Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga
Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUPing) is a perfect way to be on the water. A paddle board offers the diversity of relaxed paddling, intense racing, exhilarating surfing, meditative fishing, and healing yoga. It is also a fun social activity that encourages laughter and connection with others. Yoga is the vedic science of self-actualization which combines many paths and practices that result in a deeper life experience.
Hatha yoga combines breath, physical positions, meditation, and relaxation to unify the body, mind, heart, and spirit. Every practice is a step forward and every step forward in our practice is a giant step inward. Nature brings us closer to our souls and into a quieter appreciation of life. When we move from a building, a cement street, a metal car into a place of living, breathing plants and water, our senses open up. A sense of wonder fills our hearts, and our lungs open deeper to breathe in the oxygen that the plants are offering to us. We can move into relaxation response at a deeper level.
In essence, we go to nature to heal. Practicing yoga on a paddleboard on water brings an exponential expansion of the overall experience. The constant movement of the board requires increased focus in the present moment, core strength, changing viewpoints, and heightened awareness. Practicing yoga in nature teaches us the art of moving gracefully from the compelling outside world of wind, sky, colors, birds, and sea creatures to the equally compelling inner world of focus, balance, joy and concentration in the present moment.
Balance Your Board, Balance Your Life
In order to stay on the board, the basic mental practice of positive focus is even more necessary. Finding a focal point that assists in maintaining balance, relaxing the body into each pose and through each transition requires a consistent meditative mindset. For example, looking down into the water usually invites a fall into that exact spot, and tensing muscles to keep balance does just the opposite and also invites a fall. Where as looking ahead, keeping the body relaxed and supple, and breathing relaxation into each deliberate movement guarantee a flowing practice. Because the water is alive and breathing, it is constantly moving with the currents and winds. This means that every move on the board also moves the board on the water. For example, bringing one foot forward between the hands from down dog moves the board forward, requiring the core to maintain balance until the foot is set and takes weight.
Moving into triangle pose, the body may rock the board left to right while the core finds a balancing place to stabilize the board. A bird flying close overhead or a fish jumping next to the board may inspire a moment of surprise and joy, taking attention away from the focal point. This offers a meditative opportunity to gently bring attention back to the breath and focal point, at the same time allowing the heart to remain full of the wonders of nature. Gently, the mind supports the heart and spirit to fill with the awe-inspiring experience of being present in every moment as the body enjoys a deeper challenge in every pose.
Our classes are held in shallow and calm water–so you can focus on your poses rather than worry about falling in. Our stand up paddleboards are very stable so falling in is not common. I teach a stand up paddleboard yoga class weekly in Sarasota, at the Lido Mangrove Tunnels. If you would like to take my class, please sign up here. I also love to lead private groups through a paddleboard yoga class. Contact me for more information.