SUP Yoga Special Feature – Yoga Works

There is a lot of hype around SUP (Stand Up Paddle-board)  Yoga at the moment, so we thought we would feature some SUP Yoga practices from around South Africa.

Just some background from the Yoga Journal of 2013, SUP yoga unites the sport of stand-up paddle boarding, which originated in Hawaii in the 1940s, with the ancient practice of yoga, which has its roots in India. In the short time SUP yoga has existed, it has grown to include devotees worldwide.”

Now we bet you didn’t know that!

This week we feature Yoga Works from Johannesburg, we spoke with Yoga Teacher Abedah Musengi to get some insight on how they do their SUP Yoga practice.|

How did you discover SUP Yoga

My first Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Yoga experience was with Steven at Emmarentia Dam. I have since fallen in love with the practice and enjoy the delight of hosting the sessions. SUP combines the joy of movement and outdoor adventure. The nature of the practice fits perfectly with the Yoga Works focus of co-creating interesting yoga classes with our students in new environments.

Where do you teach?

I host educational yoga workshops online or teach in-person within beautiful outdoor locations between Pretoria and Johannesburg respectively.

What Yoga do you do on a SUP board?

We practice a simple Vinyasa-inspired class.
SUP Teachers primarily focus on keeping the pace of the class slow to give participants space to become comfortable balancing on the board. The sequence taught starts in a seated position and gradually builds up to standing. We cue fewer advanced postures/transitions as the thrill is found in staying calm, focused and out of the water! On the other hand falling into the water is a delightful way to cool down. After class there is time to play around – if there are poses students are curious to try out then they are encouraged to give it a go.

Benefits of SUP Yoga that might not be found in the usual practice

Increased Concentration and Bodily Engagement

A common misconception about SUP is that you need to have higher than normal core control. Whilst it is true that you need to have a stable core we can develop better control of the body with gentle focus. Most of our movement practice is intuitive.
Think back to a time when you went for a walk in a new environment. It required you to look at the signage and terrain to navigate your way through to the final destination.
The same is true for SUP Yoga. Students are encouraged to meet the experience with gentle focus – this creates the space for their intelligent bodies to adapt to a new practice environment.

Confidence Boost
The human body is so intelligent and magnificent in it its design! Just when you thought you had reached the ceiling of self discovery a new experience – SUP Yoga in this case – shows you that there is always a new way to play, feel and move through time and space. SUP Yoga is a great opportunity take the leap in expanding your comfort zone.

Some features of SUP Yoga unique to it

Meditation on a SUP Board is really magical! Practicing outdoors highlights nature’s calming influence on the human body and mind. This relationship is clear in a practical way when we take weather conditions into account. We interact with the element of water as it ebbs and flows beneath our feet on the board.

The speed of the wind creates ripples in the water creating a soft sway between the board and anchor. A deeper sense of relaxation can be found as we take a moment to absorb the warmth of the Sun’s rays. The changed practice environment is what makes SUP Yoga memorable.

Where you teach it or practice it

Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg.

What kind of person does SUP Yoga (if there is any type)

I find students with a sense of playful curiosity are drawn to SUP Yoga.

A humorous anecdote about something that happened to you or a student/friend doing SUP Yoga.

“What if I fall in?” is the most frequently asked question about SUP Yoga. The practice environment for SUP is relaxed in its nature – we assure students they need not worry about distracting the class if they fall in. Our last session was filled with super playful students who wowed us with their willingness to try many challenging yoga poses. We go to witness two people on one SUP Board working towards a handstand! I thinking knowing they had cool waters to break their tumble gave them space to really go for it.

Playtime is not an activity limited to children – adventure is an ageless practice.
SUP Yoga reminds us no matter the seriousness of daily living there is always room to play!

Abedah Musengi | Teacher, Yoga Works

Contact YogaWorks :
Phone : +27 72 835 2525

Email :

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