Jessica Bellofatto is a pioneer in the Sup Yoga movement. Before it became all the rage, Jess was playing around on her paddle board perfecting her poses. She’s a water gal and she combined the two things she loves most (besides her children ;): Yoga and Paddling. Over time, Jessica has developed this side of her yoga business into a burgeoning Sup Yoga revolution on Long Island in NY. Today, she offers several beginner to advanced level classes per week in summer as well as 2-3 Sup Yoga Teacher Trainings a year to bring students the confidence they need to teach yoga on the water. Check out her latest installment on our Sup Yoga series on choosing a proper board and anchor systems for your practice.
Sup Yoga: From Soup to Nuts
In order to assist you in your journey from being a “land-only” yogi to a sup yogi, OR from paddling NON-yogi to bonafide yogi, I will be offering tips and tricks for Stand Up Paddle Yoga as well as newsy info on choosing the right equipment for your practice on a regular basis. It is my hope that the next time you are out there on your board, you might feel compelled to put your paddle down (either slide it through your storage bungee at the front of your board or if you don’t have one of those, wrap your leash around it and toss it in the water) and break into a cat/cow (amazing for the lower back and hips after a lot of paddling) or explore a fuller yoga sequence on the water.
“For me, sup yoga goes far beyond the trend. It is where I go to find peace, where I go to connect to nature, where I go to be alone and truly, deeply quiet.” – Jessica Bellofatto
Let’s take a quick look at Board Selection for Sup Yoga:
Board selection is important, but we don’t always have a choice. Ideally, a paddle board to be used for sup yoga is LONG and WIDE. It needs to have a lot of volume to make it “float-y”. A good length for a Sup Yoga board is at least eleven feet long by thirty inches wide. It should also be at least 4 inches thick to give you better buoyancy. You also want to look for a board that has as much deck pad as possible (as this will be your yoga mat surface) and that the deck pad is smooth for greater comfort.
Lastly, a board that is wide at the back rather than tapered will give you more surface area to work with and that greater tail volume will add to the board’s overall stability. All good things while working on your Wild Thing out on the water!
The general rule of thumb is bigger boards for bigger people. Bigger boards are also better for beginners to stand up paddling, yoga, or both!
Anchor Systems: Don’t get blown away!
When practicing Sup Yoga, you also want to make sure that when you get all blissed out in savasana, that you DON’T get blown out to sea! It can also be distracting as you practice if the wind is moving you around and you have to keep paddling back to your start point. Therefore, your other consideration when purchasing equipment for your Sup Yoga practice is an anchor system. You can absolutely practice Sup Yoga without an anchor, but you must stay aware of your surroundings, other paddlers and watercraft as well as the changing water conditions. Alternatively (and recommended) is to use an anchor. Individual anchors can easily be purchased online and, these days, are easy to find. You can look on Amazon or Google “Sup Yoga anchors” to find viable alternatives for you. A 10-12 pound mushroom anchor is my personal choice.
Once you have your board selected, a proper paddle and your anchor system, you are READY to begin the journey to liquid bliss! You can read now my first article which offers a Beginner’s Sup Yoga sequence here. Namaste and see YOU on the water!
Jessica Bellofatto is a momma of three, yoga teacher for 22 years (and counting!), pioneer of Sup Yoga in the Northeast, sup racer, triathlete, surfer, doula, self-proclaimed movement junkie and all around lover of life! She owns a yoga studio and standup paddleboard yoga business in East Hampton, NY. Her favorite part of her ‘job’ is teaching yoga and sup retreats to beautiful tropical destinations around the globe. A proud ambassador for Boga Yoga Paddleboards, Kialoa Paddles, Mi Ola Surf bathing suits, Graced By Grit, and Tanya B, you can find her at www.jbyoga.com