Five Ways SUP Yoga Supports Mental Health

Paul Ainsworth
Written by Paul Ainsworth

By the time you read this, you will be able to book your first SUP Yoga session of the summer at venues across the country. I cannot wait until my first class on Sunday the 5th of May at the Activities Away Lake in Lincoln. I am just hoping the sun will be shining.

As we move towards our first session of the summer, the focus will be on the mental health benefits of yoga on a paddleboard. As the summer progresses, we will discover those physical fitness benefits which I wrote about last year in ‘Five Ways In Which SUP Yoga Can Improve Your Fitness.’

The following article highlights five benefits that SUP Yoga can hopefully bring to your lives.

If you already practice SUP Yoga, what do you think are its mental health benefits?

1. Reduces Your Stress

We are all used to talking about the stress in our lives. No matter how much we try to slow down our lives, stress can feel like a constant companion. When I step onto my board, the act of paddling provides me with a refreshing escape from the constant dialogue in my head. If I combine floating on the water with practicing yoga, then the stress reduction is amplified by the soothing environment of being on the lake attached to the SUP Yoga docking station.

2. Improves Your Mind-Body Connection

Again, the act of being on a paddleboard and trying to find your balance encourages the connection between mind and body. You are continually looking for those micro-adjustments to keep your balance as you paddle. SUP Yoga makes this connection even stronger. Attached to the docking station, you will only gently rock, but even that small movement can challenge your equilibrium, and you will be constantly thinking about how you move and how this then impacts your stability. These thought processes truly deepen that mind and body connection.

3. Increases Your Self-Awareness

We recognise that regular yoga practice helps you become attuned to your body and mind. When we take this practice onto a SUP board, we need to work to control our breath and bring it in line with the movements we are making from one asana to another. You will find that this automatically ensures that you are present in the moment, and you become much more self-aware of the link between breath and movement.

4. Brings Calm & Contentment

This is my biggest personal benefit of SUP Yoga. Even in the best yoga class, I find that my mind can wander, even if that is in a yoga-focused direction. Questions in my head may include…

What is the next asana?

Will we have another flow?

How long will the meditation be?

How much longer is there in class?

While I am practicing SUP Yoga, my mind wanders far less, and there are some classes when I reach the end and I have practiced mindfulness for the whole session, and I truly feel calm and content.

5. Creates A Sense of Fulfilment

After each class, I always find that my yogis feel fulfilled and proud of themselves. They feel that SUP Yoga has been a personal challenge out of all proportion to the relatively simple yoga poses that we practice. I can see that sense of pride in my class, and they definitely walk taller after the session than their first steps to the boards. This sense of fulfilment builds our confidence so that we feel more able to face the challenges of the week ahead.

The Benefits Go On…

I could easily write another five positive impacts on your mental health from SUP yoga, and perhaps that can be a later article in the summer. Equally…

Could this be the moment when you decide to try your first SUP Yoga class?

There are a whole range of instructors who teach regular SUP Yoga sessions from May to September.

Or maybe you could be at a festival or an event where a class is being delivered? Why not seize the moment and sign up for a class?

Grab your swimsuit, put your fitness wear over the top and you are good to flow.

Namaste, and from my heart to yours, I humbly bow.

Main – Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash