Swap your trusty yoga mat for a floating BOGA board.
SRQ Review | January 2022
In Health and wellness
SUP YOGA SRQ FOUNDER AND INSTRUCTOR, STEPHANIE OUELLETE, TAKEN BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
Canadian yoga instructor Stephanie Ouellette recently flew south from Ottawa, Ontario, where his stand-up paddleboard (SUP) business, Suptopia Floating Yoga, operated seasonally, primarily in the beautiful lakeside town of Muskoka. Ouellette has also led ecotherapy Vinyasas at various yoga and music festivals in Canada, and has traveled the world living and working on the water in countries as far afield as Australia, Japan, China, Malaysia, Germany, Singapore and India, as well as various cities in the United States
Now that she’s finding her groove in Florida, SUP Yoga SRQ has emerged. After launching (no pun intended) in June last year, Ouellette teaches private and group classes three days a week where she provides water yogis with BOGA stand-up paddle boards – designed specifically as floating fitness mats. aquatic to support movement on the water – as well as paddles, dry bags and anchors in order to moor your boat to the bottom of the sea and keep the group together in a safe place. Ouellette’s classes are lower and slower than a studio class because each pose is a balance pose on the SUP. But, by combining the movement and intention of yoga with views of Sarasota Bay in all directions, yogis can channel their three warriors by challenging their lower body, engaging their core, balancing their mind and controlling their breathing.
“When you train on the water, all of the swings require all of our stabilizing muscles to be activated, muscles that you didn’t even know you had, and your focus has to be there,” she explains. “This heightened mindfulness really helps us connect to the ‘here and now’.” To start finding your center at sea legs, slow everything down. “Tune your body to the waves and the wind, increase your receptivity when the board is whispering to you that you need to move slightly left or right,” says Ouellette. “And wait to look at the horizon from Downdog – seeing the movement of water under you and around you, and everything upside down – talk about a change in perspective.”
So yes, to avoid falling into it, think about micro-movements for fluid transitions and focus your gaze on a fixed point. But, in all honesty, falling seems to be part of the fun. Embrace the humbling aspect of being in nature’s playground and let the salt water heal all literal or figurative wounds. “I wholeheartedly believe that combining yoga and SUP magically brings all the benefits together,” she says. “When I’m on the water, I feel connected and part of nature. Events and circumstances that might have irritated me that day disappear – it’s almost as if my problems remain ashore when I paddle and it’s just me, my breath and my board.
So whether it’s mastering a balance on one foot in Eagle’s Pose or gently stretching the spine in Child’s Pose, being able to counter and react to the unpredictable flow of the The water below is a rewarding feat, culminating in a pleasant floating sensation that feels like a “mini-vacation for the nervous system.”
Anchor away and namaste.