All Roads Lead to…the Lake?! How I Started Teaching SUP Yoga

July usually means it’s finally summer in Seattle which always reminds me of my days teaching SUP (Stand-Up Paddle board) yoga. Even if you prefer to stay on dry land or if you find this post long after summer, the story of how I ended up teaching on the lake might inspire you to try something new!

One spring, not long after I started teaching yoga, I had the brilliant idea to run my own yoga classes in the park. I thought really hard about how to price my classes and made super cute postcard-style flyers with all of the information. Before I went ahead though, I wanted to dot all of my i’s and cross all of my t’s so I contacted the city to find out if I needed any permits or anything.

Initially, I spoke with the city manager and he said I would pay a small percentage of my profits to the parks department but, in exchange, they would help me promote my classes. I thought it was a perfect win-win! Until I actually spoke with a few ladies in the parks and recreation department and I thought I was on an episode of the show Parks and Recreation for a moment because it felt like a dry humor comedy when they told me that I couldn’t teach in the park simply because I didn’t make it into their booklet in time. I asked them, “Isn’t that just my loss then? I just won’t have as many students.” and they told me, “I’m sorry, it’s impossible because you didn’t get in the book in time.”

I was bummed out. And then the city manager called a few days later. He had just started working with a Stand Up Paddle board rental company and he thought it would be cool to offer Stand Up Paddle board yoga. He’d heard they were doing this all over southern California and one surf shop on the opposite side of Seattle had just started up that same spring. We could also bypass the crotchy ladies in parks & rec since water-based rentals were outside of their jurisdiction. I thought that sounded like a nice idea for him but that it had nothing to do with me since I’d never even touched a paddle board. He suggested a meeting between myself and the owner of the rental company so I thought, ‘What the heck?’ and the three of us met one grey summer morning.

I will restate, I had never set foot on a paddle board in my life but I told myself to just act cool and it worked! Kind of. I definitely didn’t know how to hold the paddle or how to stand up but the owner, Jeff, was so nice and talked me through everything. That morning, I learned a lot. First of all, Jeff taught me that a cool, grey morning is ideal paddle weather on the lake and when I showed up that morning, I definitely had the thought that it was a bummer that it wasn’t sunny and hot.  More importantly, I immediatly loved the experience and I discovered that Stand Up Paddle boarding is a lot like yoga – so peaceful and relaxing yet such a great workout all at the same time.

I taught SUP yoga on the lake for the next several summers until I had to give it up for my full-time job at the gym.

Moral of the story:

  • Try new things!
  • Fake it until you Make it.
  • Don’t get too upset when your initial plan doesn’t work out since something even better might be brewing.
  • Be open to opportunities you had never even considered.

This could, of course, apply to different teaching experiences but, really, well beyond the gym, studio or even the lake!

♥ Andrea

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