The Best Yoga Poses for Paddlers

Paddling requires a lot of effort from your body and the repetitive nature of paddling, whether it’s on a canoe, kayak or SUP can lead to a strain on the joints and tendons. There are yoga poses and exercises to keep you in shape, so when you get on the water, it will become easier and less straining, making you ache less after each session.

Person doing yoga pose for paddling

We have laid out some basic exercises below that are great for paddlers.

Child’s Pose

The child’s pose stretches your lower body, relaxes your upper body and helps calm the mind. Sit on your legs on the floor, with the top of your feet facing the floor then extend your arms forward to your torso to lay on top you’re your thighs. Hold the position and relax. If you want to be more comfortable, move your knees out so that your body is closer to the floor.

Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bend pose stretches the hamstrings and creates length in the spine, which helps with the posture of paddlers. Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms slowly towards the ceiling. Using your hips as a hinge, bring your chest towards your knees. Press your feet into the floor and extend through your legs. Exhale as you bend down, inhaling as you move to stand back up.

Wide Leg Forward Bend

The wide leg forward bend pose stretches and strengthens your hips. From standing, move your feet three to four feet apart, with toes slightly inward. Like the standing forward bend pose, hinge at the hips, keeping your torso long, and keep your back parallel to the floor, using fingertips on the floor to balance. If possible, bring your head towards your legs. When moving back up to standing, draw your shoulders back to open your chest.


The cat-camel pose increases your spine’s flexibility and also helps with stabilising your spine. To get into the pose, start on your hands and knees, keeping them shoulder and hip-width apart. Inhale, tightening your abdominals, letting your stomach fall to the floor. Look up to the ceiling, then exhale and arch your spine with your head looking towards the floor.

Reverse Pigeon

The reverse pigeon pose stretches the hips and glutes, targeting the piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve is found in this area, and paddlers should try to keep their muscles in neutral length to reduce sciatica symptoms. To do the pose, like flat on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, threading your right arm through the gap using it to pull your left leg towards your chest. Repeat with the left leg on the right knee.


The locust post will strengthen muscles in your posterior chain and anterior torso, helping you maintain a strong core. Lie face down on the floor, feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your side facing up. Inhale and lift legs, arms, and torso from the floor, keeping your head and neck neutral.


The boat pose will help with your core, specifically abdominals and hips. A strong core is important for all paddlers as it protects the spine and gives you a stronger stroke. Get seated on the floor, with legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your legs upwards, drawing your shoulders back and avoiding rounding your back. Add another stretch by extending your legs straight.

Seated Spinal Twist

The seated spinal twist is a pose that will also help with spine flexibility and opens the chest and shoulders. Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you, bending your left knee, bring your left heel as close as possible to your right hip, and place your right foot by your left knee. Twist to the right, reaching your left arm behind you and cross your left arm to your right hip. Hold the position, loosen, then repeat. Do the same with the opposite leg.

Upward Dog

The upward dog pose looks simple and helps improve posture, opens your chest and strengthens your wrists. Get into a plank position, lowering your body to the floor with hands shoulder width apart, stretching your legs back and the tops of your feet on the floor. Keep your elbows in at your sides and straighten your arms, lifting up your torso off the floor but press your hips towards the floor. Keep your head up before releasing the position.

Take a look at other posts on our blog for more tips for paddlers and take a look at the SUP boards for sale along with a variety of quality accessories to help you out on the water.

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  1. […] a look at some of our other blog posts on exercises for paddlers, such as the best yoga poses and ones to improve your paddling […]

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