SUP Yoga - Bridge Pose

I remember signing up for Carly Hayden’s indoor SUP yoga class way back in February, a week before I started my yoga teacher training at CorePower Yoga. I knew ahead of time that as part of my 60-yoga class graduation requirement for CorePower Yoga, I’d need to take three yoga classes outside of CPY. I ended up taking a couple extra outside classes during my training. What can I say? I really love yoga, all different kinds of it! The outside CPY yoga classes I took during training included a Bikram Yoga class, Yin Yoga class, yoga snowshoe hike, YogaMosa at Bluewater Distilling and Carly’s SUP yoga class through Catalyst Yoga.

I love SUP, (stand up paddleboarding) and figured if I combined two things I love, yoga + SUP, it would make for a really awesome experience. I was right! Even though I took Carly’s SUP yoga class in April, the water was plenty warm because class was held at a heated, indoor pool, at Forest Park Swim Center in Everett. It’s the perfect way to get your SUP yoga fix up here in the PNW, while it’s still a bit cold outside. After one class, I was hooked on SUP yoga. Here’s why…

Our class began with Carly giving us a couple of demonstrations. First, she showed us how to get on the SUP boards inside the pool and hook them up on the two ropes with a carabineer attached on each side. This would help prevent us from floating away. I wondered how we’d all be able to stay in one place during class. Mystery solved!

The second demonstration was Carly showing us how to move into a couple of the postures we’d be doing in class on the boards. Just like you might imagine, moving into standing postures like Warrior II and Triangle on a SUP board are a completely different experience than doing them on land. Granted, both of these postures are plenty challenging on land, but when you’re standing on a SUP board in the water, you add the element of possibly falling into the water if you don’t have your balance right. So for those of us who don’t want to fall in the water during class, there are some modifications one needs to make for any standing posture done on a SUP board.

After the demonstrations, it was time to party. We each took turns getting on our boards and paddling out to hook them up, one person at a time. As soon as the last person was set up, Carly paddled out on her board and set up right in front of all of us. We all stood up on our board and proceeded to warm up with a few rounds of Sun Salutation A –with postures like Mountain, Backbend, Forward Fold, Half-Way Lift, High Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Facing Dog and Downward Facing Dog. You haven’t truly done a Downward Facing Dog until you’ve done it on a SUP board. Shaky? Yes. At least the first couple of times were for me. Once you get the hang of the movement and balance though, it’s quite awesome.

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There were many times during Carly’s class this morning when I was screaming in my head about how excited I was to be doing yoga on a SUP board in the middle of a pool. It was during one of those many moments when I realized one of my yoga callings: I want to teach SUP yoga in the very near future. I’m sure I had a huge, dorky smile on my face during the entire class. Class hadn’t even ended yet and I knew I was hooked.

By the time we got to postures like Warrior II and Hot Triangle, Carly cued the modifications she showed us on land before class. I tried to stand up on my feet for both of the postures, but I couldn’t quite get my balance right. If I had pushed myself to stand up, I would have ended up in the water. For those of us balance-challenged, Carly cued options to do both of these postures on our knees. Trust me, even on the knees, these postures were still super challenging. Towards the end of class, we did Wheel pose and then wrapped up class in a nice, long and very satisfying Savasana.

My only concern for taking the SUP Yoga class this morning was that I would be the one person who’d fall in the water during class. Just to be prepared, I wore pool-friendly clothing during class – running shorts and a tank top, both made of fast drying material. Not one person fell in the pool during class and even if someone did, no big deal. We would have all clapped and cheered them on anyways. Yoga is supposed to be fun, especially when you do it on a SUP board in the water.

After class, we had a chance to snap a couple pictures of each of us striking our favorite yoga pose from the morning’s class. I got one of me doing a Downward Facing Dog and nailed the Bridge pose I didn’t have the courage to try during class. One woman rocked the Standing Bow on her board, but ended up falling into the water quickly after getting into the pose. Kudos to her for even attempting a one legged standing pose on the board. She got a ton of awesome points from me.

Have questions about SUP yoga? Carly does a great job answering any questions you might have about taking a SUP yoga class. Check out her FAQ page here.

Curious and interested in trying SUP Yoga yourself? You should totally give it a whirl. You just might fall in love with it like I did! Carly offers indoor classes at both Forest Park Aquatic Center in Everett and Snohomish Aquatic Center in Snohomish. Both pools are heated! She also teaches SUP Yoga outdoors in Mukilteo during the summer months. Check out Carly’s schedule here to sign up for a class.

Class #44, SUP Yoga with Carly, Catalyst Yoga at Forest Park Aquatic Center (Outside Class-6)

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