Yoga practitioners are constantly trying to find new ways to take their practice to the next level. There's Bikram, or "hot" yoga; Vinyasa yoga, which adds cardio into the mix; aerial yoga, practiced from hanging hammocks; and now there's paddleboard yoga.
Also known as stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga, the practice is a true test of a yogi’s balance. It combines the newly popular water sport with the zen of this ancient Indian practice. The biggest challenge, says April Yaboski, owner of Aerial Fitness Hot Yoga, is to stay on the floating board while performing a variety of yoga poses.
"We use 85 percent of our body's muscles when paddleboarding," says Yaboski.
“You’re constantly in a state of motion so you’re constantly balancing and stabilizing," she said.
And as if that wasn’t challenging enough, adding yoga into the mix just intensifies the workout. Since the platform is unstable, students are using muscles they wouldn’t normally use on a mat in the gym.
A typical class begins with students paddling out and anchoring their board in open water. The ocean breeze and relaxing sounds of the surrounding water add to the calming yoga experience.
While SUP yoga's origins aren't well known—it’s thought to have originated in Hawaii—now you can find classes throughout the country and in different parts of the world.
Check out the video below of paddleboard yoga instructor Jessica Bellofatto: