FROM TOP: WARRIOR II; SINGLE LEG WHEEL; WILD THING POSE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
If you love stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and are a yoga enthusiast, why not do both at once? The summer’s hottest water sport is SUP Yoga and with plenty of warm weather left, now is the time to give it a try.
Paddle Diva is the Hamptons premiere stand up paddleboarding school, located in Shagwong Marina in East Hampton, NY, with another outpost at the Surf Lodge in Montauk. Founded in 2009 by Gina Bradley, she has made it her mission to get more women on the water by taking the intimidation out, making it super accessible and most importantly, fun! Classes take place in an idyllic wind protected cove, or on guided tours, with one stop shopping for all your paddle gear. She has a custom line of women’s specific boards as well. Says Bradley, “When I first started, the sport was underserving the female market and my goal was to change that. There were a million reasons women weren’t getting into the sport and I was going to find a million reasons for them to do the sport.”
Bradley has done just that offering multiple classes daily and excursions for all levels. Paddle Diva offers SUP Yoga classes as well, which give students an opportunity to try both stand up paddleboarding and yoga in one session. The first half of the hour long class is paddling instruction, followed by yoga done on the board. Says Bradley, “We are not trying to replicate the studio yoga experience on the water. We are just trying to open people’s mind to a whole new way you can work out. We want to get people out if the gym and into nature.”
FROM TOP: PRAYER; THREE LEGGED DOWN DOG; UPWARD FACING DOG
Jessica Cadden Osborne is Paddle Diva’s resident SUP Yoga instructor. Shown here in these pictures, she is clearly in incredible shape. When she is not on the water, Osborne can be found on stage at Radio City Music Hall as a member of the Rockettes… or, midair in a jaw-dropping aerial maneuver in the theatrical extravaganza,“Fureza Bruta.”
Practicing yoga on a moving surface on the water intensifies the experience. You have to recruit other muscles and recruit the core. You have to engage what Osborne calls the “360 degrees of strength” — your hips, abs and lower back — in order to stabilize the board. One moment is not going to be the same as the next and you have to work with the changing conditions. Says Osborne, “Sometimes a boat comes by and there is a wave. Instead of saying, ‘This is interrupting my zen,’ I say, ‘No, work with it. Feel that wave underneath you in your core and go with it.’ It’s like in surfing, you need to allow elements around you to become part of what is happening to stay present.”
If you’re not out in the Hamptons, but looking to give SUP Yoga a try, above and below are 10 basic poses with which you can start. And don’t worry if you fall, with the summer’s heat, a refreshing dip can be the best zen moment of all.