Blending Yoga with Canoeing



It is the water sports trend par excellence this summer: stand-up paddling, or SUP for short. You can see enthusiastic water sports enthusiasts standing on the Neckar paddling. A passionate canoeist since childhood with his flat back canoe, cannot escape the appeal of the new sport and often goes for a spin in the evening: “The silent gliding is extremely relaxing, and standing on the board gives you a different perspective than sitting down, which has something majestic about it.”

The canoeist thought this meditative mood should also be suitable for yoga exercises. The canoe rental company was quickly able to win over a yoga teacher for his idea. During the holiday season, the yoga teacher now regularly exchanges the yoga mat for a wobbly paddle board and offers yoga exercises for the body, mind, and soul on swimming boards. “The prerequisite is that you can swim, but you don’t need any experience in yoga or stand-up paddling, you can just climb up and join in immediately,” the expert encourages curious people.

The canoeist lends a hand on Neckar Island, directly under the Adenauer Bridge. The canoe expert gives tips for safe ascent and posture on the swaying board: “The wider the stand, the further apart the feet or knees, the more stable the position.” For locomotion, he recommends beginners alternately make two paddle strokes on the right and two on the left to compensate for the inevitable zigzag movement. A participant with no previous experience in paddling says: “It’s best to lie flat on my stomach, then the risk is least likely that I will fall right into the water.” Her concerns are unnecessary because after only a few minutes she masters paddling in kneeling brilliantly.


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And off you go on the non-slip-coated floating boards while sitting, kneeling, or – for the very brave – standing. Under the wooden footbridge, we first paddle a bit towards Oberesslingen, before the group stops at a secluded spot under overhanging willows. The boards are tied together in a circle, the paddles are fastened so that you have your hands free. The yoga class begins. “Particularly suitable for beginners without SUP experience are yoga exercises in a quadruped position such as the dog or the cat, or in the prone position such as the cobra and the grasshopper,” explains the yoga teacher.

Even exercises in the supine position or from the long seat are easy to master on the floating boards. On the other hand, exercises on one leg such as a tree or a large trench along the board are challenging: “This quickly becomes wobbly and is very difficult for balance,” warns the yoga expert.

“Yoga has the claim that you come through the physical tension into relaxation. Then the mind and thoughts become calmer. Yoga slows down and brings inner and outer balance,” explains the yoga teacher after about 40 minutes of body and breathing exercises. The yoga teacher, who teaches at the adult education center, in the Villa Nagel, and in the multi-generation house on the Zollberg, emphasizes that the exercises on the wobbly board represent an additional challenge in terms of coordination and body awareness: “The sense of balance is strongly demanded. And because I constantly have to make minimal compensatory movements on the board, the deep-lying muscles are permanently addressed. This is especially optimal for back problems,” the yoga teacher praises the additional effects of training on the board. At five percent “residual risk” she estimates the danger of falling into the water during SUP yoga: “But on a summery day this is a welcome cooling.”