Adventures of a SUP Yogi ~By Lisa Meranti
Freedom | Joy | Connection | Respect | Flow | Oneness | Humbleness | Accomplishment — These are all the feelings I get when on a SUP (Standup Paddle Board) practicing yoga and this is the story of how it came to be.
Growing up in and around waters of New Jersey, I developed a deep love and respect for the water. I felt drawn to the water’s edge many times despite being swept under by undercurrents and being stung by countless jellyfish. Why would I want to come back? Because of the beauty and the mystery, the changing tides of the ocean, changing flows of the rivers, the consistent rhythm of the waves, and the consistent way rivers take the path of least resistance.
Since those early years on water’s edge, time on the water got more adventurous, my yoga practice took root, and I earned degrees in Environmental Sciences with a focus on water quality. As I continue to me immersed in the reality of the interconnectedness and fragility of all in nature, my time in water and on the yoga mat keep me grounded. And there is science that back this (for more on this read “Blue Mind” by Wallace J. Nichols).
My adventures on the water changed course when a friend invited me to a SUP class on Lake Erie in 2010 and after several SUP adventures, including in Virgin Islands National Park. I was hooked on SUP and SUP Yoga. SUP offered me a new platform to see and experience water in a whole new way. Being able to sit, kneel, stand, and lay on a board was the perfect combination for me. SUP adventures in the ocean allowed me to experiment with how the board responded to waves and my body to poses on the board. All seated poses, downward dog and low lunge were natural feeling on the board. Warrior and balancing poses presented a fun challenge. And savasana…an experience like no other. I was hooked on yoga on SUP.
In winter 2017, my main adventure was obtaining my American Canoe Association (ACA) SUP Level 1 and SUP Yoga certification in St John with instructors Matt Hite and H2yo! with Julie Roach. What a joy! What a challenge! With certification and board in hand, summer 2017 was filled with many more adventures on SUP and teaching over 75 people how to find their love of water and yoga via a SUP. I have had students of a wide age range, some with no yoga experience, and some never on water. All have found a way to find their own adventure on the board. I love the adventure of teaching SUP basics and SUP Yoga that makes yoga on water accessible to all.
The adventure of combining SUP and yoga is a humbling experience. Taking your yoga to a SUP opens up a whole new world. The board provides you with instant biofeedback. Let’s just say there is no cheating in SUP Yoga. And blue mind is achieved when the mind chatter dilutes and focus becomes crystal clear. The experience is so freeing. Really what would be so bad about falling out of a pose and into a safety net of water? When else do you get to just go with the flow or walk on water?
Ready to catch the wave of SUP Yoga and your big SUP adventure? See you on the water for freedom, joy, connection, respect, flow, oneness, humbleness, accomplishment, and more in 2018! Together, we can open up your blue mind on a SUP yogAdventure. To learn more about me or Onetreelove, scroll our website or find us on Facebook.
Rachel attended the January, 2017 OneTreeLove retreat in the U.S. Virgin Islands and had this to say about her trip:
Sighs… What a site the Virgin Islands are. The clear ness of the deep blue water will not easily be forgotten. Those steps we made took us to a wide variety of places. From hiking the rocky trails to beautiful soft beaches under our feet. As we stopped along the way to identify trees, our hikes took us to ruins and an old sugar mill. The sweetness of the sugar mill was made even sweeter by the bats that lined the ceiling. It was neat to just absorb the environment and imagine the old mill up and running. As I stood there, it was impossible to not just stop in awe and admire the old rusted gears.
A stop at the nearby beach to the area showed an impending storm. The storm ended up being a nice refreshing misting, only slightly heavy at times. Later in the day other sights were to be seen. While my trip mates seemed to be like fish in the water, I took my time to submerge myself. How glad I was to take the plunge as it led to some wonderful sights. Another day of snorkeling we saw sea turtles and even a small turtle that was not known to the waders not far from shore. The turtles were incredible to see, as we watched them scouring the ocean floor for sea grass. Another day was full of activity as we started the day with an early morning hike. The night hike revealed large spiders, beaches lined with large pebbles and the grand finale
brought us to the windiest part of the island. We got up Ram’s head point with enough time to see the sun come up. It was wonderful even though we were just able to see it as it peaked through the clouds.
The middle of the day brought more snorkeling which led us to a small beach right off the road. As we ventured further from shore a degree of fear creeped up from the deep abyss below. Such a wonderful world below but you can easily feel like you are on an alien planet at times. Snorkeling led to a little more salt than desired through the mask. However, this ended up being a great decongestant. The end of the day brought paddle boarding, which was awesome. Perhaps only as a result of our wonderful teacher, Lisa, was responsible for this. Teresa and I took turns on the one board and I graciously let her go first. Balancing wasn’t terribly difficult despite the choppy conditions. I decided to not let myself fall and ended up looking like
I was stuck like glue to the board as I walked further backwards. What an eventful day that turned into a productive trip. All in all, that water brought clear what fears could perhaps easily be overcome.