296 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
be doing every crazy pose that you can
pull off on the ground,” Edsall says. “The
poses are more basic or modified on the
boards. But you can still throw in balancing poses, headstands.”
WHEN D’AGUIAR teaches yoga
in a studio, she cautions students about
what she calls “monkey mind,” when your
thoughts start to wander away from the
mat. It’s different on the water: Students
can’t get too distracted or they might lose
“There’s nothing you can do on that
board without focusing,” Riggins says.
“Otherwise, you’re going over sideways.
It’s humbling in a really good way.”
The result of all that balancing is a
challenging core workout. “The first few
times, I was a little sore from the SUP
yoga because you’re using different mus-
cles, and it’s a lot harder to do yoga on a
board than it is in the studio,” says Laura
Kelleher of Bethesda, who started practicing yoga in 2007 and has taken several
SUP yoga classes.
D’Aguiar calls the mix of SUP yoga participants a “cool cross-contamination of
interests,” and she’s even seen romances
blossom among paddlers and yogis
who’ve taken her classes. Some yogis go
on to more SUP instruction, while paddlers may decide to pursue studio yoga.
Frank Cook of Germantown, an
avid stand-up paddleboarder who also
teaches the sport, had only taken one
yoga class before trying SUP yoga. “I
was trying to look around and see what
other people were doing because I wasn’t
clear on what the poses are,” Cook says.
He liked SUP yoga’s full-body workout so
much that he now takes hot yoga classes
in a studio.
Once students have finished the poses
for the day, they lie down just as they
would in a studio. “Being on the water, and
being able to dip your hands in the water if
you want to for savasana and hearing the
birds and the nature around you, it gives
you the opportunity to go a little deeper
with your meditation at the end than you
would get in a studio class,” Edsall says.
For some, having to carve out a couple
hours in the day makes SUP yoga more of
a special outing than a regular workout.
Others come a few times a month. No
two classes are alike, and the surprises
can be memorable.
Kelleher recalls paddling back to shore
and spotting a family of Canada geese.
“The parents got separated from some of
the babies, and everybody stopped and
just waited,” she says. “These cute little
baby geese just swam in front of us, and
then they were reunited with their parents. It was a nice moment.” n
Kathleen Seiler Neary of Kensington
is a freelance writer whose work has
appeared in The Washington Post and
Parenting, among other publications.
Classes end in savasana, or total relaxation,
with students lying flat on an inflatable
paddleboard instead of a mat.