This week I took my first Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga class. Here in the Quad Cities Indigo Wellness Studios has started a SUP yoga program. Owners Abby and Shannon have several trained instructors and personally teach SUP yoga classes. Here is the link to their Flow SUP program.
I had been on a paddleboard one other time on a windy day and had a hard time finding my balance on the board. Last night I was feeling pretty good, the water was calm, there was little wind and once I got my balance to stand I did just fine paddling to the yoga spot. We met at West Lake Park in Davenport, IA which Wade and I had never been to.
The class plus the paddleboard rental was $23 and we were on the water for about 90 minutes, a fair price for a great experience, plus no hassle with trying to bring a paddleboard with. Indigo has recently purchased a van they can use to transport their boards to-and-from different sites.
After Shannon launched us he gave us instructions on how to stand up on the board keeping weight evenly on the left and right side of the center handle and pressing into the board as we stood. We paddled about 10 minutes to a quiet spot on the lake where our class took place. We didn’t have anchors, and I think next time that would help, but for the most part we stayed out of the reeds. We started with a meditation in Balasana, Child’s Pose and moved to table top where we flowed through Cat/Cow poses. Downward Facing Dog felt really good on the board and after a few rounds of Plank to Chaturanga to UpDog I was feeling pretty good on my board. I had to occasionally pull my paddle out and aim my board out of the reeds, but it was shallow enough I could push off the bottom of the lake.
Our next series of poses involved moving from a low lunge, which would be fairly easy on a mat in a studio, but on a board took some getting used to, through a Warrior 1 all the way to Revolved Triangle. Increasing in difficulty meant focusing even more on a steady point with my eyes and using my legs and feet to maintain balance. I managed to stay on my board for the whole class, but Wade took a tumble a few times. Our next challenge was an arm balance, Shannon gave a Baby Crow option or a full Bakasana, I attempted and managed to hold Bakasana for several breaths and even landed my Eka Pada Koundinyasana II. We closed with some seated postures while Shannon attempted to give adjustments with his oar, which was mostly hilarious, although he was able to adjust Wade’s right knee in Baddha Konasana.
We finished with backbends, I was able to do Bridge and Wheel and Shoulderstand to Halasana. We spent several minutes floating on the water in Savasana which was very calming and tranquil with the sounds of nature all around us. After class we paddled back through deeper water where I tried my first headstand on a Paddleboard, surprisingly I had quite a bit of control and felt very comfortable being upside down. It helped that the weather was cooperating too. I thoroughly enjoyed my first class and am hoping to attend another before the season ends, or just go rent a board and try some poses on my own.
If there are classes in your area and you are nervous to try, give it a shot, it’s actually really fun, and for someone who loves to look at the water but gets nervous when it gets too deep I actually felt really confident and safe. My teacher was confident and provided plenty of variations for postures and the Savasana at the end with the sunset and the sound of the water and the birds was magic!
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