Article and Photos by Alicia Monahan, Event Host
Waking up before the sun, on a Saturday, is generally not my thing…unless there is something fun going on. I had been looking forward to the SheJumps SUP YOGA event, and popped out of bed, eager to get going. I put my most comfortable river attire on, grabbed my morning coffee and headed out the door.
It was a cool morning, a welcome break from the heat waves we have been having. The mugginess that normally envelopes you in the most unwelcome way was replaced with a partly cloudy sky, and a light cool breeze.
The SheJumpers met down by the river where their SUP boards and Bronwyn Comer, (SUP Yoga Instructor), and myself (SUP Instructor), from Riverside Outfitters awaited their arrival. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and excited to get on the water. After gearing up and a brief safety talk, the women grabbed their boards and paddled out into the slow current of the James River.
We paddled across the current, making our way to Belle Isle, where we found a secluded spot of still water just off the island, the city skyline as our backdrop.
The class began by anchoring our boards in the river, and since the boards used in the class are very stable, it wasn’t long before SheJumpers were doing the same moves on their boards as they do on solid ground!
Bronwyn guided the women through an awesome and relaxing workout using traditional Yoga moves that can be done on a Stand Up Paddleboard. The need for an even greater sense of balance was a fun challenge, and despite jokes in the beginning about falling in, EVERYONE stayed on their board.
There were moments of effective stretching, as well as moments to rest and reflect on our morning, our life, our mind and body.
By the end of the session, everyone appeared to be rested, as they lay on their boards, taking in all the sounds of not only the city, but of nature as well. It’s an oddly calming sound, a reminder of just how lucky we are to have such a great city, with such a wonderful natural area, and this great river running within its limits.
When everyone was finally able to move again and stand back up on their boards, they were all smiles! Stoked enough to pose for a group photo!
The SheJumpers made their way back across the rive toward Tredegar Ironworks at the end of the session.
Many paddling skills improved greatly, and some took full advantage in testing out their SUP Yoga capabilities.
The event was a success, and was the largest SUP Yoga class that Riverside Outfitters has had to date!
Thank you Bronwyn and Riverside Outfitters for an awesome class, and thank you SheJumpers for being awesome paddlers, athletes, and women!
And thanks to our national partners everyone took home EcoLips lip balm, Geos from Treeline Coffee Roasters and delicious bars from Kate’s Real Food. We are always grateful their support of SheJumps and the events in the Southeast!