So, you want to take Yoga to the next level?
How does doing the downward dog on the water take your fancy? SUP Yoga is taking off, and every day more and more people are doing it on the water. Whether just warming to the idea or convinced that sup yoga is for you, you’re going to want to know what the best paddle boards for yoga are, where to buy them, and which one is perfect for you.
From key paddle board features to the top-recommended accessories, we’ve done the research to help you buy the best yoga board. We’ve even included a basic routine for you to try once you get your SUP on the water. With these top tips, you’ll nail the vinyasa flow in no time at all.
If you're completely new to paddle boarding, you may want to check out how to paddle board, first.
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SUP Yoga is a branch of paddle boarding that’s taken the world by storm. It requires concentration and tests the paddler’s balance more than traditional yoga. More muscles are engaged as the board wobbles underfoot, similar to doing squats on a balancing board in the gym. This makes it a great overall body workout in addition to calming the mind. Yes, that’s right, you can swap out the gym and burn calories paddle boarding instead.
Doing yoga on a paddle board intensifies the zen and tranquility. Being outdoors and surrounded by the water is the ultimate relaxation. You can listen to nature around you and feel the water trickling through your fingers while practicing yoga.
Paddle boards for yoga need to be large and wide enough to provide stability for you to be comfortable trying new poses. Generally, an all-around paddle board equipped with the right paddle board accessories is an excellent versatile choice.
We recommend choosing an inflatable paddle board for yoga because they are softer on your hands and knees. They’re also safer for times when you lose your balance and fall into the water — don’t worry, it’s part of the learning process!
We have listed three fantastic paddle boards for yoga below. All of them come with excellent reviews and a money back guarantee.
Dimensions: 10’6 x 33” x 6”
Volume: 225 L
Weight: 21 lbs
Capacity: 340 lbs
The GILI Komodo inflatable stand up paddle board has perfect dimensions for SUP yoga. The width gives an ideal stable surface, perfect for stretching out in a Warrior Pose or trying to reach high in the Tree Pose. Impressive weight capacity makes this a versatile option, which is great for yoga and multi-person use and taking your dog out on the water.
Dimensions: 10’6 x 35” x 6” / 11’6 x 35” x 6”
Volume: 245 L / 270 L
Weight: 23 lbs / 24 lbs
Capacity: 450 lbs / 485 lbs
Choose between two great sizes in the GILI Meno iSUP range. Ultra-wide measurements make practicing yoga with this board a breeze, especially with the included full-length deck pad. Even though the sizes are more significant than alternative boards, you can still maneuver these SUPs through all water conditions.
Dimensions: 10’6 x 31” x 6”
Volume: 225 L
Weight: 19 lbs
Capacity: 275 lbs
Our GILI Air iSUP is the perfect all-around performer paddle board. It has a rigid design and an ideal, easy-to-use, snap-in fin setup that allows for easy gliding over various water conditions. The board comes with a built-in full-length traction pad, which is perfect for yoga.
From dimensions to fin set up and everything in between, you need to be aware of key features and attributes when looking for the best yoga board.
One of the most common questions people ask is, ‘what size paddle board do I need?’
For SUP Yoga, the bigger, the better. Beginner SUP yogi’s need to be looking for stability in a paddle board. Stability comes from the width and thickness of the board. Ideally, you need the following measurements for a good yoga board:
The best yoga boards often have an overall design that is versatile for most riders. Of course, there can be varying factors depending on your weight and height. You should refer to paddle board size and weight charts before purchasing.
There are pros and cons to both. Typically, fiberglass SUPs offer better maneuverability and speed in the water. Whereas iSUPs are better for traveling and saving space in storage.
For a sup yoga board, the main attributes you need are stability and comfort. You can use hard paddle boards for yoga; however, inflatable boards come into their own and are the most popular choice for Yoga.
Most inflatable boards already have a full traction pad on the deck, providing grip and a padded surface for your knees and cobra poses. You’re also less likely to hurt yourself with an iSUP when you inevitably lose your balance and fall into the water — don’t worry, it’s all part of the fun.
Inflatable paddle boards usually are 5 - 6 inches in thickness and sit on top of the water, as opposed to in the water like fiberglass options. This will help your balance and keep the deck from getting too wet and slippy.
Stability also comes through the paddle board’s fin system. The best yoga paddle boards typically have a three fin set-up. A large center fin and two side fins to give maximum stability in the water. Many inflatable paddle boards also have permanent side fins, with a snap-in center fin for safer travel and storage.
This three fin set-up is also a great versatile choice for all-around paddle boarding board. As the rider becomes more advanced and develops their skills, they will probably want to experiment with different fin configurations.
You can make your SUP yoga sessions even better by using certain accessories to help you out. Make sure you have the following necessary gear for any paddle boarding adventure:
Swap your yoga mat for an EVA deck pad running the length of the board. This will give you grip and stability while being comfortable underfoot. Inflatable SUPs tend to have built-in deck pads.
Look for a board with a center handle lying flat to the deck (or removable), so you can have the most comfortable yoga session. To help your positioning, you can mark the deck pad with center and horizontal lines — this will improve your form in various yoga poses.
An anchor kit is a crucial accessory for yoga SUP practice. SUP anchors are lightweight grapnel hooks with a military-grade rope and highly visible float to help secure your position in the water. Anchors are essential for days spent on the water and fishing from your paddle board.
By securing your stand up paddle board with an anchor, you can fully relax and get down to doing yoga and perfecting your stance.
Bungee cord storage straps are perfect for keeping your gear secure on the nose of your board while you are practicing yoga. Pack a small waterproof dry bag with a bottle of water and a camera to snap photos of your friends perfecting their form and stance, and stow it away safely and securely when you have finished with it. High-quality iSUPs will have bungee cords already in place.
You can also use paddle board bungee cords to secure the paddle to the rail on the board while you’re not paddling. The deck will then be clear for you to concentrate on the yoga poses.
As you could probably guess, there are plenty of similarities and crossovers between traditional land yoga and SUP yoga. The poses and flows are the same, as is the relaxing mind and body fitness benefits. However, there are some other apparent differences between the two types.
SUP yoga classes and flows will often be a hybrid of two key branches of yoga. The incorporation of Hatha and Vinyasa is the best yoga style for stand up paddle boards:
This mash-up of styles is ideal for conquering the main difference between SUP yoga and traditional yoga. The water element adds challenges for balance and stability and testing focus with the outdoor distractions.
Unlike traditional yoga, doing yoga on a paddle board means you have to keep your weight central and not tip the rails into the water. Going too far over on one side will result in the board potentially flipping and you getting wet.
Seasoned yogi’s will need to make slight adjustments to their practice to become SUP yogi’s. But with consistency and determination, nothing is stopping you from taking the crow and headstands on to the water.
After you’ve found your perfect yoga paddle board you’re going to want to hit the water and try out a routine and flow. There are several basic paddle board yoga poses that you can practice and learn on the land before taking it to the water. Try this basic routine to start you off:
Begin your SUP yoga session in a seated position, legs on either side of the board, and start to relax in your environment.
Spinal flex: with every inhale, gently raise your chest forward, looking up with your shoulders back. On the exhale, round your back and bring your chin to your chest. Do several rounds of breath to warm up your spine.
Dynamic arm circles: come back up to the neutral seat position, back long and looking forward. On the inhale, raise your arms overhead with palms together into a high prayer. Exhale your arms down in a circular motion, bringing your hand together at your chest. Do several rounds focusing on warming up your shoulders and arms.
Side stretches: place your right hand on your thigh and raise your left arm overhead, stretching your left side body. Hold this stretch for several seconds, keeping your spine long and gaze forward. Repeat on the other side.
Seated twists: place your right hand in between your legs on the deck of the board and place your left hand behind you, inhale to lengthen your spine and sit tall, then exhale as your twist to the left and look over your left shoulder. Continue to breathe into this stretch before repeating on the other side.
Move to a tabletop position with shoulders over your hands and hips over your knees, back flat.
Cat/Cow flow: inhale your gaze up, raising your hips and dropping your back; exhale your gaze down to the board, rounding your spine. Keep this dynamic movement going for several rounds.
Single leg extensions: from the tabletop position, inhale and raise your right leg behind and left arm in front, keeping parallel to the SUP; exhale and bring leg and arm together into a crunch; inhale, extend back into the stretch. Do several rounds and then move onto the other side.
Push up to downward facing dog — palms flat to the board, keep a straight spine, taking your gaze to your legs. Make sure you keep your hips high, imagining you are making an upside-down ‘V’ shape. Don’t worry about getting your feet flat to the paddle board — this will come with time and practice.
Low lunge/Crescent low lunge: take a big inhale, and then exhale, bringing your right foot forward and placing it between your hand. Drop your left knee to the SUP, bend your front leg (keeping your knee over your ankle). On the inhale, raise your arms overhead, exhale and bow down, straightening your front leg, and lifting the toes off the board. Hold the stretch for several seconds before returning to the low lunge pose. From here, you can twist — place your left hand on the board, raise your right arm and look to the sky twisting right. Return to the downward-facing dog to then switch sides with your left foot forward.
Come back to the downward-facing dog. On an inhale, step, hop, or float your way to the top of your board, coming into standing forward fold. Breathe here, and make sure you don’t go too far forward on your SUP; otherwise, you may end up nose-diving!
Slowly, roll your spine up to a standing mountain pose. Take a moment here just to breathe and note how your body is feeling.
Sun Salutation: this is an outstanding yoga flow you can take from the land onto the water. Do the flow on both sides as many times as you want.
Malasana Squat: position your feet wide, drop the hips, and bring hands to prayer at the heart center. Maintain a straight spine, knees out, and keep your gaze forward.
Come to an easy seat on your board and note how you feel now after the sun salutation flows.
Seated forward fold: lay your legs long in front of you on the board and sit up tall. On an exhale, bend from the hips and reach for your shins, ankles, or toes (depending on your flexibility). You can use the coil leash to help pull you down and keep your spine from curving.
Bridge pose: lay flat on your back, bring your feet to the board with bent knees. Raise your hips high and try to straighten your spine into a long and straight line from your knees to your neck.
Supine twist: lay flat on your back, bring your right knee up to your chest, and as you exhale, pull it across your body to the left side of the board. Use your left hand to pull your right knee down, and send your right arm long to the right — maybe with your fingers in the water. Keep your hips and shoulders on the SUP. Repeat on the other side.
Child's pose: lying flat on your back, bring both knees into your chest, and squeeze yourself.
Savasana: on an exhale, release everything down to the deck pad. Let arms and legs fall off the sides of the paddle board and feel the water flow. You can do this either from the nose and tail of the board or across the width of the SUP to get in touch with nature.
Are you ready to give SUP yoga a try?
With these tips on how to choose a yoga paddle board and the basic routine to get you started, nothing is stopping you from finding a new level of zen.
Using a paddle board adds a new dimension to a yoga session. It challenges your balance and focus while immersing you in nature and the great outdoors. Yoga is a great full-body workout that will improve your paddle boarding by strengthening your core and improving your stability. The combination is both fun and testing.
To take yoga onto the water, you need a good stand up paddle board to become your yoga mat, a lightweight anchor to secure your position, so you don’t float away, and comfortable clothes that won’t restrict your movement. It is also a good idea to take some water with you in a dry bag and attach it to your SUP using bungee cords.
SUP yoga comes with all the benefits of traditional yoga — relaxation and mindfulness. Paddle board yoga is also a great way to workout, strengthening your core along with other muscles. Yoga on the water also means you are outdoors in a naturally calming space, which is an instant benefit in its own right.
Finding the paddle board that is right for you doesn’t have to be a difficult task. You need to take into consideration your height and weight to find the perfect length paddle board. Ideally, you need something that is at least 2 feet taller than your height.
Our GILI SUP range is full of great all-around inflatable paddle boards that are suitable for most riders.
Inflatable paddle boards are the preferable choice for yoga. They're more comfortable for SUP yogis to take their practice to the water. Inflatable SUPs also offer more forgiving stability as they sit higher out of the water, typically with 6” thick dimensions.
Look for military-grade PVC and high-quality drop stitch construction to ensure your inflatable SUP is durable to last.
Absolutely! SUP yoga has taken off in popularity because of the improved inflatable board technology, making it easier, safer, and more enjoyable. Inflatables sit higher up from the water’s surface and provide a rigid, stable deck.
The ideal width of paddle boards for yoga is anything between 32” and 35” wide. This will give you the best stability while you balance in positions. An expansive deck also provides more surface for you to find a greater variety of poses.
The best paddle boards for SUP yoga will be the boards with the wider deck. This will help you with overall stability while you master the balances of different poses. It also provides a more significant area and platform for you to stretch out and try flows.
You need to wear comfortable clothing. We recommend yoga pants or surf leggings that won’t restrict your movements and flexibility. Make sure you check the temperatures of both the air and water. Summer sessions will be easier to dress for than colder SUP Yoga days out of the water.
SUP board size depends on the size and height of the rider. As mentioned above, you need a board that is 2 feet taller than yourself. For SUP Yoga, we recommend the following dimensions: 10’5 x 34” x 6”. Having the best paddle board for yoga and maximum stability will help you become a master yogi on the water in no time.
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