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Is Paddleboard Yoga the Next Yoga Trend?

July 20, 2011

The surging popularity of yoga in mainstream culture has created many offshoots: There’s acroyoga (yoga + acrobatics), yogalates (yoga + pilates), and laughter yoga (self-explanatory) for instance. While some of these marriages make sense, others are quite unconventional, like antigravity yoga, which involves practicing yoga in a giant sling while dangling above the floor.

The newest cool trend we’ve heard, though, is the practice of yoga while floating on water.

Paddleboard yoga classes have been popping up around the country, in states like Florida, Washington and California. The practice combines yoga poses with stand-up paddleboarding, a sport that involves kneeling or standing on an oversized surfboard and using a paddle to move across the water. Fans of paddleboard yoga say they love the serenity and challenge of practicing yoga on a floating board. Read on and let us know what you think about this ethereal new trend.

From The Seattle Times:

“Just like regular yoga is for everyone, so too is yoga on a paddleboard. It’s nice to have a little smidgen of awareness of where your body is in space. But that’s not totally necessary because you can gain that in 2.2 seconds after jumping on board,” said [Seattle surf shop] WASUP yoga instructor Hasna Atry.

This new way of finding your inner chakra stems from the growing popularity of paddleboarding. Followers of paddleboarding point to Hawaii as the source of the activity, in which a person stands or kneels on an oversized surfboard and uses long paddles to move through the water. It’s not uncommon to see people on boards paddling the Puget Sound or area lakes, even in the dead of a Seattle winter, donning full body wetsuits.

Someone, somewhere, figured out that paddleboards are big enough to hold a person doing the cobra pose. And the practice has spread. There are now paddleboard yoga classes in at least Florida, California, Hawaii and Washington.

In Atry’s two-hour class, participants get a quick lesson on paddleboarding before they head to the water, where they tie to a buoy. She leads the class from her board, floating in front of them. Participants line their boards up next to each other.

She starts slow, with breathing exercises before moving on to the more difficult stretches.

Atry said she has modified some of the yoga postures to account for the added challenge of balancing on a board.

Wetsuits are optional, but recommended on the days it’s not hot enough to warm the cool waters. Prices for the classes range from $23 for a single class to $325 for a month of unlimited classes. Atry said the surf shop plans to continue classes until early fall, and take a break once winter arrives.

There have been many people new to yoga and paddleboarding trying out her class, Atry said.

“Often times they’ll go into the water tentatively, especially if it’s their first time on a board, but it’s so neat to see them jump on the board and paddle back without problem at all, having been through inversions, balancing and stretching on the board.”

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