A new way to workout

Paddleboard yoga encourages zen on the waters of Brentwood Bay

Pacifica Paddlesports paddleboard yoga instructor Laura Graves (foreground) leads her class through a relaxing workout on the waters of Brentwood Bay.

A new type of yoga on the Saanich Peninsula has participants finding their zen in an unusual way.

Since last summer, Pacifica Paddlesports in Brentwood Bay has been offering paddleboard yoga, a twist on traditional yoga that sees participants take to the water on large floating boards where they can practice their poses while tethered to buoys.

“Because we’re already out on the water and there’s that aspect of balance to it, the yoga itself is a very gentle and accessible practise,” explained one of the two paddleboard yoga instructors at Pacifica, Laura Graves (the other is Suze Willgren).

“The aspect of practising yoga not only outdoors but actually on the water is truthfully the best thing about these classes. To be out on the surface of the water, removed from the typical land environment, opens your senses and opens you up to everything out there.”

Graves became involved as an instructor with Pacifica Paddlesports last summer after Sandra Baron, co-owner of Pacifica, contacted Bloom Yoga (where Graves works) to see if any of the instructors would be willing to take on paddleboard yoga classes.

“I jumped at the chance because of my background with aquatic sports,” said Graves, who was a competitive swimmer for many years as well as a surf camp instructor.

Baron said the class was well received initially when she started it last summer and has only grown since.

“We have a real desire to bring nature in to peoples lives, and theres so much nature out on the water,” she said.

“I had seen paddleboard yoga in California, Hawaii and Australia. I just thought, ‘why can’t we do that here?’ There’s such an intuitive, meditative feeling to both yoga and paddling, they’re very symbiotic.”

Baron, who purchased more boards this year to be able to offer additional spaces in the classes, said that the most rewarding part is seeing participants come back after a class with a renewed sense of self.

“It’s been really amazing to see people come out, try something new and then be able to say ‘wow I’m really proud of myself’.

“People are often daunted by the thought of doing yoga out on the water but once they come back after the hour long class they are just beaming and you can tell all their apprehensions were dropped.”

Graves added that practising yoga on the water increases mind, body and spiritual connections as well as connections to the surrounding natural environment.

“It’s just an incredibly unique way to practise yoga,” she affirmed.

The classes at Pacifica Paddlesports are scheduled until the end of September and will continue as long as the weather permits, said Baron.

Visit www.pacificapaddle.com for a full schedule of classes.