SUP Yoga

And sometimes to live daringly you’ve got to practice standup paddleboard (SUP) yoga!

A women mentioned SUP yoga after a yoga class at Jai Dee. As soon as got home I Googled it and found Sweetwater SUP yoga. For $35 they give you 2 hours of paddleboard and a paddle rental, and give you an hour of yoga instruction. (Other companies in the area are going for twice as much.)

I can’t really say why the prospect of SUP yoga was so exciting. Yoga is challenging for me on dry land! I can’t do many of the inversions (yet), and I’m still struggling to practice Crow.

But there is something about practicing yoga outside. I really enjoy Saturday morning yoga in Ybor, which is held in the Ybor Museum Garden for a donation to the museum. The tinkling of the fountain, the crowing of the roosters (it is Ybor, after all), the chirping of the other birds, the breeze caressing your skin, the sun beating down… Somehow it’s magical. And I’ve never paddleboarded before. So, in a world of living daringly, why not SUP yoga?!

Woman practicing Crow

The class is held at Weedon Island Preserve, a lovely tangle of mangrove forest. After getting a bit misdirected (thanks, Google Maps), a friend and I were finally able to go today. We were both nervous, since neither of us had paddleboarded before.

People kayaking through Weedon Island

Before we really got underway my anchor fell into the water without my knowing it. That caused a bit of confusion and ultimately resulted in me falling off the board. At least I got falling into the water out of the way early!

Soon after that we began paddling. It doesn’t take too long to get the hang of paddleboarding (as long as your anchor doesn’t fall into the water!), and it’s certainly a good leg and upper-body workout. We were in shallow water the whole time, and we saw stingrays and needle fish pass under us as we paddled. We were surrounded by mangrove forests, open water, shore birds, lots of sun, and a wonderful breeze. A really lovely day for SUP yoga.

We finally arrived to the place where we would practice yoga. It was a small cove surrounded by mangroves. Once we got our anchors situated, we started with a meditation in a seated position. Even that felt awkward at first, because you rock  with the movement of the water. But after a few minutes it became soothing.

high-lunge-twist-400x400

Lunge-twist

*We didn’t get any pictures on site, so I am borrowing from the web… The pictures I borrowed are some of the poses that I remembered doing during our practice.*

We progressed through the rest of the practice. I won’t lie, it was extremely challenging! Postures that were relatively easy for me on dry land became a war with balance. All of those instructions to “engage your core”  that you get on dry land became mandatory on the paddleboard. You literally had to “go with the flow,” constantly adjusting your yoga postures with your position on the board. You had to be mindful not only of what your own body was doing, but also of where you were on the board.

Almost everyone in our class fell into the water at least once, but it was Ok. I know I laughed at myself when I fell! I smiled a lot during that practice, which felt really good.

Reverse plank Richard Russo photography

Overall, it was quite the adventure. It was mentally challenging, in that you had to fight the fear of falling, which was present even if the water was only a few feet deep. It was physically challenging, because you were constantly balancing whether it was during the yoga portion or just paddling. And I also got a bit of a sunburn (yowch!).

Warrior 2 pose

If you practice yoga at all, I would highly suggest challenging yourself with SUP yoga. It’s probably not for beginner (i.e. brand new) yogis/yoginis, though it’s definitely Ok for beginner paddleboarders (as I am one, and I thought it was a great experience).

I’m proud of myself for doing SUP yoga. Today I did something that I’d never done before. I challenged some of my fears. I know that I can laugh at myself and not take doing every pose “perfectly” so seriously. I hope that I can take my smile into future yoga practices. I hope that I can increase the use of my smile in daily life! I also got to know a  friend better, which is always a good thing.

Yay, for SUP yoga!

Namaste.

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