A First Time Experience With Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga
by Laura Olinger
The first time I tried SUP yoga, I couldn’t imagine how I’d be able to take my yoga practice onto the water, but I was up for an adventure. I wasn’t disappointed; I was met with a challenging but fun experience. I was a little nervous, I’d only been on a paddle board once before and it took all my concentration to stay standing. In this practice, we started by paddling out into the middle of a pond and slowly worked our way into Sun Salutations. The slower flow, and the added challenge to balance, allowed me to experience more mindfulness in my practice for the simple reason that I had to, or else I would fall in the water. I was conscious of pressing evenly through both feet, and felt the power of being grounded while still floating on the water.
SUP yoga can bring a lot to your practice. It allows you to train outside and soak up some Vitamin D, gives you the opportunity to notice any imbalances in your practice (i.e. if you tend to shift more weight to one side of your body), encourages you to focus on your foundations – hands, feet, core (lots of core!), and it’s simply fun! It can be the breath of fresh air, literally, you need if you feel stagnant or stale in your practice. In Savasana, I let my hands fall out into the cool pond while my board drifted – it was the most relaxed I’ve ever felt in that pose.
It can also be physically refreshing if, like me, you fall into cold water when you attempt Wheel a little too enthusiastically.
While many people wait to go on vacation to experience SUP yoga, there are opportunities to practice locally. If you’re a member at neighboring Lakeside, you might have noticed the Paddleboard Fitness classes that meet there. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg also offers several sessions throughout the summer. If you’re feeling independent, you can rent a board from Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort and flow on your own. As SUP and SUPY become more popular, I anticipate more opportunities in the Louisville area.