Yoga isn’t relaxing. You sit your stiff, inflexible body on the floor then force it into bizarre positions, whilst someone dictates when to breathe and you try not to get stuck or fall on your face. Yet the suggestion of doing it on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with SurfSUPfityoga and Lululemon, where the struggle to stay up-right or down-dog would be even greater, seemed to be the recipe for bliss. There’s something I find so relaxing about water – waves licking rocks, ripples kissing jetties and buoys bobbing in satisfaction – if there was ever a moment I’d finally relax into yoga, it would be now.
With my bum pointed to the sky, hands white from gripping the board as wake from a passing boat threatened to knock us off balance, you wouldn’t have known I was relaxed but my love of water made me feel comfortable. Knowing that there was a softer surface below gave me the confidence to try poses I’d normally avoid. Besides a foam pit, what could cushion a failed attempt at crow better than water? No, it won’t be subtle – the splashes and splutters (and squelches after reaching land) will ensure the whole class and anyone watching would know I fell in – but at least I’d get to keep all my teeth! As our instructor quickly pointed out, the only thing that happens if you fall in is you get wet.
The boards were far more stable than I’d predicted and each was clipped onto a buoy so we didn't drift down the river. The few little wobbles I had only shook out a few laughs and also helped to relax my mind – rather than worrying about not being able to hold the poses, I was just pleased to not have gone for an unintentional swim. I only realised how much the extra balancing had worked my core when I woke up the next day with achey abs. No matter how relaxing I found the session, it definitely still had the benefit of a full workout.
The one part of a yoga class I've mastered, is savasana. There's something freeing about lying on the floor with your eyes closed until you forget where you are and the gentle movement of the river just helped to rock me into an almost sleep – my body dreamed of tropical beaches, bath-warm oceans and piña coladas. I'd found my yoga zen.
If you fancy finding your aqua zen, find out more information on the SurfSUPfityoga Facebook page here.