Stretch While You Sup
The first time that Kelsey Barden combined her two long-time hobbies — yoga and stand-up paddleboarding — she was instantly hooked.
“I was in the sun, on the ocean — I was like, ‘this is amazing, I wish I could do this every day,'” she recalls. “Then I sort of had this epiphany, well, I can do this every day.”
So she started SUP yoga company Yoga Floats, which celebrated its grand opening last month. Launching from Ala Moana Beach near Magic Island, classes begin with meditation, seated poses and stretching before moving into balancing and modified yoga poses. There also is time for students to play around with their own poses and head-stands, followed by a reflective wind-down period.
“Yoga brings you this calming, peaceful, reflective state of mind, but rather than being in a studio with four walls, you are outside in a beautiful place,” Barden says. “The water is clear and warm and generally there are blue skies and sunshine most days. That element of being outside is really what I love about it.”
Barden founded Yoga Floats not just as a way to do what she loves daily, but also to share the practice with others in an accessible, affordable way. When she first heard about SUP yoga classes, she was excited to give it a try — until she found out how expensive it could be.
“It just wasn’t in my budget,” recalls Barden, who previously was a first-grade teacher at a Kapolei school. “It was the type of thing that I could do once or twice a year — but it wouldn’t be something that I could do every week.
“I want to appeal to tourists who are here on vacation and want to try something new — but at the same time, I’d really like to connect with some local people who make it part of their routine,” she adds.
As part of making the classes accessible, Barden also has made it suitable for any skill level. For some students, her class is the first time they have ever been on a SUP.
“A lot of the people that I have had so far have zero paddling experience and limited yoga experience — and they can all do it,” Barden says.
“People seem to think it’s incredibly hard and completely out of their realm of possibility. And I tell a lot of people that it’s much easier than you would think, actually,” she adds. “And it’s just a lot of fun.”
MULTI-CLASS PACKAGES AND KAMAAINA RATES ALSO ARE AVAILABLE. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 585-1917 OR VISIT YOGAFLOATS.COM.