Updated: July 5, 2023
By Risheek Priyadarshi, Pretzel Kids contributing writer
Sound familiar? I bet! Growing up, especially from the 90s to the 2000s, kids would often greet each other by saying “what’s up?” or “sup?” As times change, so do words and their meanings. However, SUP is just as relevant to kids today as it was back then.
Nowadays SUP yoga, or stand up paddleboard yoga, is a refreshing yet fun take on yoga for adults and kids.
Let’s jump right in, shall we? Here are 6 health benefits of stand up paddleboard yoga for kids – along with all the information you need to know to get started right away.
The Top 6 Health Benefits of Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga
1. It improves your regular yoga technique
The old cliche, practice makes perfect, almost always holds true. And, when you add in the challenge of balancing on water, your yoga practice will undoubtedly improve. This can actually be explained well by using weightlifting as an example.
In the world of bodybuilding, there is a technique called progressive overloading, which means increasing the stimulus a muscle receives. In other words, this boils down to increasing the weight, repetitions, intensity, or time under pressure of a lift. Progressive overloading leads to bigger muscles by providing a stimulus for the body – also known as constantly challenging yourself.
Similarly, practicing SUP yoga – where balancing on a board in the water creates a new challenge – will help you develop better balance, focus and strength. This can also help you when it comes to practicing yoga on land.
2. Your balance will improve
As we highlighted above, balancing on a paddleboard in water while standing is already a challenge, but the added element of practicing yoga makes it even more so. Yoga already improves balance, but SUP yoga reinforces this. Yoga poses like mountain pose or even downward dog can be particularly challenging on a stand up paddleboard vs. on your yoga mat!
3. You’ll develop core strength
Gaining core strength goes hand-in-hand with improving your balance. In order to develop a good sense of balance, a strong core is absolutely vital – and SUP yoga can help you strengthen your core. Additionally, a strong core can help strengthen your lower back. This, in turn, can improve flexibility and your posture. Not to mention, it can help growing children get stronger, too!
4. It helps calm your mind
5. You’ll learn to be more patient
Kids nowadays are growing up in a world that caters to instant gratification through things like social media, which can be a hindrance to self-discipline and patience. SUP yoga, on the other hand, isn’t something that you can instantly excel at. This means it requires patience in order to get used to it. Don’t get me wrong, though: While SUP yoga is challenging, it is far from impossible. The patience required to become proficient on a paddleboard can actually be empowering because kids will feel a sense of accomplishment and enhanced self-esteem!
6. You’ll get to spend quality time with kids in nature
Ultimately, SUP yoga is a bonding experience between parents, teachers, and children. Considering how everyone is constantly in front of a screens these days, being on the water and moving your body is a great way to destress and have fun! Everybody gets a full body workout and leaves with some laughs and—most importantly—memories!
Can Kids Stand Up Paddleboard?
Absolutely! It doesn’t require much, if any, experience in yoga or paddleboarding for kids to pick this up.
Stand up paddleboarding is also a great way to help foster a passion for yoga, as well as the water and great outdoors. So, keep encouraging them and make sure to reward their accomplishments as they make progress.
And guess what? If your children and teens really love SUP yoga, you can even sign them up for a kids paddleboard and yoga clinic where they get to continue to learn and have fun with their peers. Who knows – you may love it so much that you decide to embark on a SUP yoga adventure!
How to Paddleboard with Kids
Although stand up paddleboard yoga for kids can be challenging, breaking up SUP yoga for kids into smaller steps can make it all the more enjoyable. Take a look at these 4 steps to take before you start:
1. Be comfortable in the water!
Make sure the kids know how to swim and also have life vests. Safety and comfort come before all else. It’s also a good idea to always stay together and keep an eye out for any changes in the condition of the water.
2. Get the right size paddleboard and practice yoga poses with the boards on land first.
The board should be the correct height and weight so the kids do not have a hard time moving it in the water. It might seem counterintuitive to practice yoga with the board on land, but this can help create familiarity in the water.
3. Make sure to go on a warm, sunny day with calm waters.
A calm lake would be most ideal, since riptides can’t form and the water is more controlled. If you only have access to beaches, however, make sure to stick close to shore and stay together.
4. Falling is inevitable but getting back up is what matters.
Teach the kids to fall in a safe way and get back onto the paddleboard. If they do end up falling off, teach them to see where they fell relative to the paddleboard. This will make it less disorienting when trying to swim back to the surface of the water and towards the board.
Tips for Stand Up Paddleboard for Kids
Be prepared to laugh!
Although yoga is a calming and meditative practice, the added element of water in SUP yoga makes for the perfect laughing medicine. Falling off the board and having a good splash is a great way to encourage kids to have fun while trying out a new skill.
Make sure to grab a wide board
Although falling can be fun, a wider board will make it easier for beginners to balance on and gain confidence.
Try to play some games!
Kids learn best when they’re having fun and playing games. A game you could try is a simple one like this: the person who falls off their board the least amount of times wins!
Keep expectations real
SUP is a challenge and requires patience, but the payout is highly rewarding. By keeping goals in check, it will make the whole process smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Make sure to stay safe!
Life vests and swimming lessons can make all the difference when it comes to stand up paddleboard yoga for kids. Also, make sure to always keep an eye out for the little ones. Create a set of guidelines or even safewords for the kids so you can come to their aid if they need you.
Top Stand up paddleboard Yoga poses
Here are some of our fav yoga poses on a stand up paddle board:
1. Mountain pose
This is one of the easiest for beginners. Stand fully upright and straighten your back. Keep your feet at shoulder-width apart and your arms at your side. Turn your palms to face forward and you got it!
2. Easy seated pose
In this pose, you sit down criss-cross style and keep your hands on your knees (we call this Pretzel Pose!) Sit as straight as possible and take deep breaths as you feel the water rock your board gently.
3. Extended child’s pose
This is one of our favorite poses! To do child’s pose, simply kneel and sit back toward your heels. Then, bring your chest towards your knees and move your head down. All that’s left is to stretch your arms out in front of you and drop your forearms to the board. While your life vest may get in the way of this pose, it can still be fun to try!
4. Downward dog pose
This will be one of the more challenging SUP poses. To do this, get into a push-up position and then raise your hips towards the sky. The key will be to balance, balance, balance!
Stand up paddleboard yoga for kids is great for beginners on up to advanced students. It’s an exciting new way to practice yoga poses in the water while connecting with nature and each other.
So, make sure to SUP it up while the weather permits!
Risheek Priyadarshi is a contributing writer for Pretzel Kids. He recently graduated from Santa Clara University after studying economics, math, and computer science. His hobbies include a rekindled passion for yoga, running, boxing, and reading!