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Want to take your yoga practice to new places? How about the water? With SUP Yoga—yoga that takes place on the water, on top of a stand-up paddle board (SUP)—you get a core workout and the chance to add the relaxing component of the water to yoga.
Janell Mace, an instructor at the Woodbury CorePower Yoga & Spa, has some things that everyone should know before trying SUP Yoga. She helped set the world record for the largest SUP Yoga class, when 313 individuals took her class at the Northern Paddle, Music & Lights Festival on August 13.
Women’s Running: Do you have to have tried SUP before you do SUP Yoga?
Janell Mace: Absolutely not! Beginners are welcome to try SUP Yoga. You do not have to have practiced yoga prior to trying SUP Yoga. There are plenty of modifications available easily allowing SUP Yoga to accommodate beginners!
WR: What should you know before your first class?
JM: It’s important to know the basics of paddling, which we go over prior to actually getting on the boards (it’s basic paddling techniques, like how to stand and where to stand on the board—staying on your knees is always an option, too!). Additionally, it’s also important that you know how to swim and are not afraid of the water! Falling in is half the fun!
WR: Should you have any specific yoga poses mastered before you try SUP yoga?
JM: It’s not necessary to have any yoga postures mastered prior to trying SUP Yoga. All you really need is the desire to try and be open to falling into the water if you lose your balance. It happens to everyone at some point in time—even advanced yogis and/or paddlers!
WR: What is a typical class like?
JM: Typical classes can range anywhere from 75-90 minutes. Usually in the beginning, before even getting on the boards, we go over how to hold the paddle, different paddling techniques, how and where to stand on board as well as the offering the option to stay on the knees if you aren’t yet comfortable standing all the way up. We then do a short 15 minute warm-up paddle to the destination where the yoga class is held. We then drop anchors to organize the floating classroom and begin the class.
The format of the class is be very similar to a class on land, starting with integration and warming up then moving through Sun A and Sun B flows. Then we play with a bit of balancing as well as some inversions for those willing to try! After, we slow the class down and go through a surrender series and finally make our way to Savasana. Once the class has come to an end, students are given an opportunity to try have some free time to play with the postures as well as try other ones that weren’t taught in the class and then we close out with an easy paddle in. By the end of class all students tend to have a higher level of confidence and are feeling really great about their SUP Yoga class.