How to Do Yoga on a Stand-Up Paddle Board

Sep 5, 2023 | Guides

A yoga-specific paddle board is generally wider and more stable than a regular paddle board. It may also feature full-length traction pads designed to provide grip during poses. They're crafted to make it easier for you to practice yoga, but you can definitely start with what you've got!

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How To Do Yoga on a SUP Board?

Paddle boarding and yoga: two great tastes that taste great together! To get started with yoga on a SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard), you’ll first want to get comfortable paddling around. This will help you understand your board’s balance points.  

Once you feel confident, paddle to calm, shallow water where you can safely attempt yoga poses. Anchor or tether your board to ensure you stay put. 


When you’re all set, start with basic poses like Child’s Pose or the Downward Dog. As you gain confidence and stability, you can move on to more advanced poses. You may even consider taking a SUP yoga class to learn the ropes (or boards!) from a professional instructor. 

A Special Note on Tethering Your Board 

A crucial step before starting your yoga session is to anchor or tether your board to something stable. You don’t want to find yourself floating away mid-pose!  

You can use traditional anchors like the one we linked above, but you don’t need special equipment. It just makes the journey a little easier and nicer-looking. If you don’t hae an anchor, you can use a long rope attached to a heavy object or nearby buoy. 

Is Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga Hard?

Well, “hard” is a relative term.

If you’re comfortable on a yoga mat and a paddleboard separately, merging the two activities will still present a new challenge, but you’ll probably figure it out quickly.

The moving water adds an element of instability that will engage your core and challenge your balance in a whole new way. So, it’s different, but in a good, “push-your-boundaries” kind of way.

If you’re not comfortable on a yoga mat or paddleboard separately, you’ll want to start out slow with some beginner moves that keep your balance as close to the board as possible. You may not want to do any standing moves until you have a feel for it. Take it at your pace – it’ll still push your boundaries in good ways 🙂

Reasons to Try SUP Yoga

If the idea of floating yoga doesn’t already have you pumped, here are some reasons you should consider giving it a whirl:


Engage Your Core: The unstable surface will give your core muscles a workout like no other.

Closer to Nature: Performing yoga while surrounded by water and nature can provide an incredibly serene environment.

Enhanced Focus: The added element of water will require more concentration than your regular yoga routine, honing your focus and awareness.

Health Benefits of SUP Yoga

Aside from being incredibly fun, SUP yoga offers numerous health benefits:


Improved Balance: The constant motion of the water will improve your balance and stability over time.

Stress Reduction: The soothing water, fresh air, and focus required in SUP yoga act as natural stress relievers.

Full-Body Workout: Combining paddling and yoga, SUP yoga gives you both cardio and strength training.

Outfitting Your Board for Yoga

You don’t need a specialized board for SUP yoga, but a yoga-specific paddleboard will provide more surface area and stability. Add a full-length yoga mat traction pad for extra grip. If you’re using a regular SUP board, just make sure it’s as stable and wide as possible.

Psst! Looking to try a yoga board?

Here are some of our top choices that won’t break the bank!

🔹 Just to Try it Out – If you’re looking for something a little more wallet-friendly, Goplus has you covered. (Check it out here)

🔹 Mid-Range for Happier Wallet – Or, if you’re looking for a mid-range that combines quality and quantity, try Funwater. With a non-slip base, this board will keep you stable on the water. (See the latest sale)

🔹  Quality Over Quantity – But maybe you’re looking for a quality board that ensures you’ll find what you’re looking for at the start. You can’t go wrong with Tower Paddle Boards. (Browse this top pick brand)

What is the Difference Between a Yoga Paddle Board and a Regular Paddle Board?

A yoga-specific paddle board is generally wider and more stable than a regular paddle board. It may also feature full-length traction pads designed to provide grip during poses. They’re crafted to make it easier for you to practice yoga, but you can definitely start with what you’ve got!

Easy Beginner Moves to Try Right Now

You’re anchored, you’re geared up, and you’re ready to go. But where do you start when it comes to SUP Yoga poses? If you’re new to this incredible blend of water sport and ancient physical art, these beginner-friendly poses are your ticket to a great time on the water.

1. Seated Meditation

How to do it:

  • Sit cross-legged at the center of your board.
  • Place your hands on your knees, close your eyes, and take deep breaths.

Benefits: This is a simple way to acclimate to the sensation of being on a moving surface while also calming your mind.

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

How to do it:

  • Kneel on the board, touch your big toes together, and sit back on your heels.
  • Extend your arms in front of you and bow forward, resting your forehead on the board.

Benefits: This grounding pose helps you get a feel for your board while stretching your back, hips, and arms.

3. Table Top Pose

How to do it:

  • Begin on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees below your hips.
  • Keep a flat back, engage your core, and gaze downwards.

Benefits: This neutral position is excellent for practicing balance and preparing for more advanced poses.

4. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

How to do it:

  • Start in the Table Top Pose.
  • Press your palms into the board and lift your hips towards the sky, forming an upside-down “V” shape with your body.
  • Try to straighten your legs and push your heels towards the board.

Benefits: This pose stretches your entire body while strengthening your arms and legs. Plus, it’s a good test of balance on a SUP board.

5. Plank Pose

How to do it:

  • Start from the Table Top Pose and extend your legs behind you, coming onto the balls of your feet.
  • Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.

Benefits: The plank pose strengthens your core and arms, crucial for paddle boarding and advanced yoga poses.

6. Sphinx Pose

How to do it:

  • Lay on your belly on the board.
  • Prop yourself up on your forearms while keeping your elbows under your shoulders.
  • Look forward without straining your neck.

Benefits: This gentle backbend stretches your spine and opens up your chest and lungs, making it easier to take in the fresh air around you.

Keep Falling? Here Are Some Tips and Tricks

So, you’ve taken the plunge—quite literally—and now you find yourself more in the water than on your board during your SUP Yoga sessions. No worries, it happens to the best of us! Here are some more in-depth tips and tricks to keep you dry and mastering those poses like a pro.


Build a Strong Foundation

Before diving into advanced poses, make sure you’re comfortable with the basic ones on solid ground. Knowing the basics well will provide you with the necessary skills to adapt them to the moving surface of your board.


The Buddy System

Consider practicing with a friend, especially one who is experienced in SUP yoga. They can help correct your posture and balance, and you can do the same for them. Plus, it’s way more fun!


Start Low, Aim High

Don’t rush into standing or complicated poses right away. Begin with low-to-the-board poses like the Child’s Pose and gradually work your way up to more upright positions as you feel more stable.


Soft Knees, Strong Core

A slight bend in the knees will lower your center of gravity, making it easier to maintain balance. At the same time, engage your core muscles for better stability—think of them as your body’s natural “stabilizing system.”


The ‘Focal Point’ Technique

When attempting any pose, focus your gaze on a fixed point in the distance—whether it’s a tree, a building, or even the setting sun. This will not only help you balance but will also keep your mind from wandering.


Slow and Steady Wins the Pose

In SUP yoga, every move you make is amplified by the water’s movement. Therefore, make transitions between poses as smooth and controlled as possible. No sudden moves!


Grip and Balance

If you find yourself consistently falling over, check your grip. Your hands or feet might be slipping on the board. Most yoga-specific paddle boards come with full-length traction pads, but if yours doesn’t, consider investing in one for added grip.


Reset and Breathe

If you find yourself falling multiple times, it might help to reset. Return to a comfortable seated or kneeling position, take a few deep breaths, and reconnect with your body. Sometimes a quick reset is all it takes to find your balance again.


Don’t Forget to Laugh

Remember, falling is a part of the learning process. Don’t get frustrated; instead, take each tumble as a learning opportunity (and a refreshing dip!).

By implementing these tips and tricks, you’ll find yourself spending more time practicing yoga and less time swimming next to your board. So go ahead, tackle that SUP yoga session with newfound confidence.

What to Wear While Doing SUP Yoga

For SUP yoga, think “functional but stylish.” Quick-dry yoga wear is ideal and can be helpful on cooler days. Most importantly, wear something that allows a full range of movement, and never skip putting on your life jacket!

For a quick-release inflatable belt life jacket that won’t get in the way of your yoga movement, try this Onyx M-16 Series Belt Pack:

And there you have it, your ultimate guide to getting started with yoga on a stand-up paddle board! Give it a try and unlock a new level of zen you never knew existed.


Happy Paddling, from PaddleOutside!


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