What's SUP?

May 18, 2022

By Jeannie O'Neill

I admit there was a time I thought that SUP Yoga was yet another gimmick to get people to engage in a practice they would otherwise not be interested in. I couldn’t imagine wanting to add more rigor into a practice that already was challenging for so many folks. Downward facing dog isn’t always the “rest pose” people tout it as being (I know right…yowza). Downward facing dog on a Stand-Up Paddle board seemed downright arduous. I know myself enough to know that if I am resisting something, it is time to investigate it further. 


All of my reticence shifted the moment that I pushed away from the shore. When I first “set sail” on my board, wobbly and unsure, I was immediately hooked. The smell of this glorious lake, and how my heart swells for the great Mother Cayuga. The sunshine on my skin and the exhilaration of doing something for the first time. It was incredible. The Yoga class on the board was difficult, I admit, and as a seasoned yoga teacher that felt humbling. When I surrendered in savasana with the waves rocking me into meditation I was in awe and overwhelmed with gratitude. In that moment of humility, I knew that I could bring this practice to a more accessible level. 


Teaching SUP Yoga and committing to it being an accessible practice to the best of my ability, has been such a gift. It is empowering to be able to watch yourself surf the wakes and the ebbs and flows. To have the gift of moving with the water and land in a beautiful and spontaneous dance is nothing short of miraculous. Watching the sun set over the horizon while standing in Goddess Pose floating on water is like nothing I can explain in words. All senses come alive on the board. You are immediately engaged in only the present moment. 


So many life lessons and metaphors are explored in SUP Yoga. Being attuned to nature is one of them. Water can be so healing and also so destructive. The lake can be calm and also tumultuous. We get to choose to observe and listen to what the water is saying. We are invited to be embodied and to know that we are not separate at all from our environment. We are faced with an immediate opportunity to exist WITH nature and watch how it embraces and transforms us. 


We developed this SUP Yoga Teacher training program so that this gentle and introductory way of teaching SUP Yoga could spread out like the ripples we see on the water. We hope you step out of your comfort zone and join in on the fun, and the exhilaration we find in the healing elements of nature.

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