Before doing this Give it A Go Girl challenge, if someone had asked me what a wheel, dancer, warrior and the ocean have in common, I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea.
However, according to the team at Moana SUP, the answer is paddleboard yoga.
Paddleboard or SUP yoga is the latest fitness craze, combining the calm serenity and fluidity of yoga postures, or asana, with the added challenge of balancing on the ever-moving water.
Now, I am probably the worst person to do yoga, I’m a busy body who loves moving, I’m not so good at just being still and I tend to get the giggles at the most inappropriate times.
We arrived at Tahunanui Beach and my instructor Kelly Gill-Brydon gave me the run down. It was less than ideal conditions, windy and choppy, but in my book that means fun.
Normally SUP yoga is done first thing in the morning when it is really flat, and after a few seconds I realised why, I was wobbling before we were even anchored.
After hooking up to the buoy, we started with some sun salutations, focusing on our breathing and opening up our body, the sun was gloriously warm and it was peaceful.
Unfortunately, I broke the bliss with giggles as soon as we did the first asana.
The pose, threading the needle, consisted of me twisting underneath myself and, while it wasn’t particularly hard, for someone who has not done yoga and is not used to having their bum sticking straight up in the air, I felt comically uncoordinated and slightly self conscious.
Thus the giggles began, making unexpected appearances throughout the session.
We went through several different asanas, from the hindu squat, which I have renamed the grinning frog, table top extensions which I simply call wobbling, child’s pose, which I’ve renamed boobs on board, and the floating downward dog which should be named heads down, bums up.
At this stage it must be said that, as unfamiliar as it was, I loved every minute and had stayed on my board.
It probably wasn’t as blissful and quiet as your regular SUP yoga classes, but it was fun and I discovered I had retained some of the gymnast flexibility I had once worked so hard for.
After moving through more asanas and getting into the rhythm of things Kelly suggested we head to the shallows and put my balance and flexibility to the ultimate test with some more advanced moves. I failed miserably and fell in the water during almost every attempt at the advanced moves.
I did, however, manage a milestone, I somehow convinced my body to cooperate long enough to do my very first freestanding headstand.
To try out SUP yoga for yourself, get in touch with Kelly and the team at Moana SUP, or one of the other local companies that offer it.