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Yoga on a paddle board is a balancing act

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TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Adventure Group is learning how to do standup paddle board yoga or SUP yoga. It's a first for Britton Julian.

"I like saying yes to a lot of adventures that I normally wouldn't say yes to," Julian said.

WhatSUP South Tampa Instructor Tessa Blosser says as long as the water is calm it can be smooth sailing.

"We're all anchored out, so we're not floating away from each other or anything like that. No one's like ‘hey, come back over here' in the middle of your yoga class," explained Blosser.

But she says SUP yoga can be a lot harder than yoga on land.

"Being on a paddle board brings the instability into your yoga practice and so you really have to focus on that while doing the yoga," Blosser said.

The easiest poses on land like modern warrior, down dog, and dog spilt can all be more challenging on the paddle board.

"If you really want to push yourself to get a certain move or a certain pose, then you have a chance of falling in," Blosser said.

"During a normal yoga practice you're focusing and you're stable on ground, but here the water is definitely going to put in another variable," Julian said.

Blosser says SUP yoga isn't a stretch.  "It is a newer thing, and people are really jumping on board," she said. But staying on the board can be a balancing act.

SUP yoga can be done in any kind of water. The more waves, the tougher it can be.

Additional Information:

Standup paddle board yoga, or SUP yoga as it's frequently called, is simply doing yoga where a paddle board on the water replaces a yoga mat on land. But apart from the obvious differences between yoga on land and yoga on water, there are many ways SUP yoga challenges you in different ways.

  • Balance: Whether you're standing or doing yoga on a paddleboard, your balance is going to be key.  The greater fluidity of the board on the water means your balance has to be even more centered; if it's not, you'll end up in the water. Yoga on a paddleboard will make you focus on your balance even more, which can accentuate the benefits of the stabilization exercise inherent in many yoga positions.
  • Visual Differences: Doing yoga, or any physical activity, in the same place for a long period of time, your mind will create visual points in the environment to help orient your body.  These points can assist your balance and coordination.  For many, changing the environment in which you exercise can help you hone your balance, coordination, and focus.  The impact of being on water can be an especially unique experience which will require you to completely reorient yourself.
  • Technique: Being on an unstable surface like water will make you more aware of flaws in your yoga technique, because if your technique is bad enough, you'll fall into the water. Finding and fixing these flaws can help you get more out of yoga, and make you stronger and have a better sense of balance.

(Sources: theclymb.com/stories/passions/paddle/stand-up-paddle-board-yoga-the-latest-trend-in-outdoor-exercise and ogajournal.com/lifestyle/3212)