The idea of doing yoga on a surf board in the middle of the ocean may seem like a frivolous fad but practicing SUP yoga may be one of the best ways to reinvigorate a jaded outlook on life.
I spent two years being in a ‘yoga rut.’ Two of my main teachers got called out on ‘questionable’ ethics. My entire yoga world collapsed.
My practice, teaching and outlook on life felt stale and cynical.
It wasn’t until I walked out into the ocean with my SUP board that I began to rebuild my enthusiasm. After my first child’s pose, I knew I had found my ultimate ‘guru.’
Getting super fit and having fun may not be the only advantages you’ll encounter when you take up SUP yoga.
You may also find yourself going through such life-enhancing changes as:
Becoming more authentic.
Practicing out in the ocean can bring an element of unpredictability that pushed me to exceed my self-imposed limitations of what yoga should look like. By constantly shifting and adjusting to the environment, I realized that nothing can be constant or controlled. It was all about my contribution to the big picture. And I could do it in my own inimitable way.
Learning the value of stillness.
The transition between walking on land to paddling out to sea is sublime. Silence arrives almost instantaneously and it becomes easy to still the mind and be present.
That’s usually when the ocean’s grace gets handed to me.
The reflection of the sun, the sea turtle swimming beneath my board, the leaping tropical fishes and the cheeky dugong poking its nose out of the water.
In a world where being busy is worn like a badge of honour, taking a break from ‘productivity’ is seen as a guilty indulgence. Yet every time I return from one of my ‘escapades’ I am refreshed, rejuvenated and more grateful for everything I have in my life.
I realize that getting away from it all “isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.”
Learning how to lighten up.
Falling is a given in SUP yoga. It is a great time to laugh at myself and sometimes at others. It shows me that if I want to keep growing, I need to let go of my ego. Acknowledging flaws with gentle lightheartedness allows me to call my mistakes ‘a work in progress’ instead of something I have failed at.
Forming creative connections with others.
Doing SUP yoga is a great activity to do with friends or even potential business partners. People disconnect from their phones and connect with each other’s core values instead.
SUP yoga is the type of activity that unites people from all walks of life, so there is an element of a shared purpose and adventure.
Taking part in SUP yoga gave me the chance to connect with diversity. I have been out with people who were complete strangers to each other but ended up forming great collaborations in work and play.
When people meet others whose talents complement each other they are able to create something better and bigger than if they were to do it alone.
Spending more time outdoors tends to encourage us to become more environmentally conscious.
Being a first hand witness to effects of pollution to marine life, it was hard for me to remain apathetic to the harm humans inflict on nature. Styrofoam sand, dying coral gardens, turtles caught up in fishing ropes, increased algae growth, oil spills, dead fish. All heartbreaking sights.
I became compelled to acknowledge that when it comes to saving the environment, there can be no compromise and no time-wasting.
SUP Yoga may be seem to be a gimmick sport to some, it has really rocked my boat. Try it and let me know how you go!
Author: Kathy Adam
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: via the author