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Yoga on paddleboards—this bionic workout is here to help you find your centre while making you svelte. By Aisha Hassan.
unshine glistens on your limbs as your core engages to hold Virabhadrasana, or Warrior Pose, and you hear waves hitting the shore ... all while you float on water. You’re aware, you’re alert, and the peaceful, purposeful nature of yoga takes on an immensely different edge. While people have practised yoga for more than 5,000 years to find sama, the Sanskirt term for “balance”, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga—posing atop a paddleboard on water—is shaking up the practice and has been gaining prominence in the last decade. hen you’re lying still on the board, it’s still extremely challenging because SUP yoga amplifies every effort made on a platform continually in motion. It integrates the entire body just to stay afloat. This is an elevated version of zen that does so much more for your body and mind. In addition to your core muscles—from the abdominals to the obliques and erector spinae—your minor muscles groups are constantly engaged to generate movement while balancing on water, all of which increasingly build both strength and flexibility. fforts to maintain the traditional tenets of yoga during this practice requires mental centring, such as tuning into your breath, at an intense level. Ujjayi Pranayama, or Ocean Breath, is a popular method for breathing because it mimics the sound of the ocean and is believed to calm your mind. The caress of the water against the paddleboard brings breathing into hyperfocus, and exemplifies sama with nature. llowing yourself to fuse with your surroundings is part of the experience. “Yoga means ‘union,’” explains Hilary Kimblin, owner of Yoga Under the Trees in Beverly Hills. “When it’s practised outdoors, it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt,” she says. But SUP yoga isn’t all about celebrating a connection with the wider world; it’s also largely about thrusting your body unceremoniously into it—by drenching it in water. he only thing keeping you from falling into the water is your physical and mental determination, and that’s an incredibly invigorating—and humbling—realisation. “It’s about letting go of the fear,” Teresa Van Eyk, owner of Satya Yoga, Michigan, remarks. “You get off the water feeling really rejuvenated; it’s empowering.” Plunging into the water, probably ungracefully, you’re reminded that the only solution is to get back up, and only your body and resilience can do it. Hot summer body or not, isn’t that a life lesson in itself? SUP Yoga is available with Oxbold Sports. Tel: 019-663 8336. www.oxbold.com
Utthita Parsvakonasana, or Extended Side Angle Pose, on water
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