What is SUP YOGA?
Jessica Bellofatto has taken two of her passions—yoga and stand up paddling—to create an experience unlike any other. From the first time she hopped onto a paddleboard 5 years ago, she began experimenting with yoga postures on the board. To her, a practitioner and teacher of yoga for 20 years, it seemed like a completely natural thing to do. Stand up paddling and yoga have a lot in common, including the clarity of mind and the full-body workout they both provide. Through Jessica’s experimentation and improvisation (and willingness to get wet), SUP YOGA was created.
In these fusion classes, small groups set out on the SUP boards, paddling across a sheltered part of the bay, like Hand’s Creek Harbor or Maidstone Harbor. The location changes depending on conditions. After warming up with a gentle paddle, the yoga class begins. Lasting between 45 minutes to an hour, and including full vinyasa sequences, Bellofatto even gets students up into advanced yoga postures like headstand and full wheel if they’re ready for it, though experience isn’t necessary.
Yoga and stand-up paddling go hand in hand because they both “take you right into the moment,” says Jessica. “They also require concentration, breath, relaxation, a sense of adventure, a sense of humor, and the ability to surrender to something much bigger than yourself.” In some ways, SUP can teach the lessons of yoga in a more pointed manner, because the ocean can be unforgiving and real.
“Paddling in the ocean,” says Bellofatto, “you are at the mercy of that. On the one hand, you need to be brave… On the other, there is an extreme sense of humility… and huge surrender.”
The yoga practice requires that same balance of strength and softness, but when you’re out in the elements, maintaining that balance is all the more urgent. So whether you are an avid stand up paddler, an avid yogi, or both, check out these classes guaranteed to challenge you, as well as to put a smile on your face. A slice of heaven on earth, indeed.