Waves rocking you slowly side to side, birds chirping, children laughing, and the sticky salt air on your skin, all while you wiggle your toes and fingers in the cool water. We’re almost at the end of our stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga session and our instructor Kelsey has us in the “corpse pose” lying flat on your back on huge paddle boards while you tune into your body and slowly start to relax and unwind. You become aware of all that surrounds you.
There’s nothing quite like SUP yoga, you’re using muscles you don’t normally use and have to focus intently on your balance, becoming very aware of how well the teeny muscles in your feet can grasp onto things. I’ve been on the search for something new in fitness that would take me out of my comfort zone and this was a perfect match.
I’ve never stood on a surfboard, I know, how embarrassing for a Hawaii-born-and-raised resident! But, as we chat before class, I’m not the only one and we’re safely tethered to the ocean floor with anchors so we won’t drift off. Another friendly mom arrived with her husband and son (who laughed at her from the shoreline). She admitted she’s also been dying to try this and was sure she’d fall off the board many times as she’s never been surfing. A few other young, fit visitors from Florida were trying to do more difficult moves toward the end when Kelsey, our instructor, asked if anyone wanted to try a headstand or back bend. A few were able to almost get a headstand in and some of the visitors try to hold hands and do a modified tree pose.
All in all, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. This was a beginner class where most knew basic yoga moves, but it’s not necessary to enjoy yourself and try it out. Balance is hard to achieve and some of the most young and fit participants struggled even more so than older ones. You’d be surprised at what you can do once you’re out on the water. I managed to carefully plow through the moves. It made me realize how much I have to work on my balance and flexibility.
Kelsey, founder of Yoga Floats and our yogi for the day gave great advice, “Just fall in. It’s better to just get it over with and take the risk of really trying each yoga move out, and you might surprise yourself with what you can do.” She built this business as a fun way to combine her love of yoga and the ocean, and feels the class fits just about anyone. “I’ve had my dad come out and fall a lot. We’ve had kids have a blast since they’re so little it’s easier for them to balance, and they can really do a lot on such a big board. We’ve had older people and those who fear the water come give it a try. They end up loving it since it’s something different from a traditional yoga class. It’s fun and the more adventurous you are and just let go, the more you get out of it,” she said.