I love my Saturday mornings in the summer. I get to blast music, sing loudly, windows down hair blowing all over the place as I wind my way up to Monksville Reservoir where I teach Yoga on Paddle Board. I absolutely love it! I usually get to meet new people almost every week, I get to be outside on the water surrounded by trees and birds, it’s awesome! The bonus is I also get to watch people that have never done it before. While we paddle out, there are usually some nerves, bodies stiff and full of tension and at least one person will declare they’ll be the first one to fall. Once we anchor in which is usually the hardest part people begin to relax. For some the ease really comes once they fall in and realizes the water is pretty warm and falling in it doesn’t hurt. After the fear goes, the muscles soften, tension leaves the body and people really start to connect. That’s my favorite part. You physically see a difference in the way they hold their body even their energy feels different. It doesn’t take falling in to get that way. Because yoga on a board is so different you really have to pay attention and that focus is sometimes lost in a class. Once the connection is made, liberation. It’s so amazing that I get to witness this as often as I do.
As the summer is coming to an end there is a feeling at the reservoir that is very different. It’s not just the sun rising later or the change in temperature. It’s the vibration, the energy. There’s a quiet that hangs in the air. The people coming out have a deeper connection to the water. It’s a relationship and you notice it instantly. The people that come don’t leave when it’s cooler or when it’s raining. It calls you and you answer. Even though you may be alone floating on the water, you are part of something. There is a link to everything and everyone, you encompass it all, you are both larger than everything and nothing at all. At least that’s how it feels to me.
It was such a beautiful morning when I arrived to my second to last class. Two of the students had taken my class before and another was the owner of the paddle company, so I knew it was going to be a fun class. Since the other two people signed up appeared to be late we headed to our cove without them and left instructions to where we’d be. I was not going to let a no-show ruin this day! We were about 30 to 40 minutes into the practice when 2 people started in our direction. I try to be pleasant, but I’m amazed at how many people will paddle in between us sometimes even bumping into the board when there is a huge, beautiful reservoir to explore. Thankfully it was the last two students, and I didn’t have to try to politely shoo anyone away.
It took a moment to settle in and for the other students to regroup and get that head space back. Soon enough everyone was moving as I’m calling out different positions for everyone’s ability. The couple that came were not as comfortable on the boards and yoga was something you could see wasn’t in their normal routine. But they moved, twisted, laughed and said, “oh I don’t think so” with a smile on their face and more than once sending encouragement and admiration to the other students. When they came it changed the feel of the class completely. I found myself smiling more. I talked about courage, to step out of your comfort zone because nothing changes there. I talked about meeting new people and sitting with something or someone that’s not so comfortable. To learn something new.
As we paddled back after class I learned they’d never practiced yoga before, and they’d been on a paddle board only once a while ago. Now some people will say, what business do they have doing this? Think for a moment the courage it takes. Think about the first time you went to a yoga class or a gym. The first time you did something new with strangers watching. Now imagine doing that on a Stand-up paddleboard. We all chose that day how to handle the situation. We could have been irritated they were late and interrupted our flow or put off at the lack of experience. They could have decided it was too late and they’d just not do it, or they could have never thought to do it at all. We make choices every day, to embrace a situation or be mad. To play it safe or to drink in life with courage and enthusiasm. I’m so glad they came to class. They added something I couldn’t have. I’m often amazed at how just teaching a yoga class can be filled with so many lessons but there it is again. Make a choice. You can look for the lessons or let them pass you by.
When I reached out to the couple to ask if I could us their pictures for something I was writing they agreed and offered title suggestions. Out of respect I'll include them here but I think I'll keep the title as is.
"Cute and Adorable, but not allowed back"
"And yet, the board stayed afloat"
"Yoga positions never seen before"