// ABOUT THE AUTHOR – ROSIE MARKWICK //

“I teach Vinyasa flow, Hatha and Yin yoga. My dynamic classes are Forrest inspired with a focus on alignment and core stability fused with creative flows. All classes are powerful, fun and deeply healing.

I am passionate about yoga as a body work therapy. My intention is to guide individuals on a journey back into their body. To understand more about the body and delve deeper into the subtle energetics of their own system. Improve strength, flexibility and balance – on and off the mat.”

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SUP yoga is a fairly new craze that has hit the US, Asia and is now slowly creeping its way over to European shores.

It is essentially yoga on a paddle board. That’s right – a yoga class on a large, 10ft long floating platform in the middle of the water.

Sound bonkers? It does a little yes. As SUP teacher often the first question I get is: ‘really? you do yoga on that? On the water? IS that even possible?’

The answer is YES YES YES!

Stand up paddle boarding is currently the world’s fastest growing water sport and has been established over the last 5 years as a fun and accessible way to get fit and spend some much needed time on the water.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that SUP related activities are popping up left right and centre. SUP touring, SUP racing, SUP surfing, SUP fit, SUP angling (for real!) and SUP yoga. Turns out there are lots of things you can do on a paddle board in addition to standing and paddling.

My own discovery of SUP Yoga was random and brilliant and the love affair that took my practice and teaching out to the water was fast and furious. I remember my first ever SUP class coming to a close and feeling so present, focused, strong and deeply relaxed.

On top of this it was almost as if my body and subsequently my mind had fused and blended with the environment, no longer separate entities. Wholeness in its complete form. It was quite simply magic.

Needless to say I am a convert.

Having said that I am aware it is still a relatively lesser known practice and so we thought it would be helpful to compile a few of the reasons you might want to give SUP yoga a go this year…

CORE CORE CORE!

I cannot stress this enough. SUP yoga is amazing for developing stability and strength in your core. And stability and strength in the core = injury prevention, spinal health, self-confidence, finding your centre… the list goes on and on.

Essentially akin to being on a floating Pilates plate the balance required means that you have to activate the core simply to stay on the board. SUP yoga will help you to connect to this part of the body like no other. And because the core isn’t just activated with repetitive movement here but the entire time i.e. you breathe whilst it is activated, it’s a real game changer for improving strength and balance. You will leave the board feeling stronger and more stable in your mat practice and beyond.

The 2nd Chakra

The 2nd chakra, Svadhisthana is located in the pelvic area. And the element associated with this chakra? WATER. When I first started practicing and teaching SUP yoga I realised I was really drawn to poses that got deep into the hips and legs – lizard lunges, pigeon, half hanomanasana, even full splits (side note: the latter is not a pose I am normally drawn to AT ALL)

After a bit of exploring it appeared that students typically also felt more openness in these shapes when on the water. It’s a bit of a theory of my own but I believe there is something about being on the water, the element of Svadhisthana, that inspires the body to move as the water does – fluidly, thus mirroring the element of the chakra and promoting a degree of openness in the related body parts that might not be so easily reached on land.

The Great Outdoors

When you practise SUP yoga you get to be outside. Take your practice out of the confines of a studio and the sky becomes your ceiling, the water your ground and the air / sun / rain / wind your walls.

There is just something about water that is so good for us humans and this is now increasingly backed up by science Research has shown that being on, near and in water has been found to release serotonin and relaxin. The hormones associated with happiness and physical relaxation. Delightful! Nature is SO good for the soul and trust me floating away during savasana out on the big blue is reason enough to try SUP yoga.

I have taught SUP on lagoons in Indonesia where sea turtles come and say hello and canals in east London (no sea turtles but a lot of ‘urban charm’). The environment changes but a few things remain the same; we are outside, learning to let the water hold us, allowing ourselves to wobble (inevitable), to fall (highly likely) and then to get back up again.

The ego literally gets washed away (pun intended) during SUP yoga whether you like it or not and the best thing you can do is laugh, clamber back aboard and keep on trying – now what a lesson for life that is.

Plus it will make you feel a bit like a mermaid for a morning and who doesn’t want a bit of that.

More about Rosie: 

Rosie has been passionately engaged with the wellness world for the past 5 years. She is a yoga teacher, health and wellness coach & budding psychologist.

Rosie’s passion is in combining these skills to help people return to balance – physically, emotionally and energetically. She worked in events management and organizational psychology in London before taking the leap towards a more nomadic wellness-centric life. You can most likely find her on her SUP board, chasing the sunshine or eating banana bread.

Follow Rosie on her website or on Instagram.

About The Author

Jules Barber

Jules Barber is the Founder & Creator of Yoginomics. Having worked in a golden cage in London for 15 years she sold out of her business to become a yoga teacher, corporate wellness specialist and location independent entrepreneur, on a mission to mentor and coach the next generation of amazing yogis - teachers and students alike.

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