Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga is Hard

I’ve tried Stand-Up Paddleboarding and had a blast. And I do a lot of yoga, and really enjoy that. So when I saw ChicagoSUP offering SUPyo classes via ClassPass, I had to try it! I looked up pics beforehand to try to figure out what to expect, and more importantly, what to wear.


Photo source: Chicago SUP Facebook

At first I thought I would wear workout clothing (sports bra and short fitted shorts), but since we’d be on the water and it was a lovely day, I opted to wear a bikini. Since I was heading to SUP straight from the office, I packed my beach stuff in my work bag. I got to North Ave Beach about 30 minutes before my class, which gave me time to check in, change, apply sunscreen, lock up my stuff and wade into the water for a few minutes, enjoying the lovely view.

I took class at 4:30pm on a Friday, and there was only one other student in the class. We selected the top paddle board gear we could find and took our paddleboards out to a spot next to the pier that had a rope set up that we could anchor ourselves to in a row. So we wouldn’t float away, but our paddleboards would still move with the water (and occasionally bump each other).


Photo source: Chicago SUP Facebook

When picking out what to wear for the class, what I didn’t realize was how close we would be to the pier, where people would be walking around while we were cat-cowing. I did feel a bit self-conscious, but these things don’t really bother me, so I got over it pretty quickly.

Anyway, once we got our paddleboards anchored and centered ourselves on our boards, our teacher started moving us through a typical yoga flow. I’ve done countless yoga classes over the years, so I kind of know what I’m doing.

But This. Was. Hard. Focusing on the moves probably distacted me from the fact that a family of 5 was getting a nice view of my downward-facing dog.

I fell off the board at least three times, thankfully we were in very shallow water (although right next to a drop off). It was easy to just hop back on the board, and we didn’t need to wear personal floatation devices. But I know that trying to stand into Warrior II was almost impossible for me. Such a simple pose, but such a challenge on a paddleboard. Throughout the class my face was either a look of focus and determination, or laughing while I struggled to find balance in what I used to think was a simple pose.

However, the view was fantastic and the weather was perfect, so really, not a bad way to spend an hour. I didn’t get quite the typical yoga stretch that I would on land, but it was still a fun experience. And a good workout for the core.


Photo source: Chicago SUP Facebook

So while I enjoyed the experience, I think I’ll stick to yoga classes on solid group, and if I SUP again, I’ll just SUP. That on it’s own is a lot of fun! There are some other SUP options on ClassPass that are just the SUPing.

Have you tried SUP Yoga? What did you think? 

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6 Comments on “Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga is Hard”

  1. Gorgeous pictures!!! I can imagine how hard it would be to do some of the balancing poses on a paddleboard, though. I am challenged enough just trying to stand upright securely, let alone move into Warrior II, etc!

  2. SUP Yoga sounded hard BEFORE you said it was difficult. I have pretty good balance but I can’t imagine how I would NOT fall off every time I tried to change position. Although, there’s still a part of me that wants to try it because, well, why not?

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