Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Danny Jones starts the class by teaching participants how to use the paddle board. Sammy Dallal / The National
Danny Jones starts the class by teaching participants how to use the paddle board. Sammy Dallal / The National

Stand up paddle board yoga: the toughest workout you'll float through

We speak with two instructors in Abu Dhabi to find out what the sport is all about.

Danny Jones, a British instructor from the company Watercooled, has been teaching water sports for seven years. He has taught stand up paddle boarding in the UK and Europe, but he says Abu Dhabi, where he’s lived for just five months, is his favourite watersports location.

The yin yoga instructor Julie Lewis has been working in the fitness and health management sector since 1989. Her company Mountain High runs retreats and personal leadership programmes for women around the world.

What is stand up paddle board yoga and what kind of workout is it?

Danny: It originated recently and is based on the theory that the board provides the perfect platform. The required balance adds to the core stability workout, while the ocean provides the perfect location for peace and tranquillity. Watercooled provides this programme at both its centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Paddle boarding can be a full body workout. The beauty of the sport is that the level of difficulty can be fully suited to the participant, be it first-time or experienced paddlers. The range of movements used during paddling uses a multitude of muscles, especially the abdominals to build core strength. First timers to SUP normally find that within 20 minutes of practising they are standing and paddling.

Did you find it tricky when you first tried paddle board yoga?

Julie: The first time anyone gets on a paddle board you tend to have shaky legs. This is normal. The body adjusts to balancing on the board quite quickly. The key is the correct stance with the weight evenly balanced.

What’s do first timers on the paddle board need to know?

Danny: I would always recommend paddle boarding in a location you know is safe. Things to avoid are a strong tide and areas with lots of motorised action. Always paddle board with a friend. It’s more fun and safe.

What are the main benefits of stand up paddle board yoga?

Julie: The session we run is a great all-rounder for the mind and body. The paddle section is yang – it works the muscles and the core and is great for balance. The yin session works the deep connective tissue and juices up the joints. You get pure joy out of the class. We spend far too much time inside air-conditioned boxes, so any opportunity to connect with nature is a gift.

• Paddle board yoga classes are held at Hiltonia Beach Club, Abu Dhabi, on Wednesdays from 5.30pm to 6.30pm and cost Dh100 per session, with classes limited to 10 people. For more information visit www.watercooleduae.com

sferguson@thenational.ae

Tried and tested

I’ve never tried stand up paddle boarding or yoga so combining the two was always going to be interesting.

I had imagined myself gliding through the water, easily morphing into yoga poses. The reality was rather different.

The class is divided into two sections: learning how to use the board and the yoga. After introductory talks by Jones and Lewis, we put the boards into the water. Starting on our stomachs, we used our hands to paddle ourselves away from shore. Next, we got onto our knees and used the paddles to steer the boards. That was the idea, anyway. I seemed to keep going in circles.

Standing on the board is not as easy as it looks. “Don’t worry about falling in. You will fall in,” said Jones, which was equally reassuring and worrying.

I heard a splash; someone had taken the first tumble into the sea. After overhearing another couple of falls, I forced myself to stand and immediately lost my balance. I fell in twice before realising I preferred staying on my knees.

For the yoga session, we hooked our boards to a rope in the sea so as not to float away. Lewis led us through some basic positions, sitting or kneeling on the boards.

The stretches were followed by a brief meditation and, despite being wet and shivering a little, I found it very calming to be floating in the sea at sunset. I was so relaxed, in fact, that I almost nodded off at one point, but a passing helicopter put paid to that.

It was an interesting first attempt at yoga and paddle boarding, and one I will try again. For three days after, every muscle in my body ached. I definitely felt the benefits, both physically and mentally.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National