Yogic Adventures Part II: Paddling in Paradise

So I planned to make my second yoga entry about my recent battles with Bikram Yoga (A.K.A. hot yoga) but given the response to my last post about Yoga in Bora Bora I thought that I might as well finish up the yoga in paradise theme first.

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So meanwhile, back in Paradise;

Yoga was not the only new activity I had discovered. Not by a long shot. Other visitors to these islands from as far back as Captain James Cook have observed the preferred form of local transportation: The Paddleboard.

Now I know that we’ve probably all heard of Paddle Boarding already, everyone and their dog is doing it. Literally, I’ve heard dogs do it. But there’s a good reason for it: it’s amazing. And since Paddle Boarding originates in Polynesia, the very part of the world we were in (Bora Bora), I figured it was high time I give this a try.

For those who haven’t done it; a Paddle Board is a giant surfboard. You stand on it and paddle. Simple as that. It is very sturdy so you don’t need the balance of a tightrope walker. You just stand up and paddle. I’m sure actual paddle boarders would be appalled by this explanation but it worked for me.

Motoring around sans motor.

Motoring around sans motor.

It’s a great workout, a lot of fun, and just a relaxing way to get around. The caveat being that Bora Bora is probably the best place on earth to do this as it sits within a huge calm lagoon. There are almost no waves to throw off your balance (well most of the time) and it stays shallow forever. There are no worries about falling or getting too far out and getting tired; if that happens, just stand up on the ocean floor.

It’s a great way to see nature up close if you like that kind of thing. I quietly followed a stingray as it swam along the bottom. And if that doesn’t get you excited, just do it for the workout; I’m no personal trainer but I tried doing some push ups and crunches and between the muscles you always use for those and the core strength you build by keeping your balance, I felt like I got a better workout in 15 minutes than I would in an hour at the gym.

But wait, why am I going on about Paddle Boarding while this is supposed to be about yoga? Well, then I went back to yoga class and our instructor suggested we try our moves on the Paddle Boards…

Now I really liked the Paddle Boarding. And I really liked the Yoga. But the two together = magic. I’m admittedly a beginner yogi and a very-beginner paddle-boarder (as enclosed pictures demonstrate). But who cares, it’s just fun.

I experienced a connectedness with the ocean that I hadn’t felt since years before in Bali, where I spent a month surfing and scuba diving. Spending every day in the ocean, after a while I started to really feel the ocean. Sitting out on my surfboard before trying to catch a wave, I felt each wave as it went by me and just felt connected to the ocean. I hadn’t felt that in a long time but lying flat on the paddleboard and feeling the little waves as they went by, I started to feel that calm again.

Imagine looking up to a clear blue sky. Now think of how good it feels to stretch your muscles out until you feel completely alive. Now add in the rhythm of the ocean waves beneath you. Heaven. Or just about.

View from the board.

View from the board.

Strained attempt at a sun salutation.

Strained attempt at a sun salutation.

A Beginner's "wheel". A Beginner’s “wheel”.

And if all this ocean-nature-connectedness sounds too new-agey for you then try it for the workout. Why not? Except maybe if you can’t swim…then stick to the yoga studio. Or sharks, if there are sharks I would also stick with the yoga studio…but otherwise it’s good stuff.

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One thought on “Yogic Adventures Part II: Paddling in Paradise

  1. Pingback: Yogic Adventures Part II: Paddling in Paradise « Adventures in International Law

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