What I’ve learned (so far) from teaching SUP yoga

by Jay Hiller, August 1, 2022

This is not me.
Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash

For a little over 2 years now, I’ve taught SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga on Sunday mornings. When I started I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. Both my teaching and my practice have matured over the last two years. Here are some things that I’ve learned:

  • The mystique of the lake is a real thing. There’s something about millions of gallons of water moving underneath the board that makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself. It’s special to do yoga on top of the water, under the open sky, sandwiched between green bluffs. I’m out there year round, when it hot, when it’s cold, when it’s raining lightly, because I don’t want to miss that feeling of connection.
  • Doing challenging things consistently changes the way you approach them. I started off very tentatively on the boards. I didn’t understand how they would move and shift very well nor did I understand how stable they really were. So I was careful. With a better understanding of them, it’s a lot easier to try new things and take chances.
  • Falling is not a big deal.
  • I learn a lot from the people who take the class. It’s unusual for there not to be a time when somebody else has an approach to something I’m teaching that never would have occurred to me. This morning, I directed the class into (their choice) child’s pose or downward facing dog when a boat went by and there were some waves to ride out. When I looked up, a guest was cheerfully straddling the board. “I ride horses a lot,” he said.
  • I’ve learned a lot from the young high school and college aged boat dock attendants that help me move the equipment in and out. Generally, I’m impressed with the level of maturity and responsibility I see, which makes me impatient with the current criticism of young people that I hear and read. (I’m impatient with it anyway.)
  • When someone tells you they took a picture of you doing SUP yoga, ask them for a copy, especially if you’re going to write about it later. It’s too bad I don’t have the picture and in my mind, I looked great.
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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