yoga off the mat

I wish I could be in the lake…

It’s hot in my neighborhood this week.  In the 90’s during the day, although it’s a dry heat, and my friends in Arizona will point out that 90’s would be a delicious relief.  For me, it’s hot though.


I have been taking it easy , or trying to, after minor surgery. Here’s a sign of either the cluelessness of 8th graders, or my general good health: last week when I would bend over and say “ouch!” under my breath, or sneeze and flinch, my son would say, “what’s wrong?” As if he were unaware that I had paid strangers to slice me open and remove a gland. It’s not a secret.

One of the things I wish desperately I could do in this heat is get on my stand-up paddle board, in a lake. Alas, we have to wait for the incisions to heal.

When I got my stand-up paddle board a few years ago at Christmas, the first question everyone asked was if we were getting a dog. Apparently, there are a ton of people who go paddle boarding with their dogs. No. We aren’t getting a dog in the foreseeable future.  The second question was whether I would do paddle board yoga.

This is a great time to explore the difference between what many people think yoga is about, and what yoga really is.  Many people think of the exercise, the asana, the twisting oneself into pretzel-like shapes, the circus-acrobat aspect of it.  And that is a fun part of it, but there is more to it. More than can be explained in a witty response to someone asking about my paddle board, and more than can be explained in a blog post. Actually, more than I really understand myself. Yoga is big- the union of the self to the Self? That’s hard to get your head wrapped around.

So, when people ask me if I do yoga on my board, I usually assume they just mean poses, and answer with “yep, savasana is my favorite.”  Savasana is pretty much just lying down and breathing, with my fingers dangling in the water. That would feel so good right now.

What I love about the stand–up paddle board is that I can stand and paddle, (obviously) or kneel , or sit on my heels, or sit cross-legged or just lie back. My kids and husband have kayaks, and they are fun, but when they trade with me for a while, I always want to trade back before they do. Falling off is awkward, but it’s easier to get back on a board than a kayak, I have a little life jacket for my phone, and I can hang out  listening to music, watching wildlife, and watching the family paddle around too. I have a life jacket for myself, too, Mom, before you ask. Trying to stay safe.

If you have ever been curious about trying a stand up paddle board, go for it! You can rent them at many places, and they are so much fun. Like with many things, there are cheap options and expensive ones- mine is from REI, and was not super expensive. It is a great beginner board, very wide and stable.  The trade-off for the stability is that it is hard to transport- getting it on the roof of the car takes 2 people. We have taken it to state parks around Northern Colorado, and also up to Lake McConaughy in Nebraska, where we enjoyed sublime sunsets last labor day.IMG_0651

I have only ever done it on flat water, but someday I’d love to get on a river. Right now, i just want to be able to get on any water. It’s just hot…

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