Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Yoga on a surfboard? Well, kind of. With the growing popularity of stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP as its known, people are taking one of the fastest growing sports and adding new twists - literally.
It's called yoga boarding, and it basically takes the same paddleboards used in SUP and turns them into a yoga mat.
SUP got its start in Hawaii and has been popularized in California thanks to frequently photographed celebrity SUPers like Matthew McConaughey, Owen Wilson, Rihanna and Kate Hudson, SUP yoga boarding actually got its start on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. (You can take the SUP board and paddle to rivers, bays, and lakes and marinas.)
SUP yoga boarding is now popping up on itineraries for Zen-seeking travelers everywhere who are looking for a laid back, calorie-burning experience.
"Itís actually a better workout than studio yoga because you have to be more precise with your movements," says Eric Hiss of Kainalu XT, a multi-disciplinary water-based training business in Bora Bora, Tahiti.
Those with a good sense of balance and some core strength built from on-land yoga sessions will find that dropping to downward and upward dog, rising to bridge pose and even tackling crow pose while floating on the water are actually not as impossible to achieve as they sound. (Just a little wobbly and maybe initially a tad wet.)
"Even beginners have little problem with the basics (of yogaboarding)," says Hiss. "Obviously, you have to do this somewhere very calm."
Part of it is that paddleboards are much more ample than you'd think, at 11 x 12 feet and up to three feet wide. Still it takes some getting used to.
As winter approaches, rather than bundle up and hibernate or buffet binge at an all-inclusive tropical resort, SUP yoga boarding may be the answer for a healthier, more fitness-forward approach to vacationing.
In the Riviera Nayarit region of Mexico, the top SUP purveyor located in 'Mexico's Malibu,' Punta de Mita, is world surf legend, Gerry Lopez, owner of the Gerry Lopez Paddle Surf Lifestyle Camp. Lopez is ranked one of the top surfers in the world and offers personalized SUP instruction, promising, "you are up and at it in the first hour."The next Lopez camp session is scheduled for October 20-22 and focuses on SUP and yoga with morning and afternoon sessions, along with "water and wave knowledge and surf etiquette." Lopez is known for throwing in a little on board headstand clinic for those willing to push the limits. The camps session is organized by Sun Country Tours and Hotel de Artistesí Cinco Watersports Center.