SUP Yoga SRQ Takes Vinyasa to the Water This Summer

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Picture your typical yoga studio. Got it? Great. Now flip it on its head — sometimes literally. SUP, or stand-up paddleboard yoga, is far from conventional. Stephanie Ouellette, a former live-action waterski and stunt show performer, started SUP Yoga SRQ this summer and her dedication to the experience is as clear as Sarasota Bay’s waters.

Having practiced for years, Stephanie turned to yoga to heal after a series of injuries and traveled to India for a metamorphic teacher training. When she returned, she completed her paddleboard training and paddleboard yoga certification before starting Suptopia Floating Yoga in her native Canada — a practice she pursued for 7 years. She eventually found herself in Sarasota, ultimately bringing SUP to SRQ. Her classes, which take place on the Bay, are lower and slower than any studio class you may be familiar with. Never been on a paddleboard before? No problem. She begins the class with SUP 101 and SUP safety for beginners and experts alike. Paddling to the security of an anchor line, the group begins the 2-hour venture with a sensory mindful drop-in where they take in the colors, the way the sun shines on the water, and the configuration of the clouds that day.

“The connection with nature is what makes this so unique. As humans, we’re a part of nature — we just forget it sometimes,” Stephanie says. “They can close their eyes and take in the audio landscape as well, hear the sound of the water hitting their boards, birds in the distance, and the breeze through the leaves of trees on shore.”

Their movements, coupled with the sensations of the water, air, and sun on their skin, allow participants to be truly present with themselves and their salty surroundings. Stephanie concludes each of her classes with a mindful savasana like no other and a bit of playtime where the group —  much like the dolphins, manatees, and cormorants that often join them — can let inhibitions drift away in an environment where the sky and the sea are their only limits. And although attendees may have to take a step, or swing of their paddle, out of their comfort zones, they leave feeling empowered, impressed with their abilities, and most importantly, having enjoyed themselves. After all, falling in is half the fun.

SUP Yoga SRQ offers classes on Wednesday mornings at 9am, on Thursday evenings at 6:15pm, and Saturday mornings at 10am. Visit SUP Yoga SRQ on Instagram @supyogasrq and online at www.supyogasrq.com.

Photo courtesy of SUP Yoga SRQ

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