What’s SUP yoga?
Paddleboard yoga – or SUP yoga, as it is called and hashtagged – is one of the coolest sports. Not only does it look graceful with the moves and the backdrops are super scenic, stand-up paddleboard yoga is a challenge of balance, fitness and a tight core. Without all that, you’ll end up in the water.
Who better to take us through the ropes than Paddleboard Miami’s Brenda Lowe? The fitness buff and actress (you may recognize her from the movie Baywatch with Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson). She is at the 2018 Toronto International Boat Show, greeting fans on January 12 to 14. And we caught up with her, so she could school us on what it takes to look like a SUP yoga pro, even if you’re a beginner.
SUP yoga – why it pairs so well together
Other than gorgeous photos, paddleboard yoga is a great workout.
The SUP yoga expert says: “They connect in a beautiful way,” says Lowe. “Yoga for me is meditation, calming of the mind and the best and most thorough workout of muscles that are not as easily targeted doing traditional workouts in a gym. Paddleboarding is essentially a copy and paste of what I just said about yoga.”
Is social media behind the SUP trend?
Unlike other fitness fads, this sport is here to stay.
The SUP yoga expert says: “I don’t think social media has to do with yoga or paddleboarding’s popularity,” says Lowe. “They are both examples of low-impact exercises that come with a long list of benefits: fitness, mental well-being, community, ‘looking cool’ and having fun, which makes it something that is here to stay as opposed to a fad that people share on their social media. Yoga and paddleboarding are better than that.”
Perfect this yoga move first
When you do the triangle pose correctly, this strengthens the legs.
The SUP yoga expert says: “I’ve always loved triangle pose,” adds Lowe. “I love to reach-reach-reach forward and then tilt down. I feel a crazy good stretch all over and also feel quite graceful doing it.”
If you can, try a downward dog on water
It’s great because your body is balanced on the board, and the hamstring stretch feels amazing.
The SUP yoga expert says: “I love a three-legged downward dog flow combined with a knee to elbow plank,” says Lowe, who encourages you to “try it!”
Leave this move to the professionals
You’ll feel super confident when you’re do a move on the water, but don’t try a headstand until you are really experienced.
The SUP yoga expert says: “Well, I always remind myself to calm my ego because that’s completely against yoga but I truly feel proud of myself when I easily lift myself into a headstand,” says Lowe. “Essentially, it’s all about your core.”
This is how to perfect the headstand – and four other killer Barry’s Bootcamp moves.
If you want to do inversions, on or off the water, know this
Go slow and really focus.
The SUP yoga expert says: Lowe says she is not an inversion expert, but she does offer some insight. “Don’t focus too much on throwing your legs over – actually don’t even do that. Let your core lift your legs up and relax while breathing. If you’re holding your breath, throwing your legs up and saying a Hail Mary, you’re probably not doing it right.”
The best thing to do for your yoga practice? Practice
The only way to get better at something is to keep at it
The SUP yoga expert says: Every morning do some yoga, says Lowe. “I recommend at least 15 minutes of a flow. Trust me, you will thank me later. And while you’re doing it, try to meditate on one word that will guide you through your day. My top word is ‘discipline.’ Just do yoga.”
Set your own goals
It’s true what they say – every body is different.
The SUP yoga expert says: As you learn to balance your body on the paddleboard, ensure you keep challenging your body and your mind. What should your next challenge be? “The one that intimidates them the most,” says Lowe. “It’s a learning curve for everyone, but I can share what I learned on my own.”
The biggest SUP yoga mistake: Making yourself fall
It is all in you.
The SUP yoga expert says: The mistake Lowe sees clients too often make? “Getting too scared when the board tips a little,” she says. “It’ll tip a lot more than you think without tipping over. If you just relax and allow it to move nothing will happen. Literally go with the flow.”
Make your centre of balance is in the right position
With yoga, your centre of balance moves through the flow, which is why going slow is key. But don’t stress if you find yourself not completely balanced. Use your core to stay above water.
The SUP yoga expert says: “It’s a little fun to be off-center because your body will work to correct its workout,” says Lowe. “That’s the fun of doing yoga on water, right?”
Some last bit of advice
Have fun with yoga and paddleboarding.
The SUP yoga expert says: “One, be safe,” says Lowe. “Yoga can be so relaxing you may disconnect from your surroundings so choose a spot on the water that keeps you safe from other vessels.” And the second one: “Enjoy your time doing yoga on a paddleboard. You’re doing a great service to yourself and your body while re-connecting with nature at the same time – keep up that flow and connected mindset.”
And last, but not least: “Don’t put on oily sunscreen before doing yoga on a paddleboard,” says Lowe.