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Sequence: How to Find Balance on a SUP Yoga Board

June 17, 2016

When we challenge ourselves physically, we ultimately are challenging our mental strength as well.

These challenges, no matter the size, allow us to grow and teach us how to overcome all types of obstacles that appear in our daily lives. Stand-up paddleboard yoga is a great example of a mental and physical challenge to help us overcome our worries. Our balance is always being challenged in SUP yoga, but when our breath and mind are steady, our practice reflects and trickling into our lives.

In SUP yoga there are numerous similarities between our studio practice; however, the glaring difference is the moving surface we float upon. The water moves as we move and like a dance will guide us from pose to pose if we let it. The following sequence is aimed at helping to build confidence in your balance as well as create a connection with the water and board. In each variation, hold for three steady breaths before moving to the next level. This breath connection will stabilize you as well as help you receive the maximum benefits of each pose.

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From table top pose, the hands will be under the shoulders, knees below hips, tops of feet flat on the board hip-width apart, two fists and the belly button will be directly over the handle of the board. Ground down in the hands, knees and top of the feet, extend out in opposite directions through the crown of the head and tailbone creating space and length in the back, encouraging it to become flat.

Allow the weight to shift from the right hand to the left and notice the changes in the board. Like the breath, the movement needs to be slow and steady, this will eliminate the board from rocking from side to side. With the weight shifted, begin to raise your right hand off the board, reaching towards the nose of the board as if to shake hands. Connect with the breath, steady the mind and allow the board and water to move freely, without trying to control it.

Begin to ground down in the right knee and top of the right foot, engage the core and spiral the right thigh inward towards the centerline of the body. Slowly drag the left foot back towards the tail of the board, keeping the toes connected to the board. Extend out through the heel of the left foot and rotate the left leg inward.

With the core fully engaged and active, slowly begin to float the left toes off of the mat. Be mindful that any quick or big movements will cause the board to move, reconnect with the breath and allow it to guide you into this next pose. As the toes float up, the right hand and left heel of the foot reach away from each other, building on the extension and length in the back body.

No matter where you are at in the pose, you are receiving the physical and mental benefits from the balance check. Allow yourself to explore your limits while continuing to build the confidence in practicing on a moving surface.

If you find yourself in the full expression and are looking for an additional challenge, begin to bend the left knee to 90 degrees. Reach back with the right hand and find either the inside or outside of the foot or ankle. While grounding down in the left hand, right knee and top of right foot, begin to kick into the right hand. Let your chest begin to move towards the nose of the board as the left knee moves upward towards the sky.

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Slowly release the foot from the hand and bring the right hand under the shoulder, left knee under left hip and top of the left foot flat on the board, returning to table top position. Follow the same steps on the other side being mindful of the changes and challenges that the other side brings to the pose.

Cheers to finding balance on and off the board!

Jeramie Vaine is a Professional Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Athlete, CorePower Yoga 200-hour Power Yoga certified instructor, SUP Yoga Instructor and WPA Level 2 SUP Instructor. In 2011, he was introduced to both SUP and Yoga, where a love for a healthy, active lifestyle was born. He has been given the opportunity to share his knowledge of the benefits of SUP and Yoga by traveling to Yoga Festivals, SUP events, races and hosting clinics. Jeramie has taught at Wanderlust Festival's, SUP Trainings, SUP Yoga Teacher Trainings, workshops, classes and clinics throughout North America. Jeramie’s vision is to expose Yoga, SUP and SUP Yoga to everyone he meets, with hope to add to or encourage a healthy, active lifestyle.

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