In the spirit of trying new things at the Wanderlust Festival in Vermont (I also wrote about how much I loved hooping, which was also new to me), I signed up for Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga on day two of the four-day yoga and music gathering. I was a bit nervous; while I've done plenty of yoga, I've never even tried paddleboarding, so I was hoping I wouldn't make too much of a fool of myself. 

 

Turns out, it's pretty easy. Excellent instruction on how to paddleboard standing up was given to the group, and we soon paddled out on our stomachs, practiced (carefully) standing up, and then used our long oars to guide us around the pretty reservoir lake. After we had gotten that much down — it wasn't very hard, especially since we were on a quiet lake and there were no ocean waves — we placed our oars down the middle of our boards, and practiced basic yoga positions, led by a yoga teacher familiar with instructing a class on a paddleboard. 

Starre Vartan stretches up before diving into downdog. 

Keeping both feet on the board for the first few poses was imperative, since anything that tested the balance made you feel as if you were immediately going to plunge into the water. I tried stretching up (shown above) and slowly and gently coming into downdog, which felt pretty secure. I kneeled and did some cat and cow poses, and then came back up to stand. A bit of wobbling occurred, but I was getting the balance of it. 

Attempting a crescent pose!

My core was definitely challenged, and I had to pay very close attention to each movement — which is what you are supposed to do in yoga anyway — so it was a good reminder. Then I tried going into crescent pose (above) my first off-centered pose. I almost fell in, but recovered, and then tried warrior — getting my feet into different positions — one forward and bent, the other behind me and straight, which was definitely a challenge.
 
But I got it and felt strong and steady as the breeze blew at my back and my board slowly moved over the water, using my body as something of a sail. 
 
Doing yoga on a board floating on the water was more relaxing and peaceful than I had expected. I heard the slapping of water on boards of the other practitioners around me, and I heard my breath and birds, and even a frog flop into the water. I didn't end up falling in, but did jump in at the end of class, and wow, did that water feel great! 
 
All photos courtesy Kate Black

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