by Kimberly Notarianni
Our diverse team is part of the passionate Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) movement -taking our exciting sport to new extremes. At OC Paddleboard we race, practice PaddleYoga, get an amazing workout in our PaddleFit classes, and explore the waterways of the region on our boards. We believe in sharing the SUP stoke and Aloha with our families and with the community.
The sport of Stand Up Paddling (SUP) has really taken off. It seems everyone these days is enjoying, or would like to experience, the feeling of “walking on water.” SUP is all the rage, and for good reason. It is an amazing cross-training sport, as it is low impact on all joints and is also being used to improve balance and core strength for people recovering from serious injuries. I have also witnessed this sport transform people’s lives overnight, by instilling a newfound level of confidence and achievement, making them feel invincible. So true!
For me, being a yoga teacher first and foremost, as soon as I got on a paddleboard six years ago, I was inspired to start playing with yoga postures while floating on the water. The deck of the board was the perfect non-slip yoga mat, just begging to be explored! Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Chaturanga, Up Dog, ah… and the upside down view as I dropped my head into Downward Dog was magical. More and more that first summer on my board, I was inspired to try lots of different poses, including headstand and wheel, and other more challenging balancing postures. Adding a whole new element of core strength, intense focus, and single-pointed concentration, SUP yoga takes the practice to an entirely new level. Add to that being outside, in nature, on the water, and it is truly like heaven on earth.
Anyone can begin practicing yoga postures on a paddleboard, especially in flat water. If you are new to SUP in general, begin to play around (don’t be afraid to fall in!) with the distribution of weight in your feet. Begin to feel your board, and all boards are different. Shift your weight from foot to foot and allow the board to rock a little from side to side. We are told as we are learning to find that sweet spot on the board (usually right around the handle of the board, or if there is a logo on the rails) and that is the best place to stand to balance on the board. But begin to also feel how you can walk the board a bit more, moving more towards the nose, or more towards the back. The easiest poses to start with will be sitting or kneeling. From there, you can start to transition to some symmetrical poses such as plank, downward dog, camel pose, and others. Try a sequence on land first, then take it out onto your board! Remember — have fun, be creative, and don’t be afraid to get wet! You can’t expect yourself to have a full transformation, but instead it’s “a toe testing out the waters.” you are given the permission to let loose. To be free from the pressures of society. To be who you think you are. To try new things. In new surroundings, completely and utterly supported by everyone around us. Like attracts like. It’s a time and place where we come together with like minded and like hearted people to explore. To view an alternative way of life. Of thinking. Of prioritizing.
I think that’s why SUP yoga is so enticing to these souls. Because on the water everything is left on the beach or at the dock. Cell phones. Stability. Corporate world. Land yoga. Societal pressures. Worldly constrains. Materialism.
On the water you are totally unplugged from the made up world, and are reconnected to the universe. You are totally present. Not worried about what you’re wearing or what you look like. Not worried about posting status updates. Not trying to get to the next email. You’re immediately taught to let go of your rigid walls and allowed to truly flow with the earth’s energy. And it’s through that oneness with the earth’s natural flow, that we are present. That we realize how connected we all universally are.
If you are unsure about trying this on your own, at OC Paddleboard we offer several PaddleYoga Classes during the weekend and one during the week to accommodate your busy schedule and you will be able to enjoy the best things sumer has to offer. Morning Sunshine. Magnificent Sunsets. Lovely sailboats and yachts. Giant smiles. Sunshine hugs and smooth waters. Love for the outdoors, in all capacities. Health. Wellness. A celebration of being alive. And truly living this life to its fullest capacity. An attempt to let go of all the crazy mainstream world. Here we can focus more on what is actually important. The well being of our mind, body, and spirit.
Come out and join us for this once in a life time experience! You can jump on board with OC Paddleboard every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday this summer at Seaview Harbor Marina in Longport, NJ. Sign up for a 10am class with a focus on PaddleYoga, Zen & Fun! We also offer a Tuesday evening class at 5:30pm. Check out our website at ocpaddleboardnj.com for upcoming SUP yoga classes this summer. Pre-registration is required on our website or by calling the shop at least 3 hours in advance of all classes. We are excited to offer these classes and invite you to keep checking for more announcements about our Ocean City program offerings. Whether you are looking for a long weekend at the shore or to bring a group of friends together to try a PaddleYoga practice, the team at OC Paddleboard will make you feel at home and provide you with a top notch experience.