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SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle Boarding. I love SUPing, it's well-intentioned for frustrated surfers like myself who didn't get to learn surfing before injuring both knees to even attempt to. Although you got SUP PROs who actually ride the waves with it.

In SUP, you got your board and you got your paddle. Think of Kayaking (with one blade for your paddle) and Surfing (with a bigger board) combined (for the lack of a better simile) you get SUP.

There are different types of boards that you can use : Inflatables (which we use for SUPYoga) and solid (I think my certification didn't want to call them 'hard') boards. If you just want to do paddle boarding, it's better to go for solid boards rather than inflatables as it offers more stability.

A lot of people say they don't have balance to try SUP, or to even add Yoga into the equation. Let's start off with just SUP (minus the Yoga part), I recently took hooping classes and something that the teacher said resonates with people's hesitations in trying this as well.

So how many of you, have tried hoola hooping, and failed to do so? A lot of people say they don't know how to hoop because they can't rock the hoop against their hips for even one round or two. Did you know that, the hoola hoop for you to be able to twirl it about, it has to be the correct size based on your measurements?

So it's pretty much the same for SUP, you don't have a balance cause maybe you have the wrong board size. I got my knee injuries (a tear in my ligaments) cause I fell hard on the solid board cause the deck of the board (where you stand) didn't have the appropriate pad to make it non-slippery and on top of that, the board was not for my size, add another flaw from my end, I didn't know how to fall in the water (or I simply forgot the instructions).

Sadly, it is quite rare to have a person in these board rental shops (atleast where I am based) who would measure you up and recommend a board that will be good for your size. They just give you one to paddle along with and then it's hard for you to balance therefore you try it once, struggle to paddle and think there is something wrong with you and that "you got no balance". To push the point across more, recently we had an experience when one board rental shop has given a kid, a board and a paddle which were meant for adults and we had to insist in being givent the correct one.

Some tips in SUPing : always attach your leash to your ankle, adjust the paddle according to your height (yep that too has a measurement), find your center at the board (this slightly varies from one person to another), bend your knees slightly when paddling and bend more when you feel you're getting off balanced and for crying out loud, dip your blade fully in the waters when paddling and make it as close as possible to the side of your board :P

Now that standing up on the board is out of the way, let's come to the yoga element to it.

So here's how it goes, you paddle to a location where there aren't a lot of water ripples (the calmer the water the better, that exists sometimes here where I am based usually in the mornings; lakes would be the ideal place to do this as the water seems to be always calm). To manage your expectations, classes maybe cancelled if the waters and wind become unpredictably stronger at any given time.

You've reached the SUP location and the things you need to do are : 1. Set aside your paddle (attach it to your leash) as you only need your board for SUPYoga. 2. Anchor in your board so you don't drift away. Then we go start with the yoga poses on the board. Even with the yoga poses, there are techniques to help you balance more by the way :P Although let's say a table top pose is very easy to do, you would require more core effort to do that on the board.

For the final ultimate question you may have in your mind...

Do you need to be a good swimmer when doing SUPYoga? Well it depends where the class location is, if you are going to a deep waters, it's mandatory that you are a good swimmer (it's not really a lot of fun wearing a life vest while doing yoga as it restricts the movement, and the fear of falling in the waters would be out of the way and you can focus more on the class). My classes are in the deep waters so that we are away from people, less noise and less of everything that humans along the shorelines got to offer :)

Hope this article helps you get excited to try SUP or SUPYoga.

Love, Jardine


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