published Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Falling for yoga


by Jessie Gable
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press Participants engage in upward facing dog on their paddle-boards during a 70 minute yoga class held on North Chickamauga Creek taught by Zuddhi Yoga instructor Maggie White (not pictured).

Chattanooga’s newest hybrid, paddleboard yoga, puts yogis in a shaky situation as they move through traditional yoga poses while standing on water.

Zuddhi Yoga hosted Chattanooga’s first paddleboard yoga class Saturday on North Chickamauga Creek at Greenway Farms in Hixson. More than 20 yogis attended the 75-minute class.

Jessica Ewart, founder of Zuddhi Yoga, said the potential for falling in the water made the class more lighthearted.

“It’s not real ‘ommmm’ serious,” said Ewart, humming the sound of a meditative mantra. “It’s fun. You can’t take your yoga too seriously.”

And fall they did. The paddleboard yoga beginners quickly learned that taking away solid ground puts yogis of all skill levels on equal terms. Participants agreed that the hardest pose was “tree,” where they stand on one foot.

“We found out that one of the easiest poses on land is the hardest pose on water,” Ewart said.

The idea of introducing paddleboard yoga here came from Theresa Rodriguez, co-owner of TBA Gym, who teamed up with Ewart after she saw a YouTube video of paddleboard yoga classes in Florida.

WHAT’S NEXT

The next chance to practice paddleboard yoga is Saturday. Space is limited. Go to www.zuddhiyoga.com for online registration.

“We all went out for a scouting trip to see how it would work,” Rodriguez said. “Once we knew it was easier than we thought, we knew people would be interested in it.”

SUP Paddleboards in Chattanooga supplied the boards and gave instructions on how to ride them. Only occasionally were the yogis instructed to use the paddle for balance.

Natalie Phillips, co-owner of SUP Paddleboards, took the class.

“This is harder than regular paddleboarding,” Phillips said afterward. “You’re trying to reach that next level of being centered. Don’t get me wrong, though, paddleboarding alone is hard.”

Casey Daniel, a 24-year-old yogi who did not fall in, said she planned on coming back next week.

“It was easier than I thought it would be,” Daniel said. “I had no hesitations about it, and I really think beginning yogis would enjoy it.”

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