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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: June 4, 2014

Learn to float like a yogi in a paddleboard yoga class

Written by: Shannon Bryan

SOPOSUP courtesy photo

As if your warrior pose wasn’t wobbly enough already, now someone suggests you do it on paddleboard?


Paddleboard yoga sounds awesome (the smell of ocean when you breathe, the sounds of the surf while you stretch, the gentle bob of the board on the water as you relax into savasana), but you probably have to be really good at yoga. And paddleboarding.

Except you don’t.

Paddleboard yoga classes have gained popularity these last few summers – perhaps you’ve spotted a group of floating yogis anchored close to shore at Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth or East End Beach in Portland. Maybe you’ve wanted to try it, but haven’t yet because you think you aren’t balanced enough or bendy enough or that you’ll just end up in the Atlantic. But here’s the thing: You can totally do this.


SOPOSUP courtesy photo

To prove it, SOPOSUP and Willard Beach Studio in South Portland are hosting an Intro to SUP Yoga and Basic Paddleboard Instruction class this Sunday at Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth. The class is geared toward people who really want to give paddleboard yoga a try…but have hesitated to sign up for a session before. The small class size means plenty of one-on-one instruction when you need it, plus a chance to learn some paddling and yoga basics in an atmosphere that isn’t scary. It’s actually quite chill.

“This isn’t bootcamp,” said Jill Newell, co-owner of SOPOSUP in South Portland and one of the workshop’s instructors. “It’s yoga. It’s supposed to be relaxing! We have many boards that will provide plenty of stability. The goal is for people to enjoy the experience and want to come back, not feel anxious. We know the water is cold. We want you to stay on your board and enjoy the sun.”

Brenda Cyr, co-owner of Willard Beach Studio in South Portland, will also be instructing.

Still not sure what paddleboard yoga is? Paddleboard yoga brings a traditional yoga class out on the water – and the paddleboard is the mat. (A tippier mat, to be sure, but also one that can hang out in the water in a way your studio mat never could.)

paddleyoga_2 SOPOSUP courtesy photo

Movements are adjusted to accommodate the fact that the board isn’t as stable as a standard studio floor (so you probably won’t be asked to do tree pose, although you’re certainly welcome to try it) and most of the poses maintain four points of contact on the board (hands and knees, bridge, child’s pose, etc.) said Newell. There’s also plenty of clear instruction and guidance. And it’s also a lot of fun.

The point? If you want to try it, try it!

And what to wear? “I’d say whatever they would wear to yoga,” said Newell. “Polyester, not cotton. Yoga capris, leggings, running shorts, tank top, running shirt, rash guard/sun protection shirt. No wetsuit required. No water shoes need either.”

Details: SUP Yoga and Basic Paddle Instruction

5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 29 at Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth
This workshop is for people interested in attending the weekly SUP yoga classes but may want to review the basics of paddling and/or try some postures on a paddleboard. We will start with some paddling instruction followed by a short paddle. We will then drop our anchors and set up for a SUP yoga class. This will be a beginner class with lots of time for questions and one on one instruction. This class will be taught by Jill Newell from SOPOSUP and Brenda Cyr from Willard Beach Studio. Cost is $40 for the workshop, paddleboard rental is $15 (or BYOPaddleboard)
Sign up online or by calling 207-767-1857

Shannon Bryan photo

Shannon Bryan photo

More Paddleboard Yoga classes

SOPOSUP/Willard Beach Studio (South Portland)
9-10 a.m. Tuesdays at Willard Beach, South Portland
5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth
Two weekly classes beginning the first week of July. Class sizes are limited to 10 people, so pre-registration is requested. You can rent a paddleboard through SOPOSUP if needed for $15. Let them know if you’ll need a board by calling 207-767-1857 by 5 p.m. the day before – they’ll have it waiting at the beach for you.

Portland Paddle (Portland)
7 a.m. Tuesdays at East End Beach, Portland
9 a.m. Fridays at East End Beach, Portland
Portland Paddle has teamed up with Alex Molo of Portland Power Yoga and Caseylin Darcy of Rebel Lotus Yoga to offer weekly classes at the East End Beach. Classes have already started. There are limited spots available for each class, so signing up ahead of time is recommended.
The cost of each class is $25 per student or $18 if you have your own board. Call 207-370-9730 or email for reservations.

Maine YogaFest (Portland)
Saturday, July 12 on East End, Portland – WORKSHOPS FULL
(But check out the other workshops happening during Maine YogaFest)

Black Point Surf Shop (Scarborough)
4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Ferry Beach, Scarborough
4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursdays at Ferry Beach, Scarborough
Black Point Surf Shop has teamed up with instructor Lisa Guerette from Greener Postures Yoga Studio. Call the shop to reserve a board and your spot, as classes tend to fill up: 207-939-6016. $25 per class.

Maine Surfers Union (Portland)
Pop-up classes will happen each week starting in July. They’ll take place at various locations and the day/time/location will be announced at the beginning of each week. BYOPaddleboard or rent one. Cost is $25-$30. To find out when the classes are happening, follow Maine Surfers Union on Facebook and check out their website

Wahine Kai Surf School (Kennebunkport)
3-week course: Enjoy the morning light while participating in beginner yoga moves on your stand up paddle board. $100 (includes all necessary equipment)

Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding (Bar Harbor)
Acadia SUP offers 90-minute sessions in both the morning and the evening out on Echo Lake several days a week. $25 per class.

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