Paddleboard yoga stands venerable practice on its head, on water

Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:52am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Move over hot, flying and spinning yoga. Paddleboard yoga is the latest trend to stand the ancient practice of breath control, body postures and movement on its head - this time on a surfboard surrounded by water.

Fitness experts and enthusiasts say classes for waterborne yoga, which is also known as Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) hone balance, focus concentration and lure exercisers who prefer open air to overheated studios.

“People tell me it’s like walking on water,” said paddleboard racer and yoga instructor Gillian Gibree, who has been teaching Paddleboard Yoga since 2009.

The instructor and trained lifeguard said first timers begin with a water safety demonstration on dry land before going on to water, where even the simplest yoga postures can take on an added intensity.

“On the board, even plank (a foundational push-up pose) is a challenge,” she said. “Everything is slowed down because it takes much longer to keep your balance.”

Because the board is unstable, different muscle groups are fired, said Gibree, who has floated her practice on rivers, bays and even oceans, although she usually teaches on flat water.

“It works a lot on balance and you have to find your drishti (yoga’s focused gaze) on the board,” she said. “It’s a total body workout.”

SUP Yoga joins two ancient traditions. The modern SUP sport originated in Hawaii in the 1950s and 1960s, but stand up paddle boarding dates back thousands of years, to ancient fisherman from Polynesia to Peru.   Continued...

A model demonstrates a "Pigeon Pose" during a Paddleboard Yoga demonstration in San Deigo Bay, California in this May 2014  handout photo provided by Shadow Van Houten on October 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Shadow Van Houten/Handout via Reuters