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Taking Relaxation Beyond the Studio

by Organic Spa Magazine

If you’re lucky enough to live near a body of water or have an awesome beach vacation planned, paddle-board yoga and meditation is a must-try this summer.

In the past few years, stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) has exploded in popularity. What started as a spin-off of surfing practiced only in the Hawaiian Islands is now an outdoor recreation activity enjoyed all over the world. Its newfound popularity comes to no surprise, as SUP is the perfect blend of relaxation and a killer workout. It’s extremely low impact, yet an amazing full body workout that increases your balance, endurance and strength.

Adding yoga and meditation to your paddle session is an awesome fusion workout and can work wonders for your mental and emotional state. When doing SUP yoga, remember that a steady breath and a stable head position are key to keeping you from toppling into the water. SUP yoga takes a lot of practice, so start small, work your way up to more challenging poses and don’t forget to enjoy the process. Even if you are a paddle novice, here are five great poses that you can master on a stand up paddle-board in no time. Namaste paddle yogis!

Child’s Pose—If you’re having a little trouble balancing on your board, this is a great pose to start with! While they are called “stand up” paddle-boards, it is much easier to stay balanced by sitting on your knees if you are just starting out. Widen your knees, touch your toes together, extend your arms and touch your forehead to your board. Practice breathing deeply and start becoming comfortable with the slight movement of the board beneath you.

Downward-Facing Dog –Once you have a sense of balance on the board, it’s time to extend up to downward dog. Use your hands and feet to find that perfect balanced sweet spot in the center of your board. Widen your fingers, stretch your back and breathe. You’ll feel your core work like crazy as small waves move beneath you, but a nice wide base will keep your body steady.

Plank—Align your belly button with the handle of the board and slowly lower yourself into a plank, holding on to either the board or your paddle placed near the end portion of your board. If you feel like you’re steadily balanced then extend to Upward Dog. Breathe deeply and hold for several breaths.

Warrior 2 – This is the perfect pose if you want to feel as if your body is gracefully gliding across the water. Take a few seconds to find the most steady parts of the board and plant your feet, with the front leg bent and the back leg extended with your foot sideways. With your arms extended and your fingers pointed, you’ll feel like your body is slicing through the water.

Savasana—There’s no better way to end a SUP yoga workout than by calming your body and your thoughts through a powerful meditative savasana. Feel the sun on your face and the gentle waves lap beneath you. Listen to the birds, the waves and just the sounds of nature as you let yourself drift into a calming meditation. You might even get a bit of an abdominal workout as you subconsciously work to keep your body flat on the board over the small waves.

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