The Post-SUP Yoga Sequence for Beginner Standup Paddlers

Standup paddleboarding is one of the best total-body workouts because you exercise every major muscle group. Think: your back and arms pull you through the water, while your core, glutes, and legs stabilize and balance you on the board. But beginner standup paddlers, who are still chasing that perfect paddling technique, can often walk away from a SUP workout pretty sore.

These six after-paddling poses reverse what you were just doing on your board to promote chest expansion. Use them to bring down your heart rate and enjoy the soft stretch — a subtle side bend releases your core obliques, toe squat opens up the tight folds of the feet (nervous newbies often over grip the board) and eagle arms open your shoulders to counter the hunched motion you make while paddling.

Practice them on your board in open water, on shore, or on your mat at home to recover, promote proper alignment and build SUP-ready strength.

  • Savasana

    Savasana

    Start in Savasana, relaxing your shoulders down and allowing your feet to flop open to the sides. Place your hands by your sides resting on the water. Take a few moments to connect to the ocean beneath you, allowing the breath to soften and lengthen. Take deeper inhales and exhales. Remain here for a few minutes, staying present with the breath and the sound of the ocean.

    See also 5 Prep Poses to Feel Strong and Stable on a SUP

  • Seated Prayer

    Seated Prayer

    Press yourself up to a tall, seated position, and take a moment of gratitude for the surrounding nature, and all the gifts in your life. Option to take a single OM. Find three breathes here.

    See also 10 SUP Yoga Poses for Beginners

  • Seated Side Stretch

    Seated Side Stretch

    Reach both hands overhead, and release the right hand to the rail of your board. Inhale to grow long through the left hand. Exhale to stretch your left arm up and over towards the right. Engage your core to stabilize, and stay here for three breaths. Repeat on the other side.

    See also SUP Yoga: Standup Paddle Pics to Get You Psyched for Summer

  • Chest Expansion

    Chest Expansion

    Interlace your fingers behind your back, inhale to roll the shoulders open and draw your shoulder blades down the back. Exhale gaze and lift your heart towards the sun, finding space across the chest. Find three full-rounded breaths and release.

    See also Try the Water Yoga Trend: 6 Aqua Yoga Poses

  • Seated Eagle Arms

    Seated Eagle Arms

    Draw the arms up to shoulder height in a T position, and sweep the right arm under left, interlacing at elbows, wrists, palms to touch. Take any variation that feels comfortable – drawing the arms up, down, left, right, or circular motions. Take three breaths. Release the arms and repeat on the opposite side.

    See also A Kundalini Water Meditation to Master Your Mood

  • Toe Squat

    Toe Squat

    Uncross your legs and come to a kneeling position. Plant the hands down and tuck the toes under, making sure all ten toes are touching the board. If this is too uncomfortable, you can leave the hands on the board, bringing the weight forward to ease the tension. Otherwise, gently sit back on your heels using the inhale to bring more space into the soles of the feet, and the exhale to release any discomfort. Remain here for five breaths, release and shake out the feet.

    See also Let It Flow Away: A Water Meditation To Relieve Stress

    Photos featuring apparel by OKIINO and SUP yoga expert Gillian Gibree. Follow them on Instagram @_okiino_, Twitter @OKIINO on Facebook @OKIINOclothing.
    Photo credit: Christa Funk, @instaclamfunk