Think yoga’s easy? Just add water.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Whipple Dam State Park, where substitute yoga instructor Anne Williams was leading a group of five through a rundown of the usual stretches and odd bodily contortions — with one big difference. Instead of stretching on sweaty gym mats, participants balanced on a paddle board surrounded by sparkling currents that were roughly the temperature of a lukewarm bath.
There was downward dog, dolphin and something called a “bridge pose,” which involves thrusting your hips skyward.
The biggest thing is move slowly. Like really slowly.
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As far as your standard yoga studio goes, the entire thing was pretty much one big “splash zone.”
“The biggest thing is move slowly. Like really slowly,” Williams said.
Williams has been doing yoga for seven years and teaching classes for almost half as long. She said that anybody looking to take their studio routine out onto the water should expect to get a little damp.
In the studio, I’m thinking about how I did it on the paddle board.
Since paddle boards have a tendency to spin like a tamer version of the teacup ride at Disney World, a greater emphasis is placed on body control and precision of movement.
“You feel that a lot on the board because it is so connected to your body on the board,” Williams said.
Picking a steady focal point is important — as is being realistic about the limitations of one’s own sense of balance.
Lindsey Kurtz practices yoga regularly, but striking poses at Whipple Dam has helped her to realize just how far there’s left to climb — or paddle, as the case may be.
“In the studio, I’m thinking about how I did it on the paddle board,” Kurtz said.
For more information on yoga at Whipple Dam, visit the SUP State College Facebook page.