I frequently get questions about what the best poses are to try on the water for first time SUP yogis. It's important to note that almost every pose feels different on the water than in studio but there are some core poses I teach in just about every class to make even the most beginner yogi feel at home on the board. This doesn't mean that there won't be challenges because don't forget that's half the fun right?!
1. Chair pose is an excellent starting place to get your feel for how the board balances and where the center of gravity is. Start with your feet about hip width apart on either side of your handle. As you bend your knees keep your chest lifted and your core engaged.
2. Starting from table step one foot forward and slightly out to toward the board rail keeping your hips just over the handle of the board. Hand can stay on the board come to the front knee or for an extra challenge extend the arms overhead.
3. Keeping one hand inside the front foot on the board extend the opposite arm up lengthening through the spine as you twist.
4. Coming from twisted lunge place both hands down, straighten the front leg, and lengthen the spine. For a little added intensity in this pose turn the toes out.
5. Stepping back to plank on an exhale slowly lower down parallel to the board by hugging the elbows toward the side body and maintaining a tight core. Keeping the shoulder heads lifted. This can be done either knees up or knees down.
6. On an inhale press into the palms and lift the chest keeping the hips low for upward facing dog or a slight bend in the arms for cobra.
7. There is nothing better than flipping your perspective on the water (other than maybe Savasana). Starting from plank lift the hips keeping them directly over the handle of the board and take your hands and feet slightly wider than you do on land to maintain a strong foundation.
8. Coming from down dog step to the handle of the board and bend the knees placing your hands down on the deck just in front of the handle. Keep your hips low as you hug your knees around your upper arms. Look toward the front (or nose) of the board. Draw your belly button in and play with lifting the feet.
9. Come all the way to your back for a final stretch. Lay down with the board handle just underneath your sacrum. Hug your knee into your chest and extend your leg upward on an inhale. You can hold the back of the leg or the big toe if it's accessible as you press the opposite thigh bone down. Relax the shoulders and jaw and most importantly SMILE!