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Fanatic SUPs - Get Your Body on Board!

Yoga on a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) is the perfect combination of physical exercises, relaxation and nature experience. Fanatic team rider and yoga instructor Nici Scheichl introduces you to this sport.

As a Vorarlberg native, Nici loves the mountains, the snow and the water. She feels connected to nature and is passionate about outdoor sports. Besides freeride skiing and windsurfing, she discovered another great passion a few years ago with yoga. For the busy athlete, yoga is a perfect balance for her everyday life: "I have integrated yoga into my daily routine. It brings me balance and is a nice antithesis to extreme sports. Yoga helps me to arrive at myself, to focus and concentrate on the essentials. It enables me to go new ways, to broaden perspectives and to live the present moment to the fullest."

In the meantime, the 31-year-old Austrian has made yoga her profession. In January 2017, she opened her first >Ländle Yoga Studio< in Götzis. There she gives weekly yoga classes in addition to her work as a coach. In summer, she swaps her yoga mat for a stand up paddle board and teaches SUP yoga in the middle of the water: "Yoga can be wonderfully combined with surfing. You glide calmly over the water and enjoy nature."

Together with the surf school >Surfmax<, Nici brought Stand Up Paddle Yoga to Vorarlberg two years ago. Surfmax is located in Hard on Lake Constance. The shallow water in the Harder Binnenbecken offers perfect conditions for Stand Up Paddeling, windsurfing and SUP yoga.

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Stand Up Paddling (short: SUP) is a trendy sport from Hawaii, which conquers more and more the domestic waters. With SUP, you stand upright on a special surfboard and move around with the help of a paddle. This is an easy way to explore lakes and rivers. The untouched nature of the region is brought before your eyes and makes every SUP trip a special experience. Stand Up Paddling is easy and can be learned within a short time.

In SUP yoga, yoga exercises are performed on a Stand Up Paddle board in the open air. The board is your yoga mat.

For a yoga class on the SUP board, you don't have to be particularly athletic or limber. The special construction of the boards ensures good stability, making SUP yoga suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners. SUP yoga is a wonderful interplay of breath, strength, balance and flowing lightness, which is experienced during meditation, the physical exercises and also while paddling - in the middle of the lake and surrounded by water, you feel the sun on your face and the wind on your skin. "SUP Yoga brings you back into balance with powerful and calm exercises and helps you leave your stress at home."

Sitting and kneeling as well as standing asanas (physical exercises), breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises and meditation are part of every SUP Yoga session. Combined with the element of water, yoga offers a wonderful challenge to our body, soul and spirit. Focusing on the present moment is very important in order to maintain balance on the SUP board. Every smallest and deepest muscle is used to stay stable. The gentle rocking movements of the water have a completely relaxing effect. Above all, SUP yoga is a wonderful challenge that comes with a lot of fun.

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Here, Nici shares some favorite yoga exercises to try. So grab your SUP, paddle out and relax:

Padmasana (Meditation Sit)
Begin and end each yoga practice with a short mindfulness exercise and meditation. For this, assume a comfortable seated posture, such as tailor's seat or kneeling seat. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward so that your spine straightens and tilt your chin slightly toward your sternum. Rest your arms relaxed on your legs. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Arrive on your floating yoga mat. Notice the sounds from nature and relax.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Looking Dog)
Begin in quadruped stance. Spread your fingers well apart and press your palms against the board. Make sure your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line. Your knees are under your hips. Warm up your spine with the cat-cow movement. With each inhalation, lengthen your spine and look forward. On the exhale, press into the cat hump, tilt your chin toward your sternum, and pull your belly button inward toward your spine. Repeat the movements for a few breaths.
Then push your pelvis back towards your heels, press your hands on the board and slowly lift your knees off the board. Push your ischial tuberosities up as far as possible and push back out of your shoulder girdle. Face your knees and take 5 deep breaths. Make sure your spine is long and straight.

Variation: Three Legged Downward Looking Dog
Bring your big toes together in downward looking dog and alternately lift each left and right leg off the board. Stretch the detached leg far back and distribute the weight evenly on the points of contact between the hands and the foot on the board.

5 good reasons for SUP Yoga

  1. Yoga in nature and on the water has a positive and stress-reducing effect.
  2. SUP yoga challenges you. Your body must always keep the tension. So you have a perfect workout for the whole body.
  3. Paddleboard yoga requires all your concentration. The board reacts to the smallest movements.
  4. Yoga on the SUP is suitable for everyone, can be learned quickly and offers countless possibilities to adapt the exercises individually.
  5. And last but not least: fun is guaranteed!