You’ve all seen them. Those fun photos of people paddling around upright on water on these newfangled contraptions - stand up paddleboards (also known as SUPs.) How are they doing that?! As if standing on water and gliding around with the greatest of ease were not enough, now they’re doing YOGA! Yoga on paddleboards!
When she’s not teaching at Fahrenheit, Kaci Wall loves all manner of outdoor activities and watersports. She is a WPA certified paddle instructor, and a certified SUP and SUP yoga instructor and with Nashville Paddle Company. Here’s what she wants you to know about SUP, and taking your yoga to the board.
Kaci: The first thing people typically voice to me when I invite them to come try out SUP or SUP Yoga is ‘I am definitely not coordinated enough to do that - there’s no way I can stand up on a board on water!’ This reaction is completely understandable. The physics seem unreal - the idea that being so close to the water on this board can allow me to stand up and paddle around - it seems impossible! But it is possible! Really! As you can see in my picture with my own board, these things are pretty big. Most of them are close to three feet wide, and over ten feet long. They are incredibly stable. As long as you remain fluid and flow like water, just like in your yoga practice, all you have to do is stand. If you can stand in tadasana on a yoga mat, you can probably stand up on a paddleboard.
Q: But what about the yoga? I mean isn’t that just nearly impossible?
Kaci: I always tell people, if you can do a sun salutation, you can do yoga on a paddleboard. We have people come to SUP Yoga classes all the time that have never done yoga before. When we teach SUP yoga, we keep it light and fun. Practicing on the board is just like practicing on your yoga mat, and is a great way to learn where you’re ‘cheating’ in your yoga practice. You will learn very quickly if one side of the body is working more than the other, or if anything is out of balance. Most people have this huge fear of the unknown, and yoga is all about overcoming that fear and trusting yourself that you will be enough, and you will be okay, and you may even have a little fun in the process.
Q: Am I going to fall in?
Kaci: The short answer is, it really depends on whether or not you want to. If you’re trying out challenging yoga poses, or dancing and playing ukulele (oh yeah-we do that,) or having jousting matches with your SUP friends (we do that too,) there is always the possibility that you’re going in the water - but that’s the most fun! We do have people that come out to paddle that do not want to get in the water - and they just don’t. Sometimes I paddle in my street clothes, knowing that I have no intention of getting in. You don’t have to get in the water, but you are probably going to want to!”
Kaci on her SUP Yoga Practice: My favorite thing about SUP and practicing yoga on the board is having the ability to get outside of my yoga asana comfort zone, and get into nature. This is where I feel the most alive and the most at home. The paddleboard is a great place to try out new things and just have fun with it - to go up for a headstand or a forearm stand, and fall into to the water. To drop what you know, and to play with childlike freedom. I encourage everyone to drop the fear, and try it out!! Why not?
Q: Where Can I Sign Up?
Kaci teaches with Nashville Paddle Company. Nashville Paddle Company is set apart by their emphasis on safety, and their requirement that all instructors are WPA and SUP Yoga certified. Every class includes an introduction to stand-up paddling during which you will learn about the board and all the gear, how to paddle, and a variety of paddle strokes. The SUP season is about to get started in full force within the next couple of weeks, so pick a time that works for you to check it out!
Guess what – there’s more!! Kaci isn’t the only FYS teacher hitting the board. Irene Greer also teaches with Nashville Paddle Company, and Rebecca Campbell teaches for Paddle Up, another paddleboard company in town!!
The SUP season is about to get started in full force within the next couple of weeks, so pick a time and place that works for you and check it out!
To sign up for a class with Kaci, check out http://www.nashvillepaddle.com, and look for FYS group yoga SUP outings in the near future!