New to SUPing? You are in for a sensational treat. But like any new sport, take it slow and have an open mind to let the transformative and adaptable qualities of water help you approach your new yoga adventure with ease and comfort. Hala Yogi Leslie Ross shares with us her six simple SUP-yoga suggestions.
#1 Get a Fresh Perspective: Center, Ground, Connect and Get Stoked
Before you even think about stepping on your board, stand on the shore and look at the water. Drink in your surrounding with 6 deep full body breaths. Feel your feet grounded on the earth as your spine and top of your head grow tall towards the sky. Hold the paddle over your head with hands wide and twist side to side to start to awaken your shoulders, torso and neck muscles. Then side to side to open your side body (laterals).
#2 Dry Run: Test drive on shore before launching
Check out your board and paddle on shore before heading out. Place your paddle across the width of the bard and practice getting on and off the board from a kneeling position. Avoid stepping onto your board from shore in shallow areas to avoid obstacles under the surface that could catch the board and cause you to jolt forward unexpectedly. Onshore, practice paddling and switching sides with your paddle so you begin to create muscle memory for the motion you will need once on the water.
#3 Buddy Up: Friends Don’t Let Friend’s SUP Alone
Have your buddy help you launch and push you out away from shore. Start kneeling and choke up on the paddle if needed. Paddle on your knees until you get comfortable with the balance. Place the paddle blade on the board in front of you and use that as support as you come to stand.
#4 Get Up, Stand Up: Stance, Balance, Gaze
Stand on your SUP board with a relaxed athletic stance; feet hip are width apart in the center of your board (frame the handle with your feet), knees can be slightly bent and look where you want to go (just like biking). Resist the urge to over hinge and the hips and stick the tailbone back which moves your center of mass too far back. Stand tall and enjoy the views.
#5 Make The Move: Use your Whole Body
Think Full Body and use your core. Your paddle strokes should be smooth, clean and involve your whole torso and not just your shoulders. Keep the paddle shaft vertical in the water and draw the paddle towards your heels. Change sides every couple of strokes to keep your board tracking straight.
#6 Explore More: Take Time to Soak it in and Stretch
After you’ve got the paddling down, take time to stretch and relax on the water. Balance your paddle across your board and start to explore all the options SUP has to offer. To open up your spine and move some energy, try a couple seated or kneeling cat-cow movements. From a seated position, draw your arms overhead, interlace your fingers and turn your palms up to the sky. As you press your palms to the sky, tip to one side. Stay for a couple of breaths and then switch sides. From cross-legged on your board, walk your hands forward- Add in a similar cat cow sequence or hold onto the right rails and pull back for a side stretch. Come back through center and switch sides. Sit tall and move your right hand to your left knee for a spinal twist. Repeat on the other side. Lastly, you don’t miss out on the best pose of all on a SUP board – corpse pose! Give yourself at least a couple min laying down to relax and float.
Photos courtesy of Holly Resignolo of Mountain Town Magazine.
Leslie Ross is a Hala Team Rider.