I don’t do normal yoga

… because it’s boring.

Two years ago, I did a spate of aerial yoga classes on an eight-class pass and determined I could get mildly nauseated when inverted and it strengthened my desire to try silks. A year ago, I did 10 “Yoga Barre” classes on a class card with Chopra Yoga which was a kind of hokey class.

A month ago, I started hot yoga on a 10-class pass at Bikram Yoga Vancouver, not far from my place.

At Bikram Yoga, in a studio set at 40 degrees Celcius, we go through a fixed set of 26 poses and I am relieved that some poses aren’t more than stretches. It is not so strenuous yet I haven’t tried to schedule any other physical activity on the same day. The amount that I sweat just amazes me but by the fourth and fifth class, it felt remarkably less hot than it was in classes before.

My first two classes were with Stephanie and her continuous chatter and encouragement carried me through the class. I tried a class with another instructor and was set straight to stick with Stephanie – many another voice talking incessantly for 90 minutes I cannot handle.

I like the challenge of the balance poses and despise the back bends but I know I need to push myself on the latter to not be prematurely old. During the seated series, I scramble like you wouldn’t believe to get the most out of the 20 seconds of shavasana. And I’ve learned to stop and focus on breathing to cool myself down.

Obviously I would not have photos from hot yoga. :)

Most recently, and as a one time thing, I did stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga on my fourth time out on a SUP.

My class was through Vancouver Water Adventures located at Kitsilano Beach, far more convenient than going to Jericho Beach on my other two Vancouver outings. It was possibly our last good summer weekend and the water was really still when we set out at 9 a.m.

The instructor likened the practice on SUP as like being on a wobble board but I much prefer getting some SUP and the wobble coming from waves. We paddled a little bit out and dropped sand anchors – bags filled with sand and sealed by velcro – so we didn’t float away from the group. We removed our ankle tethers and fastened them to our oars and took off our stinky life jackets and lay them on the nose of the boards. Only then, we were unencumbered to practice.

I’m a bit of a wimp about everything. The water is cold and uncomfortable. The sand tracked onto the board was gross and we got intimate with the board both lying back on it in shavasana and face down in child’s pose. I had to get over it and did at times.

We started with the seated poses before getting to standing ones. We did several vinyasa/sun salutations to get used to doing them on the SUP and would throw them in between sets. On one of the first balancing poses, a half warrior, one of the first-timers fell in. She was the only one who would fall in again and she also got motion sickness. I went prepared to get dunked but didn’t look forward to it.

When we did our first downward dog and I saw downtown clearly (Kits is the closest of the beaches to it) and the slightly hazy morning outline of the mountains – familiar sights – but upside down and bobbing on water, it was wild. Shavasana on SUP is my second favourite, after the one in aerial yoga where you’re in a cocoon.

I fought – and I think my core was the better for it – to not fall off the board during the poses. Sometimes, I could do the advanced version of a pose and found it more stable than the beginner version, like full camel pose and wheel pose instead of the bridge pose. But I was hopeless at the prep for headstand, dolphin pose. A headstand on SUP will not be happening.

I would do SUP yoga again and am reminded by this excursion of my affinity to water. Not so much I want to be out there weekly, but more than just once a summer! I like the component of being on the SUP – compared to kayaking which I also enjoy, I feel like a warrior all standing tall and paddling.

The instructor took photos with her camera phone and I provided her with my email address and even followed up two weeks later calling the office to remind her to email them – for promotional purposes. But no photos still. :(

On this day..