I was introduced to yoga on a paddleboard by Neil Pearlberg, the owner of Santa Cruz Stand Up Paddle Board company. He didn’t practice yoga, but had this idea that the board might provide a great platform for yoga. We spent some time in a pool one day and I was surprised by the experience. While the board provided a great deal of stability, the water required that I paid extra attention. There was virtually no room to think about anything else other than what I was doing. As long as I paid total attention, so much became possible. After the practice, I felt relaxed like I had been out on the water several hours, the kind of relaxation that comes from the subtle movement of water.
One of my teacher trainees and a swim coach, Myna Noriega, worked with me to create a series of postures that could be taught on the water. Over the next year and a half, this practice became known as Floating Lotus: Yoga on Water. I have practiced Yoga on the paddle board in swimming pools, on lakes, in the ocean here in the US and as far abroad as a remote island off Bali. Breathe Los Gatos, now offers classes through the spring and summer months at Lake Vasona through the Los Gatos Parks and Recreation.
I now offer a “Floating Lotus Immersion,” a certificate program for YA certified 200-hour teachers who want to this teach this style of yoga.
Being on the water provides insights that you have never faced when you are on the earth. Your balance is off so you don’t feel steady and the asanas appear to be awkward. Once your feet become grounded on the board and you start to feel the flow of the water beneath you, the experience blossoms. You begin to challenge yourself in some of the simplest asanas. You appreciate every move you make and are aware of wherever your body parts are at during that moment. The board and water are feedback mechanisms that tell you if you are in alignment. If not, PLOP into the water you go. Once you feel comfortable, you start noticing your surroundings which calms the mind. The sound of the water lapping against the board is soothing. You just float – moving with the current into the next pose. At the end of the series, you treat yourself to the best savasana you will experience. Laying flat on the board, heart lifted to the sky, the sun beaming on your body , the wind tickling your skin as you float in the water. All you have to do is just BREATHE! ~Cindy Campbell
What a day! The continual challenge to balance because of the constant motion of the board, the instant instability created by minor energy and weight shifts, the focus required to ground while adrift – there’s a life lesson for you! Turning your world upside down in a pose as simple as uttanasana, where suddenly what is below the horizon appears still, and that above is constantly moving, provides a true shift of perspective, infused with childlike joy at something so simple being so beautiful and new. Water yoga floats my boat! ~Nancy Panvini
“The most fun I have ever had practicing Yoga.” ~Adam Sewell