by Sing Weist
Love yoga and paddle boarding? Then SUP Yoga is perfect for you. It is the complete combination of both. SUP Yoga stands for stand up paddleboard yoga. At first glance, it is slightly intimidating because balancing on a paddle board and doing yoga separately has its own challenges. However, similar to yoga, you are always working on bettering you practice. One of the best places to sign up for SUP Yoga for the first time is with Ventura Pop Up Yoga. These classes are in partnership with the City of Ventura and it is a full 90 minutes of strength, stability, and mental focus, all while balancing on a paddleboard. Prior to class, some items to bring are water, disposable sunglasses that you do not mind losing if they fall into the water, a waterproof hat that will shade you from the sun, yoga attire, towel in case you fall in, a change of clothes, and sunscreen.
The class takes place at Leo Robbins Community Sailing Center, right near the water’s edge of Marina Park. Once you drive into Marina Park, the 15-acre oceanfront park, you already know that your practice will be breathtaking. You are surrounded by trees, the sandy beach, boats, kayaks, and fishermen. While walking up to the Sailing Center, you immediately exhale and breathe in the relaxing environment that surrounds you, and you know that you will have a peaceful and enjoyable practice.
When you walk down to the water’s edge, you eagerly wait for the paddle boards to be set-up. While waiting, you soak in the stunning scenery; the sun sparkling atop the water, boats rocking against the deck, and the chirping of birds in the park. The boards and paddles are stored in a shed, which is locked up when you head out, which allows you to put your belongings in the shed prior to paddling out. The SUP yoga instructor is patient, knowledgeable, and great in guiding first-timers to feel confident and excited to hop on their paddleboards.
The paddleboards are set-up and you are ready to go! As a first-timer, the hardest part of SUP Yoga is finding balance. You slowly paddle away from the dock, while kneeling, and as you feel more secure with the weight of the board, you slowly stand up and begin paddling out. Similar to the road, we paddle on the right side of the water; therefore, we do not get in the way of kayakers and boats. During the 20 minutes of paddling, you get a great arm workout while soaking up the sunshine. You begin to gather confidence with your balance and feel more secure in maneuvering your board right and left while speeding up.
After paddling around the marina, the class anchors their paddleboards near the dock. This is when you breathe through your practice and bring awareness to your core, balance, stability, and yoga intention. Unlike regular yoga on the ground, much of your attention is breathing through finding balance and giving your mind and body the patience it needs to flow through the movements. Although individuals might fall in, students often say that after they fall, they feel more confident to challenge themselves for more balance movements since they are already wet. Don’t be afraid to fall in! It is actually very refreshing on a hot day. When it is finally Shavasana, give yourself into the rocking of the paddleboard beneath you. Let the cool water trickle between your fingers, and bask in the sunshine kissing your face and shoulders. Know that you are stronger now than when you first arrived.
SUP Yoga is a playful practice that integrates yoga and stand-up paddle boarding while allowing you to be outdoors in sunny Ventura! If you are looking to expand your yoga practice, try POP SUP YOGA with Ventura Pop Up Yoga. Once you try your first class, you will be eager to sign-up for the next one!