Friday June 9th 8:30pm - 10ish
The June Full Moon is also called the Full Strawberry Moon, symbolizing the ripening of local fruits. Because this full moon is the lowest of the year, it is likely to rise with an amber glow. Ahhhhhhh so beautiful.
Here's the plan,
Meet at Riverfront Park by 8:30pm for a leisurely paddle with the sunset and hope for clear skies as the moon rises over The Dalles. The forecast is improving slightly as the week progresses. Make plans to join us, perform your luck ritual of choice, and stay open to the possibilities.
You will want to park your vehicles in the The Dalles Marina lot. Please do not leave your car in Riverfront Park after dusk! We need to be thoughtful to Parks and Recreation workers who will be locking the gates.
Bring a light source. Glow sticks are great for keeping the group together. A more powerful light at the front of your board is a good way to be seen by boat traffic, headlamp, flashlight, cell phone in a clear waterproof box (my favorite) are all great options.
The current continues to run fast and the water is still cold so wearing your leashes and PFDs is strongly encouraged!
If you do not have your own board, you can rent one for $20 (reservations are REQUIRED, sign up now).
I used a hashtag the other day that I can't believe I've never used before. #yogaforpaddleboarders
I spend all summer doing restorative and active postures to heal and prepare my body for hours on the water. Shoulders certainly reign supreme on the list of needs but one area we don't hear about as much when chatting SUP (but deserve full attention) are the hips.
So I'm sharing a little variation that I just love, on land AND on the SUP.
The hip opening of Cow Face (Gomukhasana) legs with the shoulder goodness of Eagle (Garudasana) arms.
In my practice, Eagle arms offer a more restorative variation than Cow Face arms which I love to practice for opening the chest and strengthening the space between the shoulder blades, but for this post, let's give some love to the upper back space.
Start by warming up the body. Maybe the paddle out, some Sun Salutations and a Lizard Pose will do it. If you're relatively open in the hips, consider yourself fortunate :) if you're holding some tightness, you'll want to ease in slow.
Sit with your legs stretched long in front of you. Bring your left foot up and over to the outside of your right hip. How does your left knee feel? If it's sharp, release your leg and grab a block to sit on. Revisit the set-up and add to it by bringing your right foot under and to the left hip. If it feels safe, stack your knees on top of each other. If it hurts, back out until you feel "good". Relative, I know.
Once you get your legs set up, settle into your seat and breathe.
Add the arms. With an inhale, sweep your arms up and with an exhale, cross them at the elbows, left arm under right. Maybe you're able to wrap the forearms around and bring the palms to touch. Maybe not. You could cross the elbows and reach for opposite shoulder as a great modification.
Once your arms find their variation, gently bring your elbows up, in line with your shoulders, and forward to feel the stretch shift around your shoulder blades. Breathe and breathe some more.
If you're feeling tense or overly compressed, shift the posture a bit. This is meant to be a restorative moment. Giving back to your body 💚
If you feel like going a little deeper, a forward fold will really change the sensation.
Inhale. Draw your belly up and in a bit and prepare to curl into a Cat spine. Chin towards chest, elbows towards belly, forarms toward legs. You may even find rest as you soften your forehead to your arms and completely release any holding in your upper body. Your hips will need revisiting too! Use your breath to soften and open space throughout your body.
When you're ready, ease out gently and set up for the other side. Stack your right leg this time over your left and wrap your right arm under your left arm. It is likely that you'll feel some spatial differences between sides (most of us have some imbalances within the body) so stay attentive and make adjustments as needed.
Let me know how this posture variation feels and keep practicing, all season long, to support your paddling!
There is something to be said for familiarity when it comes to paddleboarding. When we explore the same spots over and over, we build a unique relationship to the surroundings. We can track the migration of birds, the progression of vegetation growth, the ever changing water levels.
There is also a sense of security when we launch from our usual spots, which is especially important when you're paddling alone.
All that said, new territory can be thrilling. I honestly never see a body of water these days without thinking about its SUP-able qualities. Is there a reasonable entry? How far do I have to carry my board? Is the water deep enough for a fin? Does it feel safe for my skill level? Can my SUP buddies get off work? :)
Enough yes's = fun times ahead
If you're looking for a unique SUP experience, Disappearing Lake in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is it!
The drive up is a piece of cake, once the snow melts from the roads. It literally took us three attempts to make it to the lake. The high fives and "YEAHS" were flying!
Check road status on the US Forest Service website.
Visit Outdoor Project for a great map and information.
There is also a great story on OPB that explains just how the lake is formed and subsequently drained each year.
If you're reading this, you're obviously contemplating some float time before the summer heat sets in. AWESOME!
Spring is a great season to be on the water. One of my favorite sights is a sweet row of fuzzy yellow goslings being led along the shoreline by a couple of proud parents. So cute!
The Osprey are out in full force as well, fishing and collecting nest material. I could watch those birds for hours.
A little more attention to prep is all you need for a safer Spring SUP session. Most of these should already be part of your FLAT WATER paddling routine but reminders never hurt...
#1. Leash - It's too easy, too comfortable, too important to skip. Even if you're not (intentionally) out in windy conditions, the spring current is fast! Your board can get away from you quicker than you think. The best way to keep an outing fun and safe is to stay out of the 50+ degree water as much as possible.
#2. PFD - No explanation needed, right? Just wear it 💚
#3. Clothing - O.K., this always comes up when I'm talking about paddling. Wet suits are solid protection. If you have one, wear it but be aware of overheating. If you're not wearing a wet suit try form fitting, synthetic materials. Think warm but breathable so you're not soaked with sweat and bring a change of clothes in a dry bag! If you do fall in, it doesn't have to ruin your session. You can change right on the board or paddle to the nearest shore, throw modesty to the wind and get out of those cold clothes!
#4. H20 - Anytime of the year, stay hydrated!
#5. Know the conditions - This is a big one. Spring means lots of extra water and that means currents that are much stronger than you saw at the end of last summer. Be aware of your ability level vs the pull of the current down river. It's fun to ride the current but hard work to paddle against it. Plan a one-way paddle or stay in protected, wider areas on the river if you feel like a more mellow session.
#6. Communication - Easy. Just tell someone where you're going! If it changes, text an update. Toss your fully charged cell phone in a waterproof bag or case. Your phone can double as a flashlight and sound maker/SOS call.
#7. Be prepared - This is a suggestion rather than a safety issue. If your board has been in hiding all winter, you could possibly get a little surprise once you're on the water. Dings that sing. Fins that are loose. Add a patch kit and multi tool to your SUP bag so you can make simple preventative repairs on the fly.
Have fun getting back on the water!!
Sometimes the intention is just as important as the asana or posture.
I almost always start my classes by asking you to set an intention or connect with an existing intention. I think intentions take just as much repetition and practice as any yoga pose to become solid and rooted.
So where and when do you start?
How about right now. You obviously have a moment to stop and read this, so let's do it.
Don't overthink it. We're not pouring concrete, just planning a path.
What area in your life offers you a great amount of happiness and growth? What about it gives you joy?
That's it! Two questions to sit, drive, stand, paddle, and ponder.
When you answer those two questions, offer your deepest gratitude to however that came into your life and commit to nurturing its value. As you fill your heart and mind with what makes you happy, you leave less space for things that don't.
The path has to start somewhere. As you practice and build your intention, you'll likely hit rocks and holes in the path. Be kind to yourself. Take a step back. Breathe in perspective. Breathe out intention. Eventually the two will meet and you'll be moving forward again. :)
An intention story, Part 1
Intentions don't have to be super deep or spiritual, they just need to bring your heart joy.
At the beginning of Summer this year, I decided I would paddle Wallowa Lake in eastern Oregon. I had only seen pictures but was totally inspired by its beauty. Intention set.
After an extremely busy Summer, I was getting anxious that I may not fit the trip in. I had been dissecting my calendar one night and like the best of serendipitous moments, my friend Sarah sent me a text suggesting a day trip to Wallowa Lake. A day trip?!? It's a 4+ hour drive, one way. Hahaha. YES! I'm in!
Minor detail, there are devastating forest fires burning out of control all over the state, including eastern Oregon. In fact, the days leading up to our trip, The Gorge (my home) was covered in a thick blanket of smoke.
We went anyway. I should add that we researched the fire lines and knew we were very safe from any danger. You're welcome Mom. :)
The quality of the air was "very unhealthy", a rating determined by Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality. At times during the drive, I even felt a little sick but we both held hope that the smoke would thin out and the lake would offer its reputable epicness.
When we arrived at the north end of the lake, Sarah laughed. "Believe it or not, we are surrounded by mountains", she said. I believed her. I could see the faintest outline of peaks through the smoke to the west.
We were both staring at the lake with a hint of disappointment but I think also a bit of sadness that our beloved state was losing the battle with the flames.
We didn't say much. Just unloaded our boards and hit the water. THAT WATER! I hadn't counted on the clarity and beauty of the lake itself. I had never paddled on water like that. The glacial silt gives it a blue tint. It reminded me of the Caribbean waters that I love.
Suddenly there was a shift in my perception.
Breathe in perspective. Breathe out intention.
I wasn't meant to experience a magazine cover or an Instagram photo. I was meant to experience this very real Oregon wonder for what it is.
....to be continued
Reasons to love this posture for SUP : To lay back and float with eyes closed, releasing every ounce of doing...it's blissful.
Modifications : Hmmm. See "Reasons to love this posture". No doing. No modifications.
Personal Notes : See "Modifications" :)
Do you get where I'm going?
The challenge to this posture is letting go. Physical movement, visual movement, mental movement, all comes to a halt.
The eyes should close. If you're on the water, make sure you're in a safe zone. Anchored and out of boat traffic! Seriously, don't tune out the world in a hazardous way.
In a traditional Savasana/yoga practice, we're learning to resist sound and movement but let's be real. There is nothing traditional about SUP Yoga.
Be one with the sound and movement!
Find peace in the songs of the birds, the warmth of the sun, the gentle roll of waves under your board. As you lay there, in time and practice, the senses will relax too. You'll become the song and the sun, the water and the wind. This is Savasana.
Reasons to love this pose for SUPing : It's FUN and it feels great to open this twist up and trust that as you drop your gaze back, you'll keep floating.
Modifications : Stay low on the back knee to mellow the balance aspect.
Personal notes : I love sweeping the top arm forward and back, over head and all around. This flowing arm movement feels great in the shoulders and creates a bit of momentum to lift the hips.
Start in a low lunge.
Set up your alignment, right knee above the right ankle. Left leg stretched out long behind you. Heel-toe the right foot away from center so that your base is opening up. Pick up the right toes and pivot them out towards the right rail of your board. Take a couple breaths before moving on.
With both hands on the board, tuck the left toes under and press up, off of the left knee. Now the left leg is engaged and energized.
With an inhale, start to pick the right hand up and reach it towards the sky. Maintain awareness of the left toes, left hand, and right foot. These are the contact points that keep your balance so trying to distribute your weight evenly will be important.
My favorite variation is to pivot on to the outer edge of the left foot. This change of footing ups the challenge but allows you to open the twist more. Think Side Plank in that left foot. Press actively through the left heel and use the motion of pressing down (at your contact points) to lift the hips up. Check in with the right toes repeatedly. Keep them active to support the right knee.
Once you've established your base, explore some movement through the (top) arm. Reach up and maybe back, opening the chest towards the sky. Reach towards the tail of your board then arc the arm overhead towards the nose, building a strong lifting sensation (my personal favorite). Or simply find stillness.
When you're ready, roll back out of the twist to your low lunge and into downward facing dog or take a Vinyasa to reset for the other side.
Reasons to love this pose for SUPing : A killer stretch for the arches of the feet and forearms.
Modifications : Respect the knees! If you feel any sharp sensations, this is not your pose today. Tap out the toes as needed.
Personal notes : I love so many things about this posture. The stretch on the bottom of the feet feels amazing both mid paddle and after long SUP sessions.
The variation of Anjali Mudra is really nice for warming up the wrists and forearms before practicing your arm balances. It also helps to get your carrying grip back in shape if you took the winter off.
Sit on the heels with the toes tucked under. Knees together. Draw the hip bones back a smidge to keep the spine long and notice if you're holding weight off the heels. Do your best to let those hips stay heavy. You'll get a deeper stretch in both the feet and the thighs.
With an inhale, sweep the arms overhead and bring the palms to touch. Exhale as you bring the palms to the heart. Move through another round of breath. As that next exhale breath comes around, slowly turn the finger tips out from the chest and rotate down towards your thighs.
Take some time and intention to press the knuckles of the thumbs together, then move to the index fingers, then the middle fingers and so on. Notice the changes in sensation that move throughout the hands, wrists and forearms.
When you're ready to release, inhale the finger tips back up and exhale as you bring your hands down to the board or mat. Release the toes and give them a nice tapping. I like to dip them in the water.
Be gentle with yourself. This pose can be a little uncomfortable to start. Stay in the pose and breathe deeply for as long as you can.
Release and maybe repeat a few times, changing up your arm stretch (Eagle Arms, Reverse Namaskar, Cow Face) or let the arms relax in your lap.
Reasons to love this posture for SUP :
When water temps are uncomfortably low, seated postures are your go to! This seated fold opens up the back of the leg and the inner thigh, stretches the back, and calms the mind. It feels great after a long paddle session. With a slight twist variation, it can help open the front of the shoulders.
If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knee.
Personal notes :
I love the sensation of movement when floating this pose. I'll even rock my board from side to side a little.
It literally took me years to find this posture with consistency. You may notice that tight hamstrings encourage rounding the spine. If that's happening, come back up and re-enter the fold slowly, stopping at the point where you feel the resistance. Breathe there and let space open slowly.
Start by bringing the sole of the left foot to the inner right thigh, find extension down the right leg as you press through the heel and flex the toes. Establish a strong rooted sensation in your lower half as you stretch the arms overhead, inhaling. Gently pivot the hips to the right, lining up with the extended leg.
Approach the fold from the pelvis. Tilt the hip bones forward, tailbone back, inhale length up the entire spine. Reaching long through the arms and the crown of the head can help keep the spine long. With an exhale, go for a grip below the right foot. Remember to stay attentive to what's happening in your spine.
If you're noticing more rounding than lengthening in the fold, come back up and explore the fold a few times. See how it feels to bend the knee.
Stay here in your fold for at least five breaths. Check in with the right leg. If it's straight, keep that energy moving by continuing to flex the toes. Use your inhale breath to lengthen and your exhale breath to deepen.
Before you come out of the fold completely, you may like to try a gentle twist. Bring your left hand to the outer edge of your right foot. Sweep your right arm out and back behind you. Keep the chest low or lift up to change the sensation of the twist. Hold here for several breaths. Reverse the steps to come out of the posture.
I love a small counter twist to the left here.
Of course, swap the legs and visit the other side.
Reasons to love this posture for SUP : It increases LEG STRENGTH and HIP FLEXIBILITY. Requires core engagement, balance, and concentration.
Modifications : Listen to your knees and ankles here. Start mellow and progress only as your body approves.
Personal notes : The "figure 4 twist" variation takes patience my friends. You'll fall out a few times, or every time, but keep working on it. You can do it.
Start by finding your Chair Pose. Hold for several breaths. Come back to standing.
Prepare for Figure 4 by bringing your right ankle above your left knee, gently releasing the right knee out to the side. Keep your right foot flexed. Take your arms overhead with an inhale, then bend the left knee and exhale as you lower into your chair. Palms at heart center (picture at top of this page). Hold for several breaths.
Explore the twist here by taking the chest forward before bringing the right elbow to the sole of the right foot.
The gaze gets tricky. Keep it on one spot towards the top of your mat. To add an extra challenge, slowly transition your gaze up past your left shoulder. Again, hold the posture for several breaths before unwinding and returning to standing. A forward fold feels really great here too!
Remember your patience and have fun with this one.
Thanks to the kid and Mother Nature for helping out with this post. 💚