By Andie Landa.
The words SUP and YOGA are quite amazing on their own. By putting these two together one can have the most magical experience. If yoga is your thing, if you’re a racing king or anywhere in between, SUP yoga takes us out of our comfort zone by strengthening, humbling and empowering ourselves at the same time. There are many modifications to each asana/posture allowing sup yoga to be accessible to beginners and more challenging as we grow with our practice.
Practicing yoga on a paddle board can be as basic as warming up with a few important postures to stretch the body and focus the mind. Opening up our lungs and lengthening the sides of our body with a side stretch (lateral flexion) in any variation of indudalasana (meaning moon fragment pose or standing crescent moon pose) is a very simple yet effective benefit before paddling or for any everyday movements. This asana opens our torso creating space for mobility, warms the shoulders and expands the lungs allowing for easier breathing.
Indudalasana variation 1
Once on the water, lay your paddle by the nose of the board and come to a seat crossing the legs. The handle will usually be the most balanced part of your board for sitting, kneeling, and standing. Holding the side rail with your right hand, extend the left arm over head and reach to the right. The action will be pressing down on the board with your right arm and pushing your hips to the left while lifting the chest (very important) and extending the left arm towards the sky then to the right. You will notice your ribs on the left side of your body stretching away from your hips (lengthening your obliques). Our inhale lifts and opens the body while our exhale will allow us to stretch and move deeper into the opening we created. Holding this stretch for 3-5 five breathes before switching sides.
Indudalasana variation 2
When taking this stretch to the knees we add more of a balancing/strengthening element. Kneel with the handle of the board between your knees for balance. Take the right hand to the hip and extend the left arm over head. The action will be pushing our hips to the left with our hand while lifting the chest and extending the left arm to the right.
Indudalasana variation 3
For our third option we will stand with the handle under our body between our feet. Our feet should be a little wider than hips width. Extend both arms to the sky. The right hand will then hold the left wrist (left palm up). Lift the chest and arms. The right hand pulls the left arm to the right while pushing the hips to the left by pressing the right foot into the board pushing away from the right side.
The benefits we achieve with indudalasana will be present in each modification. This can also be done on land to start your day or before any physical activity. Make sure to spend equal time on both sides of the body holding each side for at least 3-5 breaths. The few moments we take to do this will add many more quality moments in our activities/day.
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