One of our favorite things about living in a ski-town is the limitless amount of activities and the amount of willing participants. Normally, we would be talking about what there is to do in the winter, but the same holds true during summer. On any given day the schedule could be to go mountain biking, follow it up with a swim and finish off the day with a bbq. Or it could mean a little corn skiing in the morning, then going climbing in the afternoon. All are a great way to get out with your friends & family and enjoy your surroundings. Whether chasing the adrenaline rush or just out to explore and get some exercise the options are endless.
It’s not something new to the world, but it might be new to you. Really, it’s a combination of two disciplines. I guess one you could call a sport and the other a mind & body exercise. Having done both I was excited to see them done together. To me, it seemed impossible. The activity…Stand up paddleboard Yoga or SUP Yoga for short!
SUP isn’t new and we all know, neither is Yoga. SUP began on the beaches of Hawaii in the 60s. About 10 years ago it burst onto the scene on the mainland. One of the reasons the sport took off is because with a little skill and coordination, most are able to get going their first time out and it’s a great overall body workout. Balancing on the board is a great core and leg workout while paddling engages the arms and back.
On the other hand, Yoga has been around for quite some time. Although an exact date of its origin is unknown, archaeological evidence of its existence found in the East can be traced back to 1,500 B.C.E. Yoga made its way to the West in the 1890’s. Although there are many approaches the basic principles are physical wellness, focusing your mind and connecting with yourself and others.
A short time after hitting the mainland SUP progressed. The idea of combining the two activities was born. The board is broad and stable enough and there is plenty of room to move as though on a Yoga mat. The first thing that comes to mind is, “this will be seriously challenging.”
Hitting The Water
Right in the beginning a major emphasis is put on safety. A quality teacher will likely guide you through how to use the tools for paddling and how to remain safe on the board while paddling and practicing. Instructors have to endure hours of training and practice of Yoga, first-aid, safety, rescue and CPR. Preparation for each class requires evaluation of the water, wind and weather conditions to determine whether sessions can be held.
The general positioning on the board begins on all fours. If you’re comfortable here, then you can attempt to stand. It’s really important to know your center of balance and to remain relaxed in your knees. Lastly, beginners tend to have a death grip with their toes, so it’s key to remember to relax your feet.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Serious
The last bit of information is regarding what the experience will be like. SUP Yoga is all about fun. It’s for any and all levels of paddle boarders and Yoga practitioners. Really the only main requirement it that you’re comfortable in the water. It’s a combination of technique and fun! It’s really important not to take yourself too seriously. The last ingredients are to bring your sense of adventure and be prepared to work & play.
A Different Beast
While there is some carryover from dry land, Yoga on the water is a different beast. Postural skill is important, but it’s essential to find your balance within the two disciplines. You must live in the moment and give your all, you’ll naturally push the boundaries of what you think is possible.
As the limits expand and you’re digging deep, suddenly you lose balance… SPLASH! Trying to go for it, you take it over the edge and end up in the drink! Looking around you’ll notice it’s just smiles all around and no judgment. In fact, you joke around with your partner as you continued to practice and encourage each other. Then…splash! Another had pushed past the brink. It’s interesting to see that after a few fell, everyone around you begins to try and extend further instead of pulling back. It was as if a sense of ease came over everyone. After an hour more, you could tell that in this short period of time the group had become familiar and were really enjoying the morning.
By now all were having a great time, smiling and laughing and you could tell they felt a sense of accomplishment.
***Don’t take our word for it. See for yourself!***
Lake Tahoe Yoga
PADDLEBOARD YOGA @ LAKE TAHOE: Sign up HERE.