As a paddleboard yoga teacher, I often hear “Oh, I could never do paddleboard yoga! I’m not balanced enough!” This flourishing new water sport is certainly a challenge, but it is accessible for all abilities. Whether you are an experienced yogi or a newbie, paddleboard yoga has the unique ability to bring you back to beginner’s mind and make familiar poses new again. Try these eight lovely poses this summer.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #1: Upward Facing Dog
Take your familiar Sun Salutations onto the board and they become fresh and fun. On the water, our transitions between poses are typically much slower and more mindful, as we must carefully position ourselves and continually find our center.
Forward folds are taken at the center of the board, and then you walk your hands and feet out to plank position to continue your salutation.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #2: Warrior II
This classic surfer pose feels expansively powerful and thrilling on the water. There’s a rush of excitement that comes the first time you stand on your paddleboard, and Warrior II echoes that thrill.
Keep in mind that standing poses on the board call for a much wider stance than on land, so put your left foot close to the left side of your board, and bring your right foot to the right side of the board.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #3: Side Plank
As challenging as Side Plank is on land, finding your steadiness while flowing with the current is extra spicy!
From plank, bring one hand to the center, and then roll onto the edges of your feet. Modify by placing your bottom knee on the board for support, or take it up a notch by letting your top foot float up.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #4: Wide Legged Forward Fold
Flip your perspective and catch an upside down view of the scenery. Any upside down pose feels fun and childlike as we bob on the waves. Hello, upside down boats! Hello, upside down mountains!
In Wide Legged Forward Fold, keep the stance staggered, as in Warrior II. Bring your right foot to the right edge and your left foot to the left edge, and then rotate your feet parallel.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #5: Camel
This grounded heart opener allows you to stay steady and supported while giving you the freedom to lift your heart to the sky.
Actively press your shins to the board and your hips forward. Keep the glutes soft. Roll the heart open to the sky and release the head.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #6: Pigeon
Embrace sweet surrender. The swaying of the waves helps to release both your hips and your mind.
From Downward Facing Dog, draw your knee toward your wrist and settle down onto the board. Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale to fold forward. Rest on the forearms or bring your forehead to the board, using your hands as a pillow.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #7: Mermaid
Channel your inner mermaid! Personally, I can’t resist the siren song of this pose and its heart opening effects.
Rise up from pigeon, bend the back leg, and reach the same hand back to clasp your foot. If you have the spinal freedom, hook your foot into the crook of your elbow and clasp your hands together.
Paddleboard Yoga Pose #8: Savasana
With your anchor in place, your mind can drift away while the waves gently rock you to tranquility.
Stretch out, close your eyes, dip your fingers into the water and welcome the sun on your face.
Be courageous! Paddleboard yoga will reward you with a sweet and sweaty adventure that might become your new obsession!
Your turn: Have you tried paddleboard yoga? What is your favorite pose to practice on the water?
[Photo credits Kirkendall-Spring Photography]
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