Tag Archives: Yoga

Finally Tried SUPing!

SUP is short for stand up paddle board.  I’ve wanted to try it for about a year and a few weeks ago I finally got my chance.  I’d read that it takes balance and core strength.  It did!  It was supposed to be relaxing, invigorating, and mind-clearing all at the same time.  It was!

I took a lesson from a tour company in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach.  We started in a lagoon where I tested my balance and got the hang of maneuvering the board and paddle.  In these calm waters I practiced moving around on the board – swaying back and forth, changing direction, going fast and slowing down.  On the advice of the tour guide I even practiced falling.  In those parts, the advice was to fall flat (as in flat on your back) to avoid injury by coral – kinda scary but the advice paid off once we got into the ocean.

Practicing in the lagoon.

It was a bit windy but we headed out into the ocean nonetheless.  I was really anxious to move out of the lagoon and test my skills in the open water.  We started out on our knees to get past a breaker of coral and out into the ocean.  The water was choppy and required a good bit of focus so at first I wasn’t looking anywhere but down.  Our guide assured us that he’d keep us away from the waves and just glide along the coast for a nice tour of Waikiki from a unique perspective.  While this sounded like a good plan initially, I watched as other SUPers paddled out and rode the waves like surfers.  How could I resist?!  I told the guide I definitely wanted to try my hand at catching a wave.

We paddled out to where the waves were breaking.  The thought of falling on the coral made me nervous and, as with most things in life, the anxiety of it was worse than actually falling.  I needed to get my first fall over and done with so I could get on with SUPing.  I didn’t have to wait long.  In trying to catch my first wave, I promptly fell and followed the guide’s advice to fall flat.  Literally, a wave of exhilaration had washed over me.  With a silly grin on my face, I took to the paddle board again.  All it took was one more wave and I fell again.  I pulled myself back on to the board and at that point I knew I was going to get this.  I looked down and noticed a few scratches on my foot, no biggie, I just needed to remember not to kick when trying to right myself in the water.

After those first two falls, the SUPing was sweet.  I caught waves and rode them until they gave out on me.  The waves were not big, but it was a major accomplishment for me and I loved every minute of it.

This SUPing adventure was exciting, but I got the peaceful part too.  We paddled around and saw sea turtles swimming beneath our boards.  Very cool.

Did I mention T was watching Baby Girl on the beach?  It was not easy to leave her, but I’m learning that a happy momma makes a happy baby.

I really enjoy (endorphins anyone?) using my body to accomplish some physical feat (i.e. an act of skill, endurance, and strength).  SUPing fits the bill.  Of course, the views of the ocean, beach, and mountains were pretty nice too.

Just messing around a bit in the calm waters. If the water is flat, it's a fun challenge to try some yoga.

This is all well and good, but how about SUPing in New Mexico?  Lucky for us, there is such an opportunity.  SouthWest Windsports in Albuquerque provides lessons and equipment for SUPing.  Check them out on Facebook or  http://www.windsurfnm.com.  Just about any body of water can be used for SUPing so I think I’ll try cruising down the Rio Grande next – the Sandias are a marvelous sight too.

Happy Easter everyone!  If you need some Easter ideas, visit our posts from last year, here and here.

~R

Prenatal Yoga Is Not . . .

. . . running, spinning, playing soccer, or boot camp.  There is no open road or grassy field to distract your mind.  There aren’t high fives and there’s no goooooaaaaaallllll!  No one is timing you or telling you to pump out a few more reps.  Yoga isn’t a competition.  It’s just you and your mat.  If you want to be distracted by treadmills and TVs buzzing, weights clanking, or chatter about workdays and other gossip, you wont’ find it in Molly’s prenatal class at Hot Yoga Downtown (the prenatal class is not heated).

In attending my first prenatal yoga class I was hoping to get a bit of a workout, maybe some nice restorative stretching, and some quiet time to just relax and settle into myself.  Done and done!

For me, this class won’t be a substitute for a 2 or 3 mile run.  It won’t take the place of a solid core workout.  It is, however, the perfect addition to my current workouts.  Molly’s class is not filled with props and lots of seated, resting positions; although blocks are available if you need them and Molly welcomes you to rest at any time.  Molly leads a modified type of vinyasa flow.  She started the class by explaining that she believes it’s good to be fit throughout your pregnancy.  I did get a good bit of core work and leg work in the class.  My heart rate increased, but not significantly.

More importantly, and since I spend some time working out otherwise, I got in a great deal of stretching, lengthening, and breathing.  Yoga always helps me smooth out my tight muscles.  It allows me to focus on form and my own individual physical self.  This is especially important now because things are feeling pretty different since my belly is housing a little one.

Most importantly, I got 90 minutes of freedom from all of my mental distractions.  I felt less like I was ignoring or escaping reality and more like I was taking the time to set aside some things and focus on relaxing my mind, yet also strengthening my mental state to handle challenges once I step outside the studio. 

I do enjoy the gym, playing on a team, working out with a partner or group, long runs, and yoga.  But I’ve learned that a balance of all those things is what keeps me well-rounded and sane.  I really do try to always apply this wisdom:  “Everything in Moderation.”  It works for me.  What works for you?

~R

Working out in extremely hot & humid conditions or simply hot yoga

As a kid, my favorite part of the zoo was that hot and humid tropical exhibit.  So combining that heat and humidity with yoga should make for some good times, right?

Before trying out Hot Yoga Downtown, I’d been to 2 hot yoga classes before, but at a different studio and it was a different style of hot yoga.  Hot Yoga Downtown has a large wall of windows facing Central which is cool, but a little intimidating for a newbie.

Hot Yoga Downtown uses the Bikram and Barkan methods.  There were some iffy moments (camel pose anyone?) but I got through the class without passing out.  It was an hour and a half and the room is kept to 105 – 110 degrees.  There were students of all levels in the class.  There were some obvious regulars and first-timers, but there were many who appeared to be right in the middle. 

The positions are challenging to achieve and even the simpler positions are challenging just to hold.  Students are encouraged to try every pose and move into the more challenging poses only after the basic pose is accomplished.  Afterward, my body felt wonderful and my mind was clear.  I was sore the next day around my obliques and upper back.  Not “ouch” sore but the good “I worked hard” kind of sore.  I like that yoga allows me to see my strengths and gently reminds me (in an obvious kind of way) of where I could use some work.

First Timer Tips:  Arrive 10 minutes early to check in, get situated, and clear your mind before class starts.  Bring your mat, water, a large towel, a small face towel, and an extra set of clothes to change into afterward. (This is a sweat-inducing workout!)  If you can’t stand the heat get out of the yoga studio!  Kidding – actually, don’t leave.  Word is, cutting out interferes with the group energy.  I can’t speak to that, but try to stay and count it as one of your accomplishments for the day :)

Do you practice yoga in the tropical exhibit at the zoo or do you frequent a local studio instead?

Details:  Hot Yoga Downtown, 724 Central Ave SE, (505) 243-4688,  http://hotyoga-abq.com/

~R