For many yogis and athletes not much changes in terms of practice. For years people repeat and follow the same sequences, movements, teachers and styles with little to no variance. Unfortunately, this kind of training can be limiting. It keeps us in a comfort zone and denies the growth that comes from conquering fears and responding to the unpredictable. To evolve and be where we envision being requires that we alter our current state and try something new.
As we develop, so must our practice. Enter Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga (SUP Yoga), a fusion of floating and asana practiced on something akin to a surfboard. It challenges deeper levels of concentration, embodiment and awareness in order to be present with a flow of water beneath you. This bourgeoning practice has popped up worldwide in major cities, festivals and media and with a laundry list of benefits, rightfully so. If you’re unfamiliar with SUP Yoga picture yourself enjoying downward facing dog with an ocean view and the sound of water gently lapping at your board.
Aside from being incredibly fun and relaxing, SUP Yoga improves performance by continuously providing feedback, wobbly or wet, on alignment, balance and weight distribution. Once on board the asanas are never static; they require constant adjustment to stay centered and dry. Simple transitions become fun challenges that demand attention and unlike a yoga studio, you cannot be in your head. The moment you are not present in your body; your body ends up in the water.
After that first splash, students are transported back to a beginner’s mind and yoga feels new again! One of the most powerful benefits, and the true magic of SUP Yoga, is the deep healing peace that comes with letting go and tuning into nature. When you are moving on a living body of water you cannot fight its flow. If you resist or freeze up, practice can be exhausting and chances are you will get tossed in. In contrast, if you surrender and move in tandem with what is, your body relaxes, your breath expands, your practice becomes empowered and you can experience blissful grace and support.
At the end of class, after cultivating Jedi powers of perception and killer abs from 90 minutes of engaging the core, students experience the sweetest savasana ever. Troubles or tensions literally drift off and all is soothed by sounds of waves cresting onshore. Completely supported, gently afloat, hearts open and heal in coherence with nature, and our bodies, which are more than 60% water, recalibrate to the meditative rhythm of the sea.
If you would like to take your practice to the next level or experience the profound effect of yoga immersed in the elements, come to beautiful Costa Rica and experience SUP Yoga on the on the gorgeous South Caribbean coast.