You see it everywhere. Yoga Photo Porn. That’s right – I said it. Pictures of said yogi’s doing amazing things such as touching their feet to their head in floor bow while in a bikini- thanks to Photoshop. Now it is happening in SUP yoga. Everything from scorpion pose to dancer pose while un-leased in a middle of the water chock full of boats, watercrafts, etc. While it is fun to challenge our balance on an uneven surface, it is also wise to proceed with caution and safety first.
Start with just showing up prepared.
Most states encourage a life jacket on your board, but the US Coast Guard require it. Even though most boards are essentially a PFD, they are too big and awkward to be YOUR personal flotation device in a dire time of need.
Leash it up, especially in the case of going down the river or just going anywhere. You may not plan on falling off but it does happen. You don’t want to swim forever trying to retrieve your board. Perhaps a wave from a boat comes out of no-where or let’s not think about this one too long, but maybe you faint or something knocks you off your rocker. You will be tethered to a giant PFD and someone will be more apt to find you quicker.
Leggo of Ego
That’s it, drop it like its hot. Drop that ego. The advice I was given when starting yoga was quite simply: show up and suck In the case of SUP yoga, show up and be ready to swim.
Doesn’t feel right to have the word yoga and goddess in the same sentence. Buzzfeed published their ‘23 Steps to Becoming a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga Goddess“. I’m not going to lie, I love to practice a headstand on my board in the middle of my hometown lake. However, it has taken me years to get to this point through a daily practice and a firm awareness of my surroundings. Besides fish, one never knows what is under that water. A rock could show up on the day you may fall in. No one wants you to end your practice with hitting your head on a rock.
So start by showing up on land, take in your surroundings and pay mind to your safety – now stand up for you and your practice.
Spring into summer, warm weather is finally here. The peepers are out, dandelions are popping and the lawn can wait to be mowed until after the first paddleboard sessions are over!
Movie down the St. Croix
First thing is first – get the car relay situated. One car at the end point and the other with the paddleboards at launch.
Launching from the Log House Landing, just outside of Scandia, MN we started our paddle down the St. Croix. Although the wind was fierce (15 mile gusts) in some spots, we were not going to let that stop us. The weather was ripe and there wasn’t a boat in site. For a little over two hours we made our way slowly down the river, traversing into some flooded treed areas. Typically the sides of the river are peppered with sandy beaches but not this time of year with spring’s high current.
But this trip, we even had to portage across a few downed logs. Felt like a bit of modern day Huck Finn (and not a Band of Robbers ). Oh there is really nothing like getting out and letting the flow of the water take you down stream, while the wind is fighting to parasail you back. The balance you strike is in the strength of your paddle strokes, shield of the trees and the breathe to keep you going. Exhilarating.
After about 5 miles, we docked right by the Mill Stream in Marine. Normally on a hot summer day, that is the siting of many an ice cream cone from ‘The Scoop’. A little too early in the season for that. We hiked our paddleboards up the hill and had to settle for a nice cold Farm Girl from The Brookside before our car relay return. Life is good.
One paddle board and one paddle. Just add water. Paddle to the rhythm of your heart beat. Mix it up with some flow yoga, adding a dash of salamba sirasana .
Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, Stand-up Paddleboarding floated centuries ago but SUP Yoga is still very much in the making The Future is here. The creation of SUP Yoga is still underway in most places. And most definitely, it is evolving here in Minnesota.
Any given day (ah-hem between July – October) on the lake or river here in MN end in queries like this:
“OMG, I love this – I want to buy a board, which one is the best?” – starry eyed student
“When is your next class?” –paddler with a smile
Keeping in mind that we are in the last throws of the lows being above freezing point and paddling will be limited over the next few months, I wish to offer a simple reply.. ‘the board that is right for YOU, keep practicing yoga on and off the water’.
Meanwhile… stay tuned for SUP yoga updates from the non-frozen parts of the world and the exciting new release Rave Cross-fit board I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of (releasing Spring 2016).