On Monday night, I finally tried something I’ve been wanting to try for a really long time: SUP Yoga! It’s exactly what it sounds like: yoga… but on a Stand Up Paddleboard. Cool, right?!
I saw awhile ago that Key Bridge Boathouse offers SUP Yoga classes a couple days a week for $35 a pop – pricey, but I decided it was worth it. My friends and I signed up for the beginner SUP Yoga class, got pumped, and then, every Monday night, just before go time, it stormed. This seriously went on for weeks, until finally this week we had the first clear Monday night in ages. It was worth the wait. What a beautiful night!
A woman named Jane of Ebb+Flow Yoga was instructing our SUP Yoga class and I liked her immediately. The perfect mix of enthusiastic and upbeat but with a nice yogi zen vibe going on, too. Apparently she also teaches at Studio DC – I’ll have to check out one of her classes there!
There were about 10 of us, including me and my friends Kathleen and Ashley, there on Monday night for the 6:30 p.m. adventure.
We began with an overview of SUP and a brief instruction on balancing on the boards from Jane, which was helpful!
And then we were off! We spent the first 10-15 minutes or so paddling south over to a spot by Roosevelt Island, where we planned to stop and anchor down for the yoga.
One thing that I hadn’t even thought of was how we would keep the boards still while we did yoga! Well, here’s how: there was a little mini anchor waiting on the back of the boards!
To anchor yourself, you (veeeeery carefully, lol) sit down, turn around so you are facing the back of the board, take off the board’s “leash” (the white cord in the photo above) that is velcroed to your ankle, and instead attach it to the anchor.
Then you loop your paddle through the cord as well, and then toss all of it in the water! Presto: you are now anchored. Cool!
Once anchored, we began our class! We started with some simple cat/cow moves, then moved into a tabletop position with our hands and knees on the board, and tried lifting opposite arms and legs (so left arm and right leg, then vice versa). It was TOUGH! I loved how doing yoga out on the water on an unstable board really made you focus on form and revisit the simplicity of some of the more basic poses that we usually breeze through in a studio. It was definitely hard to balance, but such a fun challenge!
From there, we moved on to our first downward dog. Eeek! (Those things on everyone that look like fanny packs are actually buoyant and inflatable – a life jacket substitute.)
Again, I loved that being on an unstable surface made us really slow down, focus on our breathing and our positioning, and relax into the poses. For our first downward dog, Kathleen, Ashley, and I could all see each other through our legs and started giggling – it was hard to balance, but so fun!
From there, we moved veeeeery slowly into some lunges and modified warrior poses with our knees down for stability. You really had to keep your core tight to keep steady! We asked Jane after class if people fall in a lot – and she said yep, they do! Especially in the intermediate class (which meets Wednesday nights) apparently. Our group managed to stay on our boards!
A little while later and it was time for relaxation. I can’t even describe how wonderful savasana was with the gentle movement of the water, the chirping birds, and the sky above my head. Glorious.
I can’t think of a more wonderful way to end the day. It was like a mini vacation!
By the time we lifted our anchors back up, re-attached our leashes, stood up, and started to paddle back, we were all totally blissed out and enjoying an amazing view of the sunset over the water.
This photo makes me want to jump right in to it. What a beautiful night!
In case you couldn’t tell, I give SUP Yoga a HUGE thumbs up. It was one of the most fun, relaxing but hard, and unique workouts I’ve done in quite awhile – and I already can’t wait to return. There’s just something about being out on the water, especially in the evening, that is so calming.
Have you ever tried SUP? How about SUP Yoga?