Students tested their balance and summoned their inner yogi as they sat atop paddle boards and practiced popular yoga poses in the Student Recreation Center pool on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The class opened up with about 15 minutes for participants to warm up to the board and find their footing. Some people took control of the paddle board right away while others slipped and fell into the lukewarm water, laughing at themselves and at their friends.
Yoga instructors Victoria Rawden, Rachel Kornmann and Camryn Chernick led the class as determined students attempted to and often succeeded at mimicking their movements.
The poses varied from easy and relaxing to contortions of sorts as the class transitioned into more complex positions. Students went into a pose called wheel, which requires those involved to lay down, plant their feet, reach their hands over their heads and push up into a back bend.
As the students strengthened their cores and tested their new skills, the water below moved and made ripples that resulted in soothing sounds. There was also soft and earthly music playing, setting the tone in the background as the instructors gave directions and positive affirmations.
While apprehensive at first, senior business administration major Rawden said she had a fun time instructing the class.
“[Yoga] relieves stress,” Rawden said. “Yoga itself is good to be practicing for your body but to do it on the paddle board in the water is just fun.”
Senior accounting major Abigail Way reflected on her mindset going into the class versus her experience afterward.
“I was very excited, I take yoga once a week,” Way said. “I thought I was going to fall off a lot more than I did because I lack balance. I go to yoga to make my balance better.”
Considering that Way only fell once, her spirits were high as she said she would sign up for paddle board yoga again.
Kornmann, a graduate student at Montclair State University, reflected on the benefits of the class.
“It’s awesome to make people smile and laugh,” Kornmann said. “It takes out the seriousness.”
Sophomore public relations major Chernick highlighted the differences between standard yoga practices and paddle board yoga. She said that in a typical yoga class, the overall vibe is more relaxed and easier to get into stretches, whereas paddle board yoga requires more focus on maintaining balance in order to not fall in the water.
“It allows people to test their limits a little more and explore and challenge themselves,” Chernick said. “They’re not focusing so much on being zen, they are connecting themselves in a different way.”
At the end of the class, instructors and students alike gathered to chat about their time spent together. Rawden even revealed some pertinent information about the pinky toe’s role in the act of balance.
“Your body is super active, your pinky toes are actually what keep you stable,” Rawden said. “If you lose a pinky toe you won’t be able to balance [on the paddle board].”
The next paddle board yoga sessions will be held in the rec center on Nov. 20 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.