Partner Paddle Power – Double the SUP yoga fun!
What’s not to love about Partner SUP Yoga! There’s something about splashing about on a paddle board with your best buddy, family member or spouse that screams ‘I’m free as a child and life is gooood!’at the top of its voice. In fact this challenging water top activity is a fantastic way to get kids involved with Stand Up Paddleboarding, building their confidence in the water and giving them a potential opportunity to have a good old laugh at the silly adult if you fall in.
Based on the principles of trust, teamwork, communication, assisting another to achieve a goal and of course connecting through some good old fashioned fun, SUP yoga is a beautiful activity to share with any nearest and dearest. So get your paddles at the ready, invite a passenger to hop on board and have a go at these 3 mini sequences for partner yoga on your paddle board.
Stretching and centring:
Sit on your heels facing each other either side of the handle in the centre of the board, holding onto each others forearms. Take it in turns to see-saw forward and back alternating between a backbend and a forward fold.
Once you’ve built your confidence going back and forth a few times, hold onto each other’s wrists and both come into a backbend at the same time using each others counter weight and opening up to the sky.
Next hold onto each others shoulders and come into an extended Childs pose bringing your sit bones to your heels and allowing your head to come down towards the paddleboard, touching the crowns of your heads together or dropping cheek to cheek.
- This exercise starts to build trust and gets both parties used to keeping the weight evenly spread over the middle cross section of the board. Stretching out the front of your ankles it alternates between an assisted back stretch and a nice stretch for the front of your body for the person leaning back. The deeper you dare to go the better the stretch!
Find your core:
Still facing each other bring both feet to the board with your knees bent and take hold of each other’s wrists again. Bring the soles of your feet together, begin to raise your feet up into Double Boat pose. Using the pull on the other person to sit up tall through your spine see how much you can straighten your legs above you.
Once you’ve found your Boat and locked in your core, challenge yourself by trying to bring your arms from outside your legs to inside, maybe letting your legs split and bit wider but without losing the contact of the soles of your feet.
Finally draw your feet back to centre, arrange your arms back to the outside of your legs and then see if you can drop one hand and then the other, waving at the people around you with the released hand.
- The assist of having a partner to pull against in this version of a classic yoga core strengthener, allows you to get an extra lift through the spine to prevent the rounding of the lower back that so often occurs in this pose. Communication is key to navigating your way through the variations, as is keeping your core as locked in as possible and trusting your partners grip. If you can’t straighten your legs due to tight hamstrings just practice this sequence with bent knees.
Connect, trust and let go:
Starting on your knees facing away from each other, making sure your weight is centralised on the board; one person brings themselves into Child’s pose by sitting back on their heels with their head to the board. The other person then brings their sacrum (end of the spine just above the tailbone) to the sacrum of the person acting as a base and begins to lay back over them until they are draped over them looking up to the sky with their knees bent and feet on the board and arms splayed out to the sides.
- The set up for this sequence is the most challenging bit, but once you’re there it’s really a case of kicking back and relaxing into this deep stretch for both parties, trusting that both the board and your partner have got you. The base person can take a lot more weight than you’d at first think, so really allow yourself to let go if your the person to top as it will make it more comfortable for the both of you.
Before you come out and swap roles you can try a little bit of mutual back massaging. In order to do this the base will need to raise up to a tabletop position from Childs with the other person still on their back. The base then makes small movements back and forth and side to side or tilting and tucking the pelvis in some Cat Cow motions alternating between a curved and arched back.
Finish the sequence by sitting crossed legged back to back; closing your eyes and touching your palms together at your heart centres. Sit quietly like this for a few moments, becoming aware of the presence of you and your partner on the board, the rhythm of their breath and tuning in to all the sounds and sensations of nature all around you. Send your partner some loving kindness and gratitude for being such an awesome sport through your heart centres. And don’t forget to finish by giving them a high five!
Ocean Flow Fitness host SUP Yoga classes every Friday at The Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre in Portsmouth on the South Coast of England from May-September. Fancy trying some SUP yoga on the beautiful setting of Lake Geneva? Then why not come along to one of the Spring/Summer retreats cohosted by Ocean Flow Fitness at Alpine Flow Yoga in Morzine. Also available for SUP event bookings in collaboration with lifestyle brand Island Feather. For more information on any of the above please contact Emma: firstname.lastname@example.org