This weekend I organised for a small group of yoga students and I to try Yoga on Stand-up Paddle Boards (SUP) at Llandegfedd Reservoir.
The weather was perfect sunny, warm, clear skies and no wind. We parked our cars and walked down towards the reservoir we were all ‘blown away’ by the picture-perfect view. The undisturbed surface of the water beautifully reflected the sky and surrounding landscape, like a mirror. We all breathed the fresh, clean air, rich in prana and so energising. The location was perfect for the practice of yoga.
I was in full Alpha Female mode having organised our pose’ to meet, share transportation, arrive at the venue safely, sign-in and kit ourselves out with best fitting wetsuits and neoprene shoes. We all changed into our swimwear and wetsuits and received our safety brief from our instructor Kate Holly, of ‘Yoga with Kitty’ fame.
There were 13 in our group and 12 inflatable paddle boards which were lightweight and easy to carry the short journey to the water. One student shared Kate’s board. It was so warm and sunny that several of our group decided to ditch the wetsuits and wear just swimmers. Kate lead the way on her extra-large paddle board, and we all followed lying on our bellies, rowing with our arms. We were only a short distance from the shore and each paddle board anchored to a fixed rope so there was no fear of drifting off. I was the last to enter the water as I took photos to record the event. I then left ‘Little Miss Organiser’ on the shore as I switched to yoga student mode.
The water was surprisingly warm and refreshing but I had no intention of going in further than paddling to my knees to set-off and alight! We started lying on our backs, knees bent to relax and accustom ourselves to being on the water. I don’t usually suffer with motion-sickness, but I could feel the movement of the board and found this quite a challenge especially in the camel and standing sequence of postures.
I regretted having such a large breakfast. I had worn my wetsuit but was too hot and soon removed it to my waist, I also removed my neoprene shoes as found my movement was restricted in them on the non-slip surface of the board.
Sixty minutes into the session I really started to relax and enjoy myself, this was enhanced by my decision to remove my wetsuit as I found it quite cumbersome. A few students fell into the water but quickly and easily pulled themselves back onto their boards. Kate’s soft voice guided us through a lovely yoga sequence, with lots of reassurance, many tips to assist our enjoyment and modifications where necessary – “just keep the handle aligned with your belly”.
There were many other water-sports taking place that day and lots of noise as a result, but this only encouraged the practice of ‘Pratyahara’ (withdrawal of the senses), the fifth element among the Eight Limbs of the great yogic sage Patanjali’s Yoga.
The relaxation was total bliss.
Lying on the board, the gentle movement of the water was now cradling and lulling all my senses, the warmth of the sun on my face and body, I was totally in lost in the moment, no longer organiser, yoga teacher, mother, just ME! I really didn’t want the relaxation to end as I felt that I only truly accustomed myself to the whole SUP Yoga experience towards the end of the session, after I had removed most of the extra layers of clothing I had worn for fear of being cold.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning, we all breezed through the rest of the day. Several of us were keen to book to go again before the end of the season (mid October).
Do you fancy joining us? Namaste.