By Sarah Sackville
Sup Yoga is one of those elusive sports that a bunch of different people from random places claims to have been the first one doing it. Scouring various sources, I’m no closer to finding the first place or person that did it than anyone else. The origins of SUP are a hazy debate, most common consensus is it was a bunch of lads in Waikiki in the 50’s. Yoga, on the other hand, is over 5,000 years old according to some sources.
However, no-one seems to know when the two joined forces. What we do know is that SUP Yoga has profound health benefits. Some of which you may not stop to think about. So here’s a list to inspire you into giving it a go.
Becoming an Arnold Schwarzenegger
In any situation where you are balancing your whole body starts to work out. *Insert Arnie voice* Total Body Workout Yah. An entire system of micro muscles engages to assist in providing stability to the major muscles you are using.
Intrigued about what’s helping you hold that pose? Here’s a (layman’s) list of what you will come to expect to groan about after a solid SUP Yoga session.
- Thigh muscles
- Back muscles that support the spine
Seeing as going out on a SUP already requires balance, adding yoga to the equation equals in one epic overall body workout. The best part is that you hardly notice you are getting this kind of exercise (until the next day). No CrossFit instructor wannabe drill sergeant is telling you to try harder, just the sound of gentle water movements lapping at your board. Though I promise you, you are getting just as much of a workout as the prior subjects crawling through mud.
The Tightrope Champion
So I explained why balancing is a great workout. However, there are more benefits than that. Practicing good balance is beneficial for your longevity. I know that sounds like I’ve just made this up for the sake of a point. But it is! Another term you can label benefits of balance under is kinesthetic awareness. This means that you have body awareness. You notice how your body moves to accommodate whatever activity you may be doing. This kind of knowledge will prevent injuries and accidents. We use our balance every single day, to get out of bed, to walk, to do everything! So it’s a pretty easy point to make that doing something like SUP yoga that increases balance will help your everyday life.
Circulation, Cardiovascular and being in control
One of the fundamentals of yoga is to focus on consistent, stable breathing with your practice. Using breathing while exercising increases blood flow throughout the body, this increased circulation is a significant aid in preventing things like high blood pressure, hypertension, strokes, varicose veins, peripheral artery disease, heart disease, kidney damage and aneurysms.
Contracting the “I am amazing” bug
Remember how good it felt when you finally got the lid off a jam jar after working at it for ten mins? Or any of those times someone doubted you and you proved them wrong?
Empowerment is a good feeling. It brings to the surface 3 of the 4 “happiness” chemicals that our body produces. Endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. SUP yoga is challenging, it tests your limits and leaves you feeling empowered afterward. Even if you fall in, there’s still a hint of pride for giving it a go.
The seconds before the kill
Have you ever watched how predatory animals have extreme focus in the seconds leading into their kill? The same sort of focus is used to execute your yoga pose as you wobble around on your SUP. Focus is a gateway to improving cognitive functions such as memory and concentration. Naturally, leading to success which in SUP yoga that may be a perfect tree pose. Mastering focus can relieve stress, it sharpens the mind, and you’ll find you don’t forget the little things as much. And we all know stress is one of the biggest and most common diseases!
So there you have it, my personal opinions of the health benefits. I know some of you are sitting back by now thinking “wow, never thought it about it that way”, well at least I hope you are! I also this article helps encourage you and maybe even gets you helping others to get out there and give SUP yoga a go. Instead of me spending another 5 points on convincing you on health benefits, why not grab your board/hire one and get a first-hand experience at improving your life!
If you’re already pumped and ready to go but need a little help with deciding what board you should use have a look at my other blog “Fundamentals of SUP yoga”.There’s also some information of basic poses to get you started. Enjoy
Justin Taylor, Head Paddler
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