The Meteoric Rise of Inflatable Paddle Boards in Yoga and Fitness Classe

Find out why SUP yoga and fitness classes are taking the outdoor recreation world by storm and what you can do to capitalize on this trend.


advanced paddlers need a better board and a longer board

Inflatable stand up paddle boards (also known as inflatable SUPs or iSUPs) have become a popular choice for yoga and fitness enthusiasts. These boards offer a unique and challenging way to practice yoga and stay in shape while on the water. The stability and buoyancy of an this type of paddle board allows for a variety of poses and exercises to be performed on the board which makes for an exciting and effective workout. It will truly take your workouts to another level.

Benefits of practicing yoga on an Inflatable SUP Board

best inflatable paddle board with manual pump and kayak conversion kit

Practicing yoga on an inflatable paddle board confers several benefits. First off, the added challenge of being on an unstable surface improves balance and core strength. The water also provides natural resistance which makes the workout exponentially more effective. In addition to these benefits, the peaceful and serene environment of the water can aid in reducing stress and promoting mindfulness.

Types of yoga and fitness classes offered on Inflatable Paddle Boards

paddle boarding on inflatable stand up paddle boards

Yoga and fitness classes offered on inflatable SUP boards can include traditional yoga poses, such as Downward Dog and Warrior II, as well as more dynamic and challenging moves, like balance poses and core stability exercises. Some classes also include cardio and strength training exercises. There are specialized classes like stand up paddle board yoga, and Aquatic Stability Balance Training classes that focus on balance, strength, and flexibility.

Gear and equipment needed

inflatable sup board with repair kit

Participants in yoga and fitness classes on an inflatable SUP will need a properly inflated paddle board, paddle, and personal flotation device (a fancy term for life jackets). Some instructors may also recommend a yoga mat or towel to place on top of the board for added grip and comfort. However the deck pad that comes with your inflatable board should work just fine. The Glide O2 Lotus was designed as a Yoga platform and is the perfect board for yoga and fitness.

Choose the proper fitness stand up paddle board

inflatable stand up paddle board

We're not going to focus on the key features of a solid SUP for this article as our focus here is inflatable paddle boards. Keep in mind that with fitness paddle boarding you are going to be less interested in a performance oriented board for paddling long distances in favor of a thicker board with a high weight capacity.

It's less about the paddling experience and all around performance than having a stable board that can support your poses. A comfy deck pad is also critical as you are going to be getting up close and personal with your inflatable paddle board.

The quality of the inflatable paddle board makes a huge difference

inflatable stand up paddle board

Most sturdy paddle boards that are made from high quality materials will work well for fitness classes as will a solid board. The best inflatable paddle boards have a fused quad layer of PVC (many boards use a single layer PVC construction) around a woven drop stitch core. The most stable board will be one with a high weight capacity. In other words, stay away from the budget board.

All around SUP boards are great for all kinds of paddle boarding. They work fine for fitness but do tend to be a narrow board in comparison to those that have a board design that is specifically for yoga and fitness. You want to make sure that your fitness paddle board has ample room for extra gear as well as for your poses

The nice thing about inflatable paddle boards is that they don't take up much storage space. The carrying bag that they come with can hold your manual pump (or electric pump if you choose), adjustable paddle, repair kit, kayak seat, and other SUP accessories.

How to find and choose a class

oversized bag for inflatable paddle board

There are many yoga and fitness instructors that offer classes that go hand-in-hand with your inflatable paddle board, and they can be found through local outdoor recreation centers, gyms, and yoga studios. It's critical to research instructors and classes before signing up to ensure that they are certified and experienced in teaching on inflatable paddle boards.

Safety precautions

inflatable paddle boards with carrying bag

Safety is of the utmost importance when practicing yoga and fitness on an inflatable stand up paddle board. It's important to wear a properly fitting PFD and to be aware of weather conditions and water conditions. Participants should also be comfortable swimming and be familiar with basic water safety before attempting a class.

Tips for beginners

paddleboard pack for inflatable stand up paddle board

For those new to practicing yoga and fitness on an inflatable SUP, it's important to start with a novice-level class. It's also a smart idea to practice on calm, flat water, and to take the time to become comfortable with the inflatable SUP and paddle before attempting more challenging poses or exercises.

No need to invest in a carbon fiber paddle either. An aluminum paddle will be fine as you typically won't be paddling far to get to the spot that you will be doing your class. An adjustable paddle would also make sense if you have other family members that want to use you inflatable paddle board.

Most inflatable paddleboards come with removable fins, so make sure that you are able to install them correctly. You really won't be happy with how the board performs if they fall out.

How to prepare for a class

inflatable stand up paddle board

To prepare for a yoga or fitness class on an inflatable paddle board, it's important to stay hydrated and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Sunscreen and a hat or visor are also suggested as a sunburn ruins the fun of paddle boarding.

How to set up the board

inflatable paddle boards and one stand up paddle board

To set up the inflatable paddle board for a yoga or fitness class, it's critical to have the paddle board inflated properly and to secure the valve once you are finished with your manual pump (or electric pump). If you so choose, you can place a yoga mat or towel on top of the board for added grip and comfort but that won't be necessary with your typical paddle board deck pad. It's also important to ensure that the board is properly anchored and that you are aware of the location of the anchor in case of emergency.

How to paddle to the class location

aluminum paddle for inflatable paddle board

To paddle to the class location, it's important to use proper paddling techniques and to be aware of other boats and watercraft in the area. You will also want to be aware of currents and tides and to paddle with caution.

SUP yoga specific boards

inflatable paddle board weight limit

Paddle board SUP yoga is a specific type of yoga class that is held on an inflatable paddle board or a solid board. These classes may include traditional yoga poses as well as poses that are specific to the balance required to stay on your paddle board.

These poses may involve balance, core strength, and stability. The will also engage the muscles used for paddling. Paddle board yoga classes are designed to challenge participants both physically and mentally, while also promoting relaxation and mindfulness. Some of the specific poses that may be included in a SUP yoga class include:

  • Paddle board Plank: This pose involves beginning in a plank position on the board, with the hands positioned under the shoulders. The core is engaged as the body is held in a straight line.

  • Paddle board Downward Dog: This pose is similar to traditional downward dog, but with the added challenge of being on a rocking surface. The board moves back and forth and helps release tension in the shoulders and back.

  • Paddle board Warrior II: This pose is similar to traditional Warrior II, but with the added challenge of maintaining balance on the paddle board. The legs are positioned wide apart, and the arms are extended out to the sides.

  • Paddle board Tree: This pose involves standing on one leg on the paddle board, with the other leg placed on the thigh or ankle. The arms are extended above the head, and the gaze is focused on a point in front of the board.

  • Paddle board Boat: This core-strengthening pose involves sitting on the board with the knees bent and the feet flat on the board. The hands are placed behind the knees, and the body is lifted off the board, balancing on the sit bones.

SUP yoga can be a challenging and rewarding way to practice yoga and stay in shape while on the water. It's a great way to explore the natural environment while also promoting physical and mental well-being.

How to dismount from the paddle board

outdoor gear editor on inflatable paddle board

It's important to know how to safely dismount from the board, especially when doing balance poses or exercises. A common method is to kneel on the board while facing the nose, and then gently sliding off the board into the water. It's important to be aware of the depth of the water, rocks on the bottom and the location of the anchor before getting off the paddle board.

How to pack up and transport the board

independently research two boards and other accessories

Once the class has concluded, it's important to properly deflate and pack up the board in the travel bag or storage backpack. The board should be wiped down and dried before being stored in its travel bag. It is important to ensure that the board is properly secured during transport to prevent damage. Since the storage backpack fits in most vehicle trunks, that would be the recommended mode to transport the paddle board.

How to incorporate iSUP yoga and fitness into your own practice

other boards with kayak seats and a pointed nose

Incorporating SUP yoga and fitness into your own practice can be a fun and challenging way to stay in shape and promote wellness. It is important to find the perfect board for you. You will want to look at the board volume of the inflatable paddle board before purchasing to make certain that it has a high weight limit. You will also want to take a beginner-level class before attempting more challenging poses or exercises on your own.


all around boards won't support extra weight

Practicing yoga and fitness on an inflatable paddle board is a unique and rewarding experience. It offers a variety of benefits, including improved balance and core strength, as well as relaxation and mindfulness. It is important to choose a certified and experienced instructor, to be aware of safety precautions and to be comfortable swimming in case you fall in. You will also want to make sure that you properly maintain the board to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. With the right preparation, anyone can enjoy the benefits of SUP yoga and fitness.