How Good Is Your Downward Dog?

You’ll never know until you try doing it on a standup paddle board
BY: LACEY STORER

You know that Cabo offers just about every kind of water sport and activity possible. But did you know that includes standup paddle board yoga? Walk along Medano Beach around 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and you’ll likely see a group of yogis, about 20 feet from the shore in front of Tio Sports and ME Cabo, doing poses on their boards.

The classes are led by Karla Garcia, a local yoga teacher who first started doing SUP yoga six years ago. Paddle boarding was still pretty new in Cabo but was gaining popularity. She saw something about SUP yoga online and thought, “We have to do that here.” Practicing yoga on the water offers an experience that traditional yoga classes just can’t match.

 “It’s amazing how you can be practicing yoga while watching the sea lions and the birds and feeling the wind,” Garcia says. By doing yoga outside, you absorb the energy of the environment, she says, which energizes you. People in her class come off the board with their hearts pumping and huge smiles on their faces.

If you want to give SUP yoga a try but are worried because you’ve never done yoga or paddle boarding before, don’t be. The paddleboards are very buoyant and wide so you have a fair amount of stability. The class starts with students in a sitting position on the board, warming up with some breathing exercises while they get used to the motion of the waves. From there, they move into the yoga poses.

“People are surprised by how fun and how easy it can be,” Garcia says. “It’s easier than it looks.” She says that once students realize it’s not as difficult as they expected, they start testing their limits to see how far they can push themselves. And why not, what’s the worst that can happen? If you fall off the board, you just fall into the water.

Garcia says it can actually be good if people fall in, because the cool water gives their system a bit of a shock and reenergizes them. And once people fall off, they’re no longer worried about falling so they are more relaxed and free while they’re moving through the poses. Garcia always tells students that if they start to feel unbalanced, they should simply release the pose and then start again.

Participants do traditional yoga poses in the class; Garcia doesn’t modify anything to make it easier. “It’s just that the mat becomes the board and the classroom is nature,” she says. The boards are tethered to buoys, so while they might change position in the water, you don’t have to worry about them from floating out to China.

To Garcia, SUP yoga is more than just another recreational activity, it’s also a good analogy for life. “You’re trying to find balance on your board, and you’re trying to find balance in life,” she says.

While there are a few others who have held SUP yoga classes in the area, Garcia says they teach sporadically because they don’t live here full time. As far as she knows, she’s the only full time resident teaching SUP yoga in Los Cabos. A Google search for “SUP yoga Cabo” would agree; while there are lots of places that offer either SUP or yoga, Garcia’s Facebook page is the only site that pops up that offers the two combined.

Although Garcia has an established yoga following, she says it’s been hard getting a regular group together to practice SUP yoga. Many of the people who take the class are tourists who are only here for a week, and most locals work so much that it’s hard to fit the class into their schedules.

SUP yoga classes last an hour, with another 15 minutes for cool down. And there’s always a photo session at the end of each class, so you can show all your friends just how good your water yoga skills are. Well, it will show that you’re still on top of board.

Classes are $55 per person (although Garcia does offer group discounts) and must be booked in advance. You can make your reservations by messaging Garcia through her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SuPYogaCabo or emailing her at supyogacabo@gmail.com. ,