Taking paddle boarding on a deeper journey into Yoga.
Tahoe SUP ambassador Laurie Guthrie writes about her expansion into paddle boarding’s quickly growing Yoga segment.
Why I Love SUP Yoga
by Laurie Guthrie
I would be lying if I said I fell in love with Yoga instantly because truthfully, I was never really interested in it. I only took notice of Yoga after I bought my first Stand-up Paddleboard. My friend, who took me on the water for the first time hollered out, “Now, try a Downward Dog!” Well, just by osmosis I knew what that was. Only then was I hooked and from that day forward I found myself practicing yoga on SUP to improve my balance and challenge my capability.
Sharing the Love
When the opportunity arose to become a SUP Yoga Instructor it was a very organic experience for me. By then I had been paddling for two years. Even though I didn’t love Yoga, I was no stranger to running group fitness classes, so it seemed like a great way to get me out on the water more frequently.
I registered for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) with Deva Tree School of Yoga, and I figured I was on the “fast track” to teach but I never anticipated the impact it would have on my life. It became a time of introspection, personal and emotional study, and a reconciliation of many aspects of my life. For the first time ever, I was connecting in the studio with what I was only ever able to do by the water. Now, I am able to share my passion for SUP, through Yoga with others.
Take it Outside
One of the things I love about SUP Yoga is that it brings all types of people together. Some are there to try a new fitness modality, some for the love of the outdoors, or to face a fear. But I think people realize by the end of practice that it is much more than that. It’s liberating, empowering, and it aids in a kind of primal healing that best asserts itself in nature. As an instructor I have enjoyed offering a fun, less traditional practice intended to connect to the environment and tailor each student’s practice to the reasons that brought them out to begin with rather than spending our time with our eyes closed and no paddle in the water.
Falling is the fun part
Regardless of the reasons that bring people out to SUP Yoga they are all there to answer the same question! “Am I going to fall in?” It’s the most common question I get and it has become the reason I love teaching SUP Yoga the most! This one question is a parallel to life. The fear of falling off a board represents the fear of failure to do something well and yet, this is the most liberating of all SUP Yoga Vinyasas.
With this single act all fears and inhibitions are lessened and in an instant, people are doing things they never thought possible like inversions, or one legged poses. The transference of feeling is instantaneous and is incredibly empowering to the rest of the group! Soon, everyone is laughing to the sound of a splash, pushing their boundaries, and having a great time. It is an honour to witness the transformation from fear, to fearlessness of everyone who joins in, but my most profound moments are when I am alone.
Connecting to Nature
My favorite beaches close to home are on Lake Huron and that is where I go when I need time for myself. I love to paddle out in the evening toward a horizon that rivals the world’s most beautiful sunsets. I enjoy challenging the sun with salutations repeated over and over in the afternoon heat, or to stand tall in Mountain Pose, Tadasana and imagine my feet have roots that stretch to the Great Lake floor strong and self-assured like the boulders that have resided there for centuries.
Quiet moments to lay back, Savasana and feel supported on my board in the grandest of studios is my favorite. I drop my fingertips in water and mirror my breath with the rise and fall of each wave to wash away life’s pressures. These meditations are tools I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for Yoga training. For me, SUP Yoga brings peace, it heals, it empowers, liberates and revitalizes and cleanses so just let go of the fear, fall in, and instead of chanting AUM, make a splash instead!