I Tried Paddle Board Yoga And It Was A Fun Challenge
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Elizabeth Miller. Find them on Instagram at @Lizzy_7979. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
Before summer ends, my family likes to take a glamping trip by the lakeside. About 8 years ago, we fell in love with paddle boarding, and over the years they’ve become more and more popular. It wasn’t until recently that I heard about paddle board yoga. I’ve been a dancer and yoga enthusiast for many years, and my balance is not too bad. I wondered, is paddle board yoga hard? I used this trip as an opportunity to try it out, here’s what I thought!
As a disclaimer, I have been a dancer since I was little and have experience balancing on a paddle board. Please be careful if you try paddle board yoga, especially if this is your first time using a paddle board.
Reacclimatizing With The Paddle Board
Before I headed out, I did a very short warm-up and some stretches. I find that paddle boarding really makes me use my quads and core when I balance. I took a board out onto the water to a calm area and took some time to acclimate to switching between sitting, kneeling, and standing. It is also a good idea to jump off the paddle board once or twice and practice falling into the water so you don’t get hurt when you lose your balance. You will fall at some point.
After I started feeling comfortable on the board, I took a meditative breath, set my intentions and started with some seated poses.
These poses were some of the easier ones to do. It definitely helped that I was low and close to the board. I started with the lotus pose, then I leaned forward and transitioned into child’s pose. Then I did some cat-cows, cobra, upward-facing dog, and downward-facing dog. It was a bit nerve-wracking to do downward-facing dog, but after a moment I got used to it. To make it easier to balance, I made sure my knees, feet and hands were wide.
One thing I did not think about was how difficult some seated poses would be, like boat pose. On a regular floor, balancing in boat pose feels more focused in one line – normally you might tilt towards falling on your back or towards your legs. On the paddle board, your balance can be thrown in almost any direction, so it was harder than I thought. I also did my splits, and I almost rolled off the board! Pigeon pose kept me a lot more balanced.
Once I was feeling brave, I went back into downward dog and carefully walked my feet and hands together into forward fold. Then I slowly stood up. I stretch my hands up and around into mountain pose.
Some of the hardest standing poses were the ones that were in lunges. I had to carefully scoot my feet. Because my feet were on the center line of the board, it was easy to get off balance because there was almost no way to support myself from side-to-side motion in this position. When the back foot was turned sideways, like in Warrior II, it was a little easier because the ankle can bend and flex to counteract that motion. To adjust your feet, you need to be patient and slow because you can’t transfer your weight very swiftly. I did triangle and half-moon before falling face-first into the water and deciding it was time to move on from the lunges.
These by far were the hardest, but most rewarding to hold. I started with tree pose and eagle pose. I turned out my down foot a little bit to get some help with balancing for these ones. Dancer’s pose was very hard, I only did it once on each side because I did not want to get hurt. Warrior III was my favorite out of the balancing poses I tried.
Winding Down With A Savasana
At this point, my quads were so tired that I decided to wrap up my little yoga session. I laid down, stretching for a moment in fish pose. Then I just let myself take in the calming energy around me: the cool water at my fingertips, the sounds of the birds and the warmth of the sun. Then I headed back to shore.
So, is paddle board yoga hard? Yes, but I had a great time! Prepare to fall (and be a little sore the next day). But, it was so fun, and I would absolutely recommend trying it if you’ve thought about giving it a go.
Have you tried paddle board yoga? Tell us your favorite pose in the comments!