Our in-house certified SUP Yoga instructor, Lia, has created this beautiful flow for you. Whether you’re a paddle board instructor looking for a good class or a SUP yogi wanting to try a new flow, we know you’ll dig it! This sequence includes standing poses, chest-opening postures and even inversions. They are beginner to intermediate postures, but on the water, they feel more challenging. Enjoy the flow!
Tip: If you’d like to do this sequence without worrying about drifting away, get a paddle board anchor. They are very convenient.
To begin, warm up with a 15-20 minute paddle followed by some slow, breath-moved cat and cow poses. Get on hands and knees making sure your weight is centered on the board (hint: the handle should be somewhere below your navel). Place your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Allow the breath to lead the movement. Inhale to move into cow pose by dropping the belly, looking up and arching the spine. Then exhale to roll through each vertebrae and round the spine to come into cat pose. Micro bend your elbows to engage the upper arm muscles.
Let’s get moving!
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
From all fours, push your hips up towards the sky. Press back with your hands, fingers spread wide. Lift your fingers to ensure you’re placing the pressure of the base of the fingers in the palm. Active your Uddiyana Bandha by drawing in the navel. Your sit bones reach upwards while your spine remains neutral. Keep the back of the neck long. Remain here for five breaths. You may need to bend your knees here if your hamstrings are tight. If you have wrist issues, you can come down onto your forearms straight into our next posture, dolphin pose.
Dolphin Pose (Makarasana)
This posture is great for so many reasons. As well as lengthening the hamstrings, it is an excellent way to practice getting upside down. Dolphin pose is the building block for forearm stands (Pincha Mayurasana). To get into it, bring your knees down from Downward Dog. Place your forearms on the board, elbows below the shoulders and fingers spread wide. Try to keep your forearms parallel to each other. Look at the board and activate your upper arms and shoulders. Walk your feet as close as feels comfortable for you, aiming to bring the hips over the shoulders. Once you master dolphin pose, you will have no problem kicking up and holding a forearm stand!
SUP Yoga Standing Poses:
Modified Warrior I (Virabhdrasana I)
In SUP Yoga, we practice Warrior I with the knee down because it can get incredibly tippy! From Dolphin Pose, place your knees on the board and push up onto your hands. Now that you’re on all fours, step your right foot between the hands as you lift your chest and raise your arms to the sky. Both of your hips should be square and facing the nose of your board. The palms turn in towards each other and the shoulders should be heavy. Reach your energy up and look up to the sky. Hold this pose for five breaths and repeat on the other leg.
Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
This SUP Yoga pose is trickier than it looks on a paddle board! From your modified Warrior I, place your hands on the board as you extend your front leg. Your back foot can be slightly turned out. The placement of your feet here is important. On land, you would practice this pose lining up the sole of the back foot with the heal of the front foot. On a paddle board, you’ll need to step your feet a few inches wider apart for balance. Square your hips to the front of the board. You can stay here with your hands reaching down or you can bring your arms behind you for reverse prayer. Feel your chest open and your shoulders stretch in this delicious pose.
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
From Pyramid Pose, place your hands down on the inside of your front foot. Turn your back foot out 90 degrees so that it is facing the side of the board. Bend your right (or front) knee and make sure to keep it directly above the ankle. Your right hand should already be by the inside of your right foot. Slowly raise your left arm up and you rotate your left ribs towards the sky. Send your energy up through the fingers tips and look up towards your raised hand. Hold for five breaths before repeating on the other side.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Chair Pose is a posture of opposition. As you reach up with your arms, you’re also reaching down through your squat. You want to lengthen the spine here while keeping the shoulders away from the ears. To come into Chair from Extended Side Angle Pose, place both hands down on the board and bring your feet together. For more stability in this pose, separate the feet hip-distance apart. Slowly stand up, moving through each vertebra. Sweep your arms up at the same time and lower your hips as if you were to sit on a chair. Tuck the navel in and ensure your knees don’t bend beyond the feet. Look up and hold for five deep breaths.
Revolved Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
The last standing SUP Yoga pose in our sequence is revolved chair. This will require a little bit of balance! Bring your arms into prayer by joining the palms together. Begin to rotate your upper body while keeping the hips facing front. Bring your left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Continue twisting from the waist. Push into your left hand against your right to create openness in the chest. Gaze over your right shoulder and hold for five breaths before repeating on the other side.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
After those challenging standing poses, you’ll relish a seated forward fold like this one. Sit near the centre of your board with your legs extended in front of you and your feet flexed. Lengthen your spine and reach up through the crown of your head. I like using my paddle so I hold it over my head and inhale, folding forward on the exhale. You can press the paddle into the soles of the feet or on top of your shins. Pull the navel towards the spine to deepen the fold. If you feel any tension in your lower back, bend your knees. Hold for five breaths before sitting back up.
Core Strengthening SUP Yoga Poses:
Upward Plank (Purvottanasana)
From your seated pose, place your hands about one foot behind you with your fingers pointing towards you. Press your hips up creating a long line from your shoulders down to your ankles. Aim to get your entire foot down on the board – you’ll feel a nice stretch through the top of the feet. For an added challenge, lift one leg up at a time with pointed toes. Try not to collapse in the shoulders in this pose. Keep your neck long and gaze up to the sky while holding for five deep breaths.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
Starting in a seated position, bend the knees and place the feet flat on the board. Exhale to bring your legs up to table top. Place the hands to the outsides of your legs. Hold here until you feel stable, engaging the abdominal muscles to keep the spine neutral and the chest lifted. Straighten the legs to 45 degrees. Roll the shoulders back as you reach forward through the finger tips. Navasana is an excellent core strengthening pose. Hold it for five breaths and repeat up to five times. Careful not to collapse in the lower back!
Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
Come onto hands and knees from the previous posture. This is a great place to add a Child’s Pose or a few more cat and cows. Extend one foot behind you and then the other. Push your weight up and bring your body into a long line from the shoulders to the heels. Keep your elbows slightly bent to avoid hyperextending them. Lengthen the back of the neck keeping it in line with the rest of the spine. Watch out for the hips here, neither dropping them or piking them up. Engage your core and hold for at least five breaths. Add a few push-ups here for some extra burn!
Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
We love flowing from plank to side plank. It builds strength in the arms, legs and oblique muscles. To transition from plank to side plank, simply drop both heels to the right as you lift your left arm and reach it up to the sky. Look up to your lifted hand and hold for five breaths. Lift from your lower obliques and engage your whole core. Lower your arm and repeat on the other side, passing through your regular plank again. Repeat this mini sequence 2 to 3 times to build even more strength.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Come down onto your belly with your arms by your sides. Turn on your core by pulling the belly up. Activate your arms and legs and lift them up on an inhale. Your legs should be parallel and your palms facing one another. Reach all the way through the finger tips and keep the neck in line with the spine. Only lift as high as you can without feeling pressure in the lower back. Careful not to shrug the shoulders up towards the ears. Take five breaths here before lowering back down.
SUP Yoga Inversions:
Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Lie on your back with your arms along your sides. Lift your legs to 90 degrees. Inhale to lift your hips off the board. Place the hands on the lower back for support. Make sure your elbows are hugging in towards each other. The aim is to bring the hips directly over the shoulders, with your legs lengthening and reaching up to the sky. Your thighs should be in line with your torso. Be mindful of your neck in this posture and avoid moving your head to the side. Hold this posture for 10 breaths.
Plow Pose (Halasana)
To transition from Shoulder Stand to Plow Pose, place the arms down on the board with palms facing down. Slowly begin to lower the legs and, if you are able to, place the toes down behind your head. You may choose to do this with bent knees if it feels too intense with straight legs. Reach your tailbone towards the sky and engage the abdominal muscles to avoid collapsing in the lower back. Activate the arms by pressing down. This will help you keep your pelvis above your shoulders. Take five breaths here. To return to a lying position, inhale the legs up over the body and exhale to slowly lower the hips and legs down on the board, rolling down the spine and moving through each vertebra.
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
This soothing, hip opening posture is perfect to calm the body and heart rate down. To get into into, get into plank. Bring your right knee to your right hand. Lie your calf down on the board, bringing the right foot to rest as close to the left hand as feels comfortable for you. You may need to increase the distance between your right foot and your left hand if this bothers your knee. Ensure that your weight is evenly distributed between both hips. You can choose to stay there, come down to your forearms or bring your chest all the way down, resting your forehead on the board. Stay here for five to ten breaths before pushing up and repeating on the other side.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
Being able to come into full Lotus require a lot of openness in the hips. To some it comes naturally and to others, it takes more practice. If full Lotus isn’t available to you, try half Lotus or simply sitting cross-legged. To get into Padmasana, sit at the centre of the board. Fold one leg in placing the foot on the groin. Stay there is that is enough, or fold the other leg placing that foot on the opposite groin. Lengthen the spine reaching up from the crown of the head. Place the hands on top of the knees, bringing the thumb and index fingers together. This is a meditative pose that can be held for as long as is needed. Close your eyes and enjoy!
You can end this flow by coming into Savasana, also known as Corpse Pose, simply lying on your board with your arms and legs relaxed in a natural way. Savour the peacefulness of practicing this pose on the water, as your board gently floats on the water.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this SUP Yoga flow and practice it as much as you can!