- We all know that the sport of Stand Up Paddling (SUP) has really taken off. Yoga SUP is starting to be added to the list of why SUP is so popular! Not only is SUP an amazing cross-training sport, it also improves balance and core strength. Jessica Bellofatto
of KamaDeva Yoga has joined Paddle Diva in the Hamptons to offer a unique experience combining Yoga and SUP.
Bellofatto is a long time Yoga teacher, so when she got on a paddleboard three years ago, she was immediately inspired to start playing with Yoga postures while floating out on the bay. Bellofatto says, "The deck of the board was the perfect, non-slip yoga mat, just begging to be explored! I started with downward facing dog, plank, chatarunga, up dog, and the upside down view as I dropped my head into downward dog again was magical." Each time that summer, she was inspired to try more poses, including headstand and wheel. My main focus is on teaching SUP, but when I joined Jessica in the Yoga poses I found that the Yoga/SUP combination added a whole new element of core strength, increased focus, and a single-pointed concentration. Yoga SUP can take a yoga practice to an entirely new level. Not only is it challenging, but it is also taking place outside, in nature, on the water, and it is truly like heaven on earth.
Headstands are a more advanced move, but can be accomplished after a few lessons! (Evelyn O'Doherty of Just Love Photography)
According to Bellofatto, anyone can begin practicing simple Yoga postures on a paddleboard, especially in flat water. She recommends beginning to play around (while not being afraid to fall in!) with the distribution of weight in your feet and to feel your board, keeping in mind that all boards are different. Shift your weight from foot to foot allowing the board to rock a little from side to side; this is the sweet spot on the board, which is the best place to balance. According to Bellofatto it is important to feel how you can walk on the board and try moving more towards the nose, or more towards the back.
Up dog on a board is one of Jessica's first recommended moves. (Evelyn O'Doherty of Just Love Photography)
Bellofatto says the easiest poses to start with will be sitting or kneeling; from there, start to transition to some symmetrical poses such as plank, downward dog, or camel pose. She says to try a simple sequence on land first, and then take it out onto your board and to have fun, be creative, and don't be afraid to get wet!
If you are unsure about trying this on your own, there are some actual YOGA SUP classes beginning to take off around the country, with Bellofatto at the forefront of this movement. If you are in the area of NYC or Long Island, check out the SUP/Yoga classes being offered by Paddle Diva and Bellofatto at www.jessicabellofattoyoga.com for upcoming SUP YOGA classes this spring and summer in East Hampton, or join them on one of their YOGA SUP retreats in Rincon, PR.
Gina Bradley, of Paddle Diva, demonstrates Jessica's belief that with Yoga SUP "don't be afraid to fall in and get wet." (Evelyn O'Doherty of Just Love Photography)
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