Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga combines two sports that, at first glance, look like they shouldn’t go together at all! Kristy Wright-Schell has been teaching this tricksy looking combo for over 5 years now, and is starting classes in Deep Cove tomorrow, so we wanted to chat to her to find out all about it and see if you need to be an experienced yogi to join in!
Deep Cove Kayak: So Kristy – SUP and Yoga…why do they go together so well?
Kristy Wright-Schell: Yoga is all about connection – between your mind and your body, and finding balance between them. Practicing yoga on a stand up paddleboard, for me, includes another connection that it is essential to work on balance – and that’s connection to the environment. Being out on the water gives yoga a totally different feel to being in a studio, and that connection with nature and the water just lifts the practice to different level, where simple poses create new challenges and opportunities!
DCK: But doesn’t adding yoga to SUP just make it harder??
KWS: It might be surprising, but it actually helps! We start with some really easy poses on all fours, keeping low on the board, which increases your stability on the board. Novice paddlers often find that getting comfortable with the yoga poses first works to make you more confident moving on the board and balancing when paddling.
DCK: So it’s suitable for beginners?
KWS: It’s suitable for everyone! Each class is unique to the students who come and a variety of levels and options are offered for each pose which can benefit the new paddler or Yogi to the more experienced who can be challenged in a totally new dynamic. When you’re out on the water, you can’t take your cell phone with you and that complete switch off really helps to centre you – it’s a great cure for anyone who finds that technological connection hard to break!
DCK: So how did you come to love SUP?
KWS: I first tried it in 2010 in Maui when I was there for a wedding. Myself, my husband and a male friend of ours all went out on SUPs and they both fell in and I didn’t! It was a really awesome feeling to have something that I could do better than the guys could – so when we got back I looked into it more, and have never looked back. It was around the time that I also became a yoga teacher, so combining the two was a natural combination as a board just acts like a big yoga mat. I started my company Stand Up Paddle Vancouver in 2011, and now I teach most aspects of SUP.
DCK: So SUP has been really life changing for you?
KWS: Yes! It absolutely has. I teach rain or shine (unless it’s stormy or downpouring!) and some of my best days have been out on the flat calm in light rain – it’s just beautiful. Last year my husband and I took a SUP trip of a lifetime with Norm Hann to the Great Bear Rainforest – exploring that incredible landscape on a SUP with whales, wolves, eagles and more was an unforgettable experience. That connection with nature is why I do it.
It sounds pretty good to us, that’s for sure!. Classes go at 10 am Tuesdays, and 6pm Wednesdays.