up high on your toes and straighten your legs.
Walk your legs in, engage your core and float your toes to the sky. Squeeze your legs together and engage your core. Breathe. Counter each inversion (heart over head) with Child’s Pose.
Modified Headstand (Sirsasana)
An easier way of working into headstand is trying it from a tripod. Place hands flat on the board and drop the crown of your head in front of your finger tips. (It may be helpful to grab the outside of the board.) Use your arms as a shelf for your knees and place one shin on the back of your triceps until you’re balanced. Find a drishti (focal point). Float your legs to the sky. Counterpose with Child’s Pose.
Hero’s Pose (Virasana) with Eagle Arms (Garudasana)
After gripping your feet in standing sequences, your feet will need a nice stretch. Sit on your heels with your knees touching. Curl your toes under (you may have to help your pinky toes tuck). Choose any variation for your arms that works for your body:
– Fold over the legs and reach the arms out, like Child’s Pose.
– Place hands on the board behind you for a deeper stretch in the feet.
– Try Eagle Arms (Garudasana) for a deeper heart opener by wrapping one arm under the other. Stretch your head back, if it’s available to you. Hold for a few breaths and switch sides.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
I always close my practice with this position, just before Savasana. It’s a gratitude moment to feel my heartbeat and my breath filling up my body.
Sit up tall with legs extended and hands planted firmly by your hips. Press into your hands and reach your hips towards the sky. Tilt your chin back.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
A yogi’s treat at the end of the practice! Lie down on your board with your eyes closed, if you choose. If it feels safe to you, dip your hands in the water. Rotate your arms so your palms are open to the sky – it’s an invitation for your body to receive all of the beautiful messages and information from your practice. Scan your body and breathe, releasing any remaining tension.
Check out the full story about SUP yoga here.