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August 3, 2023
Christy Calahan shares her size-inclusive yoga class tips in this image promoting her webinar.
Tips For Teaching Size-Inclusive Yoga Classes
August 15, 2023

When the weather is warm, everyone wants to take their yoga practice outside. Whether it’s healing our bodies, energetically, through the earth and fresh air, or from the excitement of getting sweaty in nature, yoga practitioners frequently shuck the climate-controlled studio and opt for a more natural experience. 

When the sun is beating down, there is no better place to practice yoga than a pool or an ocean - besides maybe a reservoir or a lake. That’s why Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga (SUP Yoga) is a seasonal favorite.

It’s more than the inherently spiritual healing power of larger bodies of water that make people fall in love with SUP Yoga. Doing yoga on a SUP board can increase balance, core strength, courage, and mindfulness. After all, you have to stay present or else you’ll end up in the water! If you’re looking for a fun, new way to teach yoga, SUP Yoga might be the perfect summer class to add to your teaching schedule.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Teach SUP Yoga?

SUP Yoga Experience

You should definitely have some experience practicing yoga on a paddle board before you commit to teaching it. For one thing, you’ll be on the board for hours and you should enjoy practicing it yourself. But also, having personal experience will help you teach more safely and with a deeper understanding.

SUP Yoga Teacher Training (SUP YTT)

Of course, there is a yoga teacher training for that! SUP YTT is really important when you’re hoping to start hosting yoga on paddle boards. Not only do you learn tricks on teaching postures on the boards, you also learn vital safety tricks like first aid, lifeguard techniques, performing water rescues, and how to fall off the board without getting injured. 

Like other training opportunities, just because you get a SUP YTT, doesn’t mean you must teach afterwards. It is also a great way to deepen your SUP Yoga practice.

CPR Certification

Along with the safety procedures you learn in a SUP YTT, you should be sure that your CPR certification is up to date.

Yoga Teacher Insurance

The last thing you should have to worry about is if you and/or your business will be at risk if the worst happens - and accidents do happen! Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and covers SUP Yoga.

Other Must-Haves for Teaching SUP Yoga 

Equipment

Many SUP Yoga classes are taught at locations that have SUP rentals. So, you don’t need to own all of your own equipment. If you have a place in mind to teach, ask them before you spend the time and money investing in your own gear.

Here is a list of things you may want to ask about or purchase for yourself:
  • Board
  • Paddle
  • Life jacket (different states have different regulations on floatation devices)
  • Ankle strap
Other helpful items include:
  • Anchor to keep your board(s) from drifting away
  • Waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Choosing a Location

When all is said and done, you just need a body of water (pools are great, too!) and some people who are curious about SUP Yoga, but if you have the opportunity to get more specific about your location, try to check these boxes.

  • Shaded: Though not required, keep in mind the effect of direct sunlight on your class. To reduce heat-related risks, try to find a location with full or partial shade.
  • Sheltered: Windy days make for wobbly boards and goosebumps. Try to choose a location with little wind exposure to help your students find their sea legs with ease.
  • Private: SUP Yoga is really interesting, and passersby may be interested in watching your class. This is to be expected but may not be ideal for people who have never been on a board before and are nervous.
  • Accessible: To have the most available offering, people should be able to get in and out of the water easily, park close by, and have bathrooms and/or changing rooms available.

Starting Your Class

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re starting your SUP Yoga class.

  • Embrace the Unexpected: Teaching a SUP Yoga class is very different from teaching in a studio! You’re exposed to the elements, out in public, and on a moving surface (to say the least!). You should be ready to go with the flow.
  • Keep It Simple: Sitting or standing on a floating board may be enough mindfulness and breathing that some people need! Keep the postures simple and work up if it feels like people are ready to expand their practice. 
  • Encourage Playfulness: Getting wobbly, or even falling in the water, will feel scary for some. Encourage playfulness and curiosity rather than fear or failure.
  • Interact With Surroundings: You’re outside, don’t pretend you aren’t! Comment on the weather, on the people or animals around you. Use the water as a meditation tool. Wave to the people watching. People are here not just to stand on a paddle board but for the whole experience, so indulge in it!
  • Have People Pay Beforehand: Logistically speaking, you likely won’t have much technology near the water or with you. There isn’t really a risk of “walk-ins” when people need a board and swim/wet yoga clothes, so try to enforce a pay-before policy so that you ensure that you’re paid and everyone can relax into the practice without worrying about wallets or cards.

SUP Yoga is a ton of fun and an incredible tool for expanding people’s yoga practice. If you’re interested in teaching a SUP Yoga class, make sure your yoga teacher insurance covers you. beYogi insurance covers over 450+ modalities, including SUP Yoga, so you can focus on what you do best - teaching an amazing SUP Yoga class.

Teresa Adele
Teresa, a yoga instructor, writer, and advocate for holistic health, is a published health and wellness reporter known for simplifying complex concepts. With a passion for crafting fact-based articles, she aims to make whole-body wellness accessible to all. Certified by NASM as a Personal Trainer and by Yoga Alliance with a 200-hour certification, she seamlessly integrates physical fitness with spiritual well-being. Teresa is also a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher, specializing in supporting expectant mothers. Moreover, as an Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, she guides individuals on their journey towards complete wellness. Teresa's mission is to promote accessible pathways to holistic health through her writing and yoga instruction, ensuring well-being is within reach for everyone.