What to Wear to Paddleboard Yoga: A Very Simple Guide

Paddleboard yoga is quite simple. It’s just yoga on a paddleboard. They even make specialized paddleboards solely for the purpose of practicing yoga! Practicing yoga out on the water in the morning sun sounds pretty amazing, but what do you wear to a paddleboard yoga session? Bikini? Yoga wear? A wetsuit? 

You can wear regular yoga wear to paddleboard yoga, but wear something that you don’t mind getting wet. Moisture-wicking clothing is great. There’s no need to wear a wetsuit unless you are practicing cold-weather paddleboard yoga. You can use surfwear, rash guards or swimsuits.

Paddleboard yoga is popular for good reasons. The calmness of the water and simply being out in nature soaking up the sunlight will make your soul happy. You will be practicing out in the elements. Contemplating what to wear shouldn’t be an issue. This very simple guide will help you to know what to wear to your first paddleboard yoga session!

What to Wear to Paddleboard Yoga: A Very Simple Guide

The practice of yoga strives to create harmony between mind and body, and essentially between the individual consciousness and the universal consciousness. These days you can find numerous yoga studios all over the world. You can also go online and find an endless stream of yoga tutorials. There are all kinds of different yoga practices, and as paddle boarding became popular, paddleboard yoga did, too. Carlo wrote an article on getting started with paddleboard yoga, including going over some basic poses.

There are no limits when it comes to picking out what to wear to paddleboard yoga. You should feel comfortable and free to move around without being restricted by tight clothes. Also, do yourself a favor and drop lose clothes, too, so that you don’t need to worry about the clothing getting in the way. A loose shirt can quickly become a problem when it falls over your head and prohibits your vision. 

Finding the right combination between form-fitting and flexible is key.

Paddleboard yoga classes require a small flotation device. Some classes might have loaners, but if you are doing more than one class, it’s smart to purchase your own. Safety first!

Wear comfortable and seasonally appropriate clothing

Feet – Do I Have to Be Barefoot?

Yes! Barefoot is the way to go while practicing yoga. While large muscle groups are used for primary balance, your toes provide minor balance adjustments critical to yoga. This might be even more important out on the paddleboard. A good grip is key, and bare feet will allow this. Don’t worry about your feet! Let them be free, and they will keep you from falling off your board! The only good reason for wearing footwear while practicing paddleboard yoga is if you’re doing it in freezing conditions to make sure your blood is circulating. 

Lower Body Wear 

Mobility is not only a perk of doing yoga. It’s essential in the clothing you choose. Finding yoga bottoms that allow you to move around with no restrictions is fundamental. For paddleboard yoga, you can go with regular yoga pants, shorts, bikini bottoms, or whatever clothing you have that allows flexibility and dries quickly after getting wet. 

Surf clothing could be a great choice as they are already made for being in the water and won’t fade as fast. 

Upper Body Wear

For your upper body, it’s wise to choose something that allows movement while being form-fitting. It is not fun having your shirt fall over your face and restricting vision while trying to balance on your head. That could be the recipe for testing your paddleboard yoga wear in the water. 

Women can wear a sports bra, a form-fitting t-shirt or a tank top. For men, the best choice might be shirtless, but if you burn easily, a t-shirt might be a better choice. It is up to each individual to find clothing that feels comfortable while being practical.

Sun Screen – A Must!

When you are out on the paddleboard, you are surrounded by reflecting water, and the sun – no doubt – will hit you harder. Sunscreen or sunblock is a must. Be sure to always cover-up. You don’t want your paddleboard yoga session to end in a massive sunburn! 

Another thing to consider is ditching darker color clothing for your paddleboard yoga session in hot weather. Dark colors soak up heat, and that can quickly become uncomfortable. Get out your lighter color clothing. Paddleboard yoga should be soothing and calming. Not a sweat feast that ends in dehydration. 

Bring a bottle of water as well. Hydration is just as important as sunscreen. Embrace the water in every way!

Extras

It is also smart to bring a small towel that you can wipe off sweat and water with. Moisture-wicking clothing is great for paddleboard yoga. This type of clothing will remove moisture from your body as opposed to clothing made from cotton material. This might be a bit more on the costly side, but if you are serious about your paddleboard yoga practice, moisture-wicking yoga wear is the best choice. 

As mentioned above, bring a bottle of water and extra sunscreen in case you fall in!

Cold Weather Paddleboard Yoga 

When most people think of paddleboard yoga, they usually think of slow movements out on the board on a beautiful sunny day in clear blue water. This, however, is not always the case! Paddleboard yoga can be done anywhere in the world, in the ocean or on a lake deep in the lush Norwegian forest. This means that the water temperature can range from comfortable to freezing. 

Practicing paddleboard yoga in freezing water can be quite dangerous without the proper clothing. 

Make sure your wetsuit allows good range of motion

Wearing a wetsuit is crucial when practicing in freezing water conditions. Wet suits are made with different materials, and they come with different thicknesses. If it’s really cold, you should wear boots with grip and maybe even gloves and a hat to keep that brain freeze at bay. Different climates create different needs. It’s important for your paddleboard yoga practice to stay safe and comfortable. 

What If It’s Just Cold?

Like your yoga practice should be – your clothing choices are individual. Some people run hot, while others are always feeling cold. It’s smart to bring some layers for your paddleboard yoga practice. 

If you’re cold, bring a sweater and some pants that you can easily remove if it gets too hot. The most important thing when choosing your paddleboard yoga wear is that its comfortable, practical and keeps the elements at bay. 

What to Expect from Your First Class

Paddleboard yoga might seem like something that is solely for advanced yogis and yoginis, but it really isn’t. Paddleboard yoga is a great way for beginners to start their yoga journeys. Paddleboard yoga focuses on body awareness and being present in the moment. You can read Carlo’s post about paddle board yoga, as it will likely help before your first outing.

This is key to the practice of yoga and finding inner balance and peace. All of this while being out in nature and fresh air will make you feel rejuvenated and at peace. Keep on reading to learn more about the many benefits of practicing paddleboard yoga. 

Paddleboard Yoga

Like yoga itself, it’s hard to state the origins of paddleboard yoga. Paddleboard has been used since ancient times all over the world. For transportation, that is. It is said that paddle boarding came from Hawaii over to the mainland. People use paddleboards for surfing, cruising, and ultimately for taking their yoga practice to another level. 

Yogis and yoginis all over the world strive to find balance, so it is not at all strange that practicing yoga out on the water would be a hit. Not only are you working on achieving a balance within. You are also balancing on the water. You must become one with the paddleboard, one with the water. If not, you will find yourself in the water quite quickly. Luckily falling into the water doesn’t hurt nearly as much as falling on the hardwood floor. 

What to Expect from Your First Class

You are already one step ahead. You already know what to wear and what to bring to your first paddleboard yoga class. Most classes require that you register in advance due to the number of boards needed. Most paddleboard yoga classes don’t require you to have any previous experience with a paddleboard. 

It is always wise to plan ahead and arrive early. That way, you have time to navigate to the correct spot, park, and due to the check-in most classes these days have set. Don’t worry about the logistics. The teacher is there to help you with finding the right board and the length of the paddle. 

There is usually a short lesson involved in how to carry the board and place it in the water. When in the water, the teacher will go through the correct paddle technique. Some teachers also anchor in their students so that no one floats away. 

Don’t Worry About Your Yoga Level

All you really need to do is make sure that you sign up for a class that meets your level. Don’t worry about performing headstands or other complex postures on the paddleboard. Yoga teachers are known to fit the practice to each student’s ability level. Some classes have a quick warmup on land before hitting the water so that everyone is warm and ready to get their paddle on. 

Yoga is supposed to be relaxing. It is challenging at times, yes. But the teacher will make sure everyone feels comfortable in what they are doing. If the paddleboard is swaying too much, just lay down in a savasana (flat on your back) and relax!

During the class, the teacher will guide you through different movements that move with the water. Every class is finished off with the Savasana pose. This pose is purely for relaxation. You will focus on your breathing and being present in your body. 

Paddleboard Yoga adds the element of water into this. The water is soothing, and you will go home from your practice with all the stress of daily life washed away. 

Benefits of Paddleboard Yoga

Now that you know what to wear, you might wonder what the benefits of paddleboard yoga are. There are numerous benefits to practicing yoga, both for the mind and body. Some practice yoga solely for physical benefits, while others practice meditation and mindfulness. 

I discovered yoga in 2010 as a 48 year old doctor/patient trying everything possible to recover from major back surgery and failing miserably. Until I tried yoga. Specifically P90X Beachbody Yoga. I went from miserable to pain free in 3 months.

There are many benefits of taking your yoga practice to the next level with paddleboard yoga. The water takes it up a notch. Your muscles will be challenged more than on dry land. Your core strength and balance will increase as you are activating new muscle fibers, and being out on the water in the fresh air will feel invigorating. 

Additional Stress Relief

Practicing paddleboard yoga also gives you the chance to practice outside floating on water. Water is stress-relieving, which will calm and soothe your soul. You may find yourself being able to go deeper into postures while feeling more in control of your breathing. 

The fresh air will open up your lungs and rejuvenate the cells in your body with fresh oxygen. Beautiful scenery and just being out in nature is proven to fight depression and give you a sense of joy while relieving you of the stress in your life. 

Paddleboard yoga can make you feel like you are walking on water and give you a sensation of being in one with nature. Try to think of the sensation you get when you are floating on your back in the water. For some people, this is a very hard thing to do. Being on a paddleboard can give you that same relaxing and peaceful feeling of floating on the water without the feeling of sinking.

Enhanced Yogic Experience

Practicing paddleboard yoga regularly can increase your flexibility and mobility while making you stronger at the same time. Balancing in the water on the paddleboard stimulates the recruiting of more muscle fibers. This is how we build strength. 

Being able to breathe freely and be present will let you sink deeper into the positions. All of this, together with the fresh air and focusing on the breath, increases blood circulation in your body. Well-functioning blood circulation is a necessity for proper body function. 

Beginner Yogis and Yoginis

Paddleboard yoga is a fun way to take your yoga practice to the next level. But, do not despair. If you are a beginner and want to try paddleboard yoga, there is no reason not to! Paddleboard yoga is great for beginners as its usually a slower form of yoga. 

You don’t have to be advanced at all. Yoga is for everyone. Paddleboard yoga is a practice of the mind and body, and everyone has to start somewhere. 

Starting with paddleboard yoga will only further your awareness. Also, getting used to practicing yoga outside in nature on the water will make you attentive about your body’s movement and your breath. Paddleboard yoga keeps you present and alert, which are cornerstones in the practice of yoga. The recruitment of additional muscle fibers from balancing on the board in water will tighten your core further and make you stronger faster than learning yoga on dry land. 

Advanced Yogis and Yoginis 

For yogis and yoginis that have advanced their yoga practice, paddleboard yoga can take their practice to an even higher level. Some might find themselves quite humbled after a paddleboard yoga session. The paddleboard will challenge their core strength and balance. 

Challenging ourselves and trying out new things is important in every aspect of our lives. Yes, yoga is about getting comfortable and in one with our mind and body, but we need to challenge ourselves to reach higher levels in yoga and life. 

Diving into paddleboard yoga will help advanced yogis and yoginis reach a deeper level of awareness in their yoga practice. Practicing paddleboard yoga will let you become one with the water, and hopefully, it will help you become one with yourself. 

Yoga is about finding peace, balance, and ultimately harmony in yourself and with the world around you. These are all aspects we all should strive to reach in a stressful and fast-paced world. Paddleboard yoga is fun and a great way to challenge ourselves to become stronger and better versions of ourselves. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless if you are an advanced student or a beginner in the practice of yoga, you should now be ready to try out your first paddleboard yoga session! You have learned about the numerous benefits of yoga and how paddleboard yoga will take you to the next level. 

You now have a very simple guide to what to wear to paddleboard yoga. Picking out the right clothing should not be an issue anymore. Remember to hydrate properly before getting out on the water and to bring both extra sunscreen and a bottle of water. Both the sun and the water are fierce elements that you will learn how to handle. 

This simple guide will let you enjoy your paddleboard yoga practice without stressing out about what to wear and what to bring. Like in life and paddleboard, yoga balance is key, and finding the right yoga wear for you is what’s important. Being comfortable and at peace should be the number one priority. Now get ready for an amazing practice out on the water!


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Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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