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North Island Kayak

 

It’s officially fall! Football is blaring from every television. The kids are back in school. Coffee, beer, muffins, and even yogurt (does anyone buy that?) are all of a sudden flavored with pumpkin spice. You might be tempted to slip on some stretchy pants, retire your bikini for the year, and let your leg hair grow out. Resist that urge.

 

Where I live, the tourists are gone. The people who take their boats out on the water all summer long are now at home or a nearby bar screaming at the TV (you know the football players and coaches can’t hear you, right?). This is a perfect time to hit the waterways, enjoy the mild weather, and try something active that makes you feel so much better about life than a pumpkin beer ever will. I’m talking, of course, about my newest obsession (and most definitely one of the biggest trends in yoga today) stand up paddleboard yoga (or SUP yoga).

 

 

Here are 6 reasons to get out there and give it a go (or do it again!) stat:

1. Perfect weather. Summer might be over, but this is when things get really lovely here in the Lowcountry. Take advantage of it. Get outside. Try something new. Watch dolphins swim by you. There’s something about being out in nature that can bring you right into the present moment—which is what yoga is all about anyway. Breathe it all in while you still can.

 

2. Change up your workout. You don’t have to be a yoga student (or have experience with water sports) to appreciate SUP yoga as practice to help you get fit. You’ll learn to use your core in a whole new way, you’ll work muscles you didn’t know you had, and you’ll also have the opportunity to stretch it all out, which feels like a million bucks. And you don’t even know you’re working.

 

3. Have fun and gain confidence. If you’ve never been out on the water, paddleboarding looks a little daunting. But once you get your sea legs, you’ll realize that you can do it! And you’ll be able to do more yoga on the board than you think, too. Many of my students share with me that they’re sure they’ll fall overboard and make a complete fool of themselves, but I think most have been pleasantly surprised at what they’re able to accomplish during the lesson.

 

4. Find a new way to flow. If you’re already a yoga student, you’ll be amazed at how much concentration and core strength it takes to flow from pose to pose on a Stand Up Paddleboard. It’s a fun challenge--right up there with balancing in Handstand. You’ll love it!

 

5. It’s much healthier than baking. The holidays are coming, and you know what that means: Rushing around in shopping malls, annoying holiday music, and baking (or, if you’re like me, buying baked goods… pumpkin spice muffin, anyone?)

 

6. The practice is a beautiful reminder of one of my favorite quotes... “You are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” —Rumi

 

Want to try? Here are a few places that offer it right here in the Lowcountry:

- Charleston Paddler. Classes most evenings starting at 6 p.m. on Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant. $25. Call (843) 813-0655 to reserve your spot. (I teach on Wednesdays—come say hi!)

- Ocean Fitness. Misty Lister leads SUP Yoga Fit classes at 10 a.m. at the Isle of Palms Marina. $28. More information here

- Charleston SUP Safaris. Available for private SUP Yoga lessons on Folly River. For more information visit their site