April 09, 2021 9 min read

SUP Yoga - What You Should Know

Are you sitting there thinking to yourself, “What is SUP Yoga, and how can I get involved?”  Floating yoga is taking the paddle boarding world by storm, and it’s no secret why. 

Lucky for you, we’re here to give you all the information your need to know about SUP Yoga and why you should be getting involved.

We’ll give you some pro tips to get you started — you’ll be a floating yogi in no time. Channel your strength and focus; discover a new level of balance and get doing yoga on the water this summer!

What is SUP Yoga?

What is SUP Yoga

SUP Yoga is a combination of paddle boarding and yoga practice. It challenges you to find another level of balance and focus your mind, all while floating atop the water. 

Paddle board yoga is not only elegant but also a great challenge for any rider.

Land vs Water

There are many cross-overs between traditional yoga and SUP yoga. Both provide a workout, stretch and strengthen muscles, and call for controlled breathing.

Yoga enthusiasts have taken Hatha and Vinyasa sequences to create a hybrid flow that works well on a stand up paddle board.

The main difference between the two is obviously one is on the water. Your paddle board becomes your mat. You need to make small adjustments to your body and weight distribution to counterbalance the movements of the board.

Immersion into nature takes your yoga practice to a whole new level. It’s no wonder why the SUP Yoga movement is booming.

Who can do SUP Yoga?

Who can do SUP Yoga

Whether you are a beginner learning SUP basics or a seasoned expert who regularly hits the water, SUP Yoga is available to everyone.

We recommend paddle board yoga to anyone wanting to improve their balance skills and work on their core muscles in a fun way. It’s also an excellent way to wind down after a long day in the office or after a hard week of work.

When should you take yoga to the paddle board?

Before you start trying to balance in the downward-facing dog, it’s important to make sure you have a decent grasp of what paddle boarding is and the basic techniques you need. You have to be comfortable with some fundamentals of paddle boarding, including:

  • Paddling into an open space of water
  • Moving from sitting to standing
  • Distributing your weight across the board
  • Safely falling into the water
  • Able to get on the board from the water

Health Benefits — why you should do SUP Yoga

SUP yoga health benefits

Practicing yoga on a stand up paddle board is not only relaxing but also fantastic for your wellness. There are so many health benefits of SUP Yoga. 

Promote Mindfulness 

Mindfulness has been highlighted as a key area of modern life since 2020 when the global pandemic took hold of events. Finding mindfulness, creating a calm headspace, and empowering individuals is key to a happier life. 

And guess what? SUP Yoga is the perfect way to be mindful, gain inner calm, and see your individual power.  

Breath Control

When practicing yoga, the focus falls on the breath, helping you move from positions and hold longer poses. Taking yoga on the water is no different. 

Once you’ve mastered breath control, you can take this practice with you in all areas of life. 

Blood Circulation

Along with breath control comes improved blood circulation benefits. This promotes a healthier body and helps destress your mind, ultimately working towards improved emotional wellness.

Full Body Workout

Have we mentioned SUP Yoga is a workout? You can burn a lot of calories on a paddle board, and when you practice SUP Yoga, you will be working often forgotten about muscles. Core, legs, upper body — yoga demands a full-body effort without you even noticing.


Try Sup Yoga and you will see how different it is from everything else. This is a refreshment from yoga on land and traditional paddle boarding. Mixing up your fitness regime and doing something offbeat is a great way to keep your motivation stimulated.

Immersion into Nature

Practicing yoga on a paddleboard allows you to take your session into nature. Breathing in fresh air and being surrounded by water is a proven method to improve your mood. Don’t skip out on this experience.

Fun and Challenging

The best form of exercise is always the most fun, and SUP Yoga is certainly that. Joining a SUP yoga class is another way to make the session even more enjoyable. 

But remember, just because it’s fun doesn’t make it easy. SUP Yoga practice can be made as challenging as you want by mixing up the poses and pushing yourself.

Challenge Balance and Flexibility

Increasing your flexibility will help you paddle stronger, faster, and further. Improving your balance will allow you to explore new locations. 

Both challenging your skills in varied water conditions to reach the next skill level. 

What to wear for SUP Yoga

SUP Yoga Outfit

Ideally, you want to wear flexible clothing for SUP Yoga. Just like yoga on land, you need to be able to move between yoga poses seamlessly and without restriction. 

For warm summer days, many people choose to yoga SUP in swimwear so they can have a cool-down dip in between poses or at the end of the session. We recommend you throw on a rash guard to give you protection from the sun. 

For cooler days, you can wear your workout clothes over the top of swimwear to give you an extra layer of warmth — this is good if there is a cold wind coming across the water. Just be prepared to get wet in whatever you choose to wear, just in case you take a tumble!

Recommended SUP Yoga Gear and Accessories

GILI anchor kit

To make your SUP Yoga session even better, we recommend you get hold of some of these accessories to add to your gear:

  • Paddle Board Anchor - this will secure you in one place and allow you to fully relax into your yoga SUP session.
  • PFD - some lakes and parks require you to wear a life jacket for safety.
  • Leash - a coiled ankle leash can save you having to swim for your board if you fall in, and a paddle leash will secure your paddle to the board when you are in a yoga sequence.
  • Sunscreen - UV rays reflect off water, so make sure you zinc up even under your chin.
  • Dry Bag - store your valuables, keys, and water and secure using bungee cords.
  • Inflatable Paddle Board- iSUPs sit higher out of the water and provide an excellent and stable deck pad for SUP yoga poses.

Where to do SUP Yoga

SUP Yoga Lake Tahoe

To practice SUP Yoga, you need to have calm water. This will help you be stable while balancing on one leg in a tree pose or taking on a headstand for something more challenging. 

Make sure you choose a safe location considering: wind conditions, water depth, water temperature, and other people/vessels.

The most common locations for paddle board yoga are calm water lakes. However, you can take your yoga practice to ocean waters, harbors, and bays. Just make sure you check tide times and can maintain a stable balance.

Five best locations for stand up paddle board yoga

There are so many perfect locations for floating into a downward facing dog. Check out these to start you off:

  • Lake Michigan - there are a number of amazing bays and shorelines with perfect backdrops for any stand up paddle board yoga session.
  • Florida Keys - tropical vibes, warm water, and perfectly calm waters. We recommend heading to Big Pine Key for the best experience.
  • Lake Tahoe - incredible views and crystal clear water make this a stunning location for SUP Yoga.
  • Lake Grapevine, Dallas - join a yoga class and meet like-minded people.
  • Union Reservoir, Colorado - a popular spot for SUP yoga classes for a meditative paddle with nature, right in the heart of the Colorado mountains.

Simple yoga poses to try on a paddle board

SUP Yoga pose

Beginner or experienced, there are many poses that you can take from the land and put onto the paddle board. Place your hands on the deck and try out some of these paddle board yoga poses before putting them into a flowing sequence.

Easy Poses for Beginner Yogis

  • Child's pose
  • Cat-cow combo
  • Mountain pose
  • Corpse (Shavasanna)
  • Downward facing dog

Advanced Poses for Expert Yogis

  • Warrior II
  • Tree pose
  • Dancers pose
  • Shoulder stand or headstand
  • Plow pose

Expert Tips to Help Your SUP Yoga Practice

Mastering paddle board yoga basics will take time and perseverance. But stick with it, and soon you’ll be a floating zen machine inspiring others to give SUP Yoga a go themselves.

  1. Remember to breathe. Moving on to the inhale and exhale will help you focus and keep your balance in more challenging poses.
  2. Focus on a point in the horizon. When trying standing poses, pick a tree (or another stationary object) to look at; this will help keep your balance.
  3. Mark the center of your paddle board. Keeping your weight central will improve your form. A simple paint line or tape down the center can be a helpful reminder.
  4. Fall in the water every now and then. Make the most of being in the blue space and have some extra fun!
  5. Get the right board. We recommend a wide inflatable board to give an excellent surface slightly higher out of the water than a hard board.
  6. Join yoga classes. Having someone show you the poses and help you on your technique is the best way to start anything. It is also fun to share the experience with other people.

GILI Sports Board Recommendation for SUP Yoga

Begin with buying the best yoga paddle board to get your practice off to a flying start. You need a wide board for optimal stability while you experiment with various yoga poses. When it comes to SUP Yoga, the bigger the board, the better.

GILI Komodo 10’6 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

SUP Yoga Expert Tips

Supreme versatility and excellent stability, the GILI Komodo is our number one stand up paddle board for SUP yoga. The wide deck allows you to get the best stance throughout your whole flow.

Dimensions: 10’6” x 33” x 6” (225L volume)

Weight capacity: 340 lbs

We love the versatility that comes with this board. You can go from yoga to catching waves, all within the same SUP!

check latest price

GILI Meno 11’6 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

SUP Yoga Meno inflatable paddle board

Wide, stable, and versatile — the GILI Meno is an excellent inflatable board that can take you from the ocean waves to a floating downward dog faster than you can say namaste. 

Dimensions: 11’6” x 35” x 6” (240L volume)

Weight capacity: 485 lbs

This board’s shape allows for easy gliding through any water conditions, while the wide deck allows you to get your stance wide for yoga positions.

check latest price

GILI Manta Ray 15’ Multi-Person Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Manta ray inflatable paddle boards package

Fancy trying out Acro Yoga? Grab a buddy to lift you up high and find your zen together in partner poses. 

Dimensions: 15’6” x 56” x 8” (735L volume)

Weight capacity: 1150 lbs

This supersized board is perfect for two people or even a dog to join in the fun of SUP Yoga.

check latest price

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About SUP Yoga

🏆 How do you do SUP yoga?

First, you need the correct equipment and a safe location. When you take your yoga practice onto a SUP, try to keep your weight as close to the center line as possible to maintain stability and balance. SUP yoga poses are the same as on the land with minor adjustments of weight distribution to avoid falling into the water.

👍 What should I wear to SUP yoga?

You need to wear comfortable and non-restrictive clothing. Standard yoga pants or exercise clothes are ideal for paddleboard yoga. Many people choose to wear swimwear for warmer days so they can take a refreshing dip in the water after the session.

🏝️ What does SUP yoga mean?

SUP Yoga is a combination of paddle boarding and Vinyasa/Hatha yoga. It takes the poses and sequences from traditional yoga and puts them into a different environment on the water. Having a stand up paddle board as the yoga mat adds an extra dimension to the fitness session to test balance, focus, and skill.

📦 How wide should the paddleboard be when doing yoga on the board??

The bigger the board the better. Ideally, you need a board at least 34” wide to give you maximum stability as you explore your yoga practice. The width of a paddleboard directly affects the balance of the rider.

❓ Can you anchor a paddleboard?

Anchoring your paddleboard is recommended when practicing yoga. This will allow you to focus on the session and not worry about floating off in currents. There are specially designed lightweight anchors made for SUPs that are also suitable for SUP fishing activities.

If you join a SUP yoga class, you may even have the opportunity to tether yourself to another yogis board. This keeps the group together, adding additional energy to the practice.

📦 What is the best board for SUP yoga?

Inflatable paddle boards are the best type of SUP for yoga. Having a bigger sized board will help you significantly. We recommend a board at least 11’ in length, 33” in width, and 6” in thickness. The GILI Sports inflatable range is excellent, versatile, and offers durable paddleboards perfect for SUP Yoga.

Abi Leach
Abi Leach

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