SUP Yoga; why we do it

  • By Claudia Scalisi
  • 15 Sep, 2017

Stand Up Paddle Yoga, practicing being in the ebb & flow of nature

Feeling into the body, experiencing yourself from the inside out and practicing breathing from that place of deep connection is how Precious Breath was formed. This sense of curiosity and play has been the foundation of our practice and it lends itself so willingly to playing on the water through yoga.  

Every sense of your being is amplified whilst on your board, and the experience invites you to let go of trying to control the situation. The water will swell and rock you, how you respond to that changing environment will determine whether you fall in or not. This is the part that captivated me the first time I rippled into Downward Facing Dog on a SUP and witnessed my world turn upside down....  
The concept of Stand Up Paddle Yoga or SUP Yoga is still relatively new to the world and it continues to experience rapid growth as more people feel for themselves the effect a water based yoga practice can offer.

Perhaps it's the relationship you have with nature, in being outdoors that draws you, or you want to challenge yourself...maybe you want stronger muscles. What ever sparks your curiosity to join a class, every one of our tribe members has expressed the deep calm they feel once they lay back on their board for Shavasana after class.

This is the essence of union, your mental chatter settles, your breath becomes smooth and your body melts into the present moment.

We are a Perth based yoga school, passionate about our city and the wonders of our States landscape. Even though Precious Breath SUP Yoga started on St Kilda beach in Melbourne way back in 2012, I have always had my home city lovingly in my heart and Precious Breath was always coming home. 

So it's a delight for us to be offering our yoga classes from the sheltered waters of the Swan River in Matilda Bay, Crawley. Our students, which we affectionately like to call out Tribe, have the added benefit of not only being outdoors but enjoy unobstructed city views whilst being in the natural surroundings of this lush part of the Perth foreshore. 

With the ancient magic of this sacred land, sometimes you can feel the depth of history this special part of Perth has, as if the trees, the water and the gentle breeze themselves are watching you, playing with you, rocking you and caressing your skin.. However it's when the dolphins visit that the healing energy of Matilda Bay really massages your heart..

At some point we've all fallen into the water – it's the funniest thing because it usually happens the moment you lose your focus! One second you think you've got it, and the next you are in the water.  We always encourage our tribe to have a laugh at them selves when they fall in, the water is standing height so it's easy to hop back on the board and try again. 

This sense of play reminds us that it's ok to fall over, a sense of humour enables us all to not take ourselves too seriously which leaves room for growth and creativity in all aspects of our lives. On or off the board, learning how to get back up after falling over, or loosing a job, or a lover, or any other of life's 'happenings' is the one of the many gifts your yoga practice can train you for.

It's usually straight after people fall in the water that  they finally start relax and let the liquid do it does while they start to exercise the only thing they truly have control; which is themselves. When it’s a warm day, students are encouraged to roll off their boards into the river to cool down and rest whenever they need it.  

Floating on the water can instantly soothe a stressed nervous system and create a sense of calm & tranquillity most of us are craving for. Couple that with guided breath awareness and simple yoga postures, we have a recipe for relieving anxiety, promoting restoration and deepening our connection to self.

Although we offer lots of different levels of yoga classes, it doesn’t have be an overly challenging session for people to feel the benefits. Participants have commented on feeling complete ease and trust as they recline on the boards during class, that whatever problems they had melt away with the gentle lapping of the water and the sunlight on their body. 

On a physical level, the challenge of moving your body on the boards invites you to become acutely aware of yourself and the way you distribute your weight which encourages participants to focus on the present and feel into the movement of the water. With SUP Yoga, you no longer have the orchestrated environment of an indoor studio where you can easily take the ground beneath your feet for granted. Moving your body becomes more controlled based on receptivity and softness.

Some of the physical benefits of SUP Yoga include increased muscle strength and endurance, better balance and kinaesthetic awareness (an awareness of where your body is in space) as well as mental focus. As your awareness develops, your physical body reveals your imbalances as the board will begin to dip into the water with your dominant side - this awareness can have a positive effect on promoting future injury prevention by recognising and re-training habitually formed muscle patterns.

Ultimately, SUP Yoga is fun and creates a great sense of community amongst participants. Before each class, students are encouraged to let go any expectations they may have of themselves and approach the practice with a sense of joy, to look out for one another whilst on the water and to have a little laugh at themselves when they fall in.

Our community of water yogis is inviting, playful and supportive because of this ethos. Between the water based yoga experiences, our tribe enjoys land based yoga and meditation classes and sunset and full moon sessions which are all exposed to the natural light our gorgeous West Aussie skyline has to offer. 

With Precious Breath, you aren't just joining a yoga class, you are becoming part of a tribe of like-minded and kindred spirits uniting to celebrate the gift of living in this magical part of WA.

Any one can try SUP Yoga. In fact most our students have been people who have never tried yoga or stand up paddle boarding before, yet they decide to put them together and paddle out for SUP Yoga! These members of our tribe are incredible, courageous and a lot of fun to have in class.

This summer we are offering a Level 1 Beginner SUP Yoga Course which caters for brand newbies - to SUP and to yoga. Our Level 1 course guides the paddling experience so people can learn the basics in an interactive and fun environment plus they can connect and share their experience with others who are also in the same boat (pun intended).

Our Level 2 course is the next step where students are more independent of their teacher with regards to paddling and we can begin to practice the yoga postures, develop body coordination and core strength whilst learning a series of yoga sequences.

By the time people have completed these courses, they are ready to join with our Open Level classes and drop into the essence of a water based yoga flow.

In the peak of last summer, our weekday 6am Rise & Shine SUP Yoga sessions fast became a popular choice for busy people. These truly inspiring sessions offer our tribe an opportunity to start their day from the surface of the Swan watching the sun rise over the hills.

The movement meditation created by the golden fingers of light pressing into the dusty hues in the sky reminds us that we are more than our job, more than what ever issues need our attention when we get back to shore. For that 60minutes, you are in communion with something greater than yourself and the experience sets the tone for the day we are creating.

We are looking forward to commencing these sessions again mid-late Dec and will go through until around April.

SUP Yoga suits our expansive West Aussie weather and Perth offers a vast landscape to play in for body movement inspired people who enjoy the outdoors, the water and connecting with nature. Unlike being in a controlled, indoor studio environment, when you're on your board and raise your arms up to the sky – you literally are and it encourages you to reach a little further creating greater feelings of freedom and expansion.

There is no denying that this experience is fun, even captivating. As your body awareness develops so too does your self trust, your fingers and toes tell you when they are ready to balance your body weight and we practice, with mindfulness, lifting one foot at a time.. 

As an avid student of yoga, I continue experiencing the benefits of my practice in every area of my life. Yoga has helped me to gain both physical and mental strength, improve my stamina, develop better clarity and increase my feelings of ease and joy in relating to others. Ultimately yoga continues guiding me to towards healthier lifestyle choices. 

As a teacher, it is incredibly humbling and satisfying to know that through my play, I've helped influenced others to sample yoga and that they may begin to feel the ripple of benefits this ancient practice can have in their lives also, whether they were introduced to it via the water or not.

I hope I've inspired you to come out and join us on the water this summer. You can find out more about us through our website www.preciousbreath.com.au  - you can easily book in for any of our class offerings online too.

You can also reach us via email at  connect@preciousbreath.com.au   and stay in the loop with all things health, wellness and SUP Yoga by following our social media pages; f: preciousbreath_sup_yoga and i: preciousbreath_sup_yoga

Wishing you light & love,

Claudia Scalisi
Founder of Precious Breath Yoga Lifestyle
By Claudia Scalisi 15 Sep, 2017
Feeling into the body, experiencing yourself from the inside out and practicing breathing from that place of deep connection is how Precious Breath was formed. This sense of curiosity and play has been the foundation of our practice and it lends itself so willingly to playing on the water through yoga.  

Every sense of your being is amplified whilst on your board, and the experience invites you to let go of trying to control the situation. The water will swell and rock you, how you respond to that changing environment will determine whether you fall in or not. This is the part that captivated me the first time I rippled into Downward Facing Dog on a SUP and witnessed my world turn upside down....  
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