I had an amazing summer teaching paddle yoga, fitness and night time paddle board classes, as well as learning more about my own paddle technique, and co-creating a kick-ass paddle yoga teacher training program. It was over before I knew it, which only means it was chock full of fun!
That being said, teaching yoga on the water is an entirely different animal than in-studio yoga. You’ve literally got to go with the flow. Cloudy and cool? You better think of a nice heat-building sequence that is paddle board friendly. Windy day creating slight waves? You have to find a glassy area of water to anchor down. Anchor? Those F*&^%ing anchors! Probably the least convenient, most troublesome piece of equipment that happens to be imperative for a yoga class on the water. Of course, I always manage to pick the area of water that also seems attractive to the family of 6 screaming kids under the age of 10 that post up on the beach 20 feet from my class, creating a very un-zen environment for Savasana. Then you’ve got your boats (with un-educated drivers), jet skis (with crazy drivers), other passerby paddle boarders cutting through your class (or trying to join in), jumping fish, squawking cockatoo’s (really), and first-time yogis who decide they want to try paddle yoga and think it’s ok to have full-blown conversations in the midst of class while you’re trying to teach. Plus, the fear level of students who have never paddled before is higher than that of a first time in-studio student, which can be an anxiety-filled experience for some as it is.
All of the above can test your patience, but nothing compares to the goose bumps I get when a paddle class is ending, it’s a gorgeous day in San Diego, the students are resting in Savasana on the water after likely having recently fell into the water trying some one-legged pose on the board, and the phrase comes to mind “This is my job.” Tourists pass by on the boardwalk pointing and gawking “Hey, look! They’re doing yoga on paddle boards, we gotta try that.” Some stop and take pictures. This is my job.
In addition to teaching on the water this summer, my partners and I got ACA Level 2 certified and WPA Class 1 certified. If that means nothing to you, it just means we upgraded our paddle board skills. I love being a student and I feel I learned from the best—Jose Gonzalez with ACA and Gillian Gibree with Paddle Into Fitness are true professionals in the industry.
My Beach Fit class got on TV (45 seconds into this video): http://www.thelisttv.com/the-list/around-town/around-san-diego/san-diego-peddling-for-a-cause.
Our Night Glow tours have become a popular tourist and local attraction, almost too popular for our britches, but that’s a great “problem” to have.
We also hosted our first paddle yoga teacher training this past September, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to enjoy that experience with. I can’t wait until the next one in March!
This is my job. And it’s just beginning. The idea factory that is my team of partners is unmatchable, and I’m so excited for some of the things we have brewing. Check out our schedule for public classes at www.SanDiegoPaddleYoga.com. We’re cutting back on classes for the duration of the winter, but can do private groups by request.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep watching this video over and over, to bring me back to that goose bumpy Summer fun feeling, and you should too: http://vimeopro.com/sdpaddleyoga/summer2014