WARRIORS ON WATER: Soyela Shafer instructs an SUP Yoga class at Shingley Beach.
WARRIORS ON WATER: Soyela Shafer instructs an SUP Yoga class at Shingley Beach. Georgia Simpson

Yoga with more than a twist

IF YOU have been on an evening stroll around Shingley Beach recently, you may have noticed the silhouettes of people twisting themselves into different poses, while on a floating yoga mat.

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga is the practice of yoga while balancing on a paddle board floating on calm water.

It originated on the beaches of Hawaii in the 1960s.

Owner of Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle and Kayak Mark Pearson has been eager to offer SUP Yoga for years and is excited to deliver classes.

"Locals have been a great support and that's largely to do with Soy,” he said.

Soyela Shafer or Soy, "like soy milk,” she says, has been teaching SUP Yoga at Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle and Kayak, for just over two months.

Ms Shafer has been practising and teaching yoga for more than a decade and describes SUP Yoga as an 'active meditation'.

In a society increasingly becoming 'ageist' SUP yoga is just the opposite. "As you get older, you lose your balance, and being on the water builds that up and strengthens your core.”

Soy encourages anyone who has been thinking about SUP Yoga to give it ago.

"We have turned yoga into flexibility and it's not about that,” she said. "It's about your breathing.”

She recommended the class for the young at heart, "because you all want to do the craziest stuff”.

"SUP Yoga is crazy, but it's also relaxing. It's an oxymoron.”


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