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“The first time I got on a paddleboard, I immediately thought, ‘I should do yoga on this!’” says Jessica Bellofatto, one of the pioneers of paddleboard yoga, a class that is now at the top of every fitness type’s summer bucket list.
After a short lesson on stance and paddling form from Paddle Diva’s Gina Bradley, we got on our boards in East Hampton’s Shagwong Marina. Bellofatto, a charismatic teacher with an easy laugh, led us on a 15-minute paddle along the shore line, while offering tips to help us move more efficiently.
Then, we stopped in a quiet corner of the bay for yoga, which, by the way, is not a gimmicky session of a few quick poses. Bellofatto taught a regular vinyasa class, moving us through sun salutations, standing poses, and even attempts at headstand and full wheel. The flow is slower than on land, as every move requires an incredible amount of focus and balance.
The harder, asymmetrical poses, like high lunge and warrior II, were accompanied by the occasional splash of a yogi who lost her balance. Overall though, the poses were surprisingly doable on the board, and involuntary dips in the bay were welcome, as it cooled us off and also loosened us up. (Once you realize falling in is not a big deal, your fear of moving freely dissipates.)
At the end, the best savasana you’ve ever had awaits you—hands floating in the water, the sun warming your face and body, and the sounds of gentle waves and birds chirping. When we opened our eyes, Bellafatto instructed us to paddle back to the marina in meditative silence, which wasn’t hard since we were all still in a state of blissful calm.
Who’s it for: Anyone looking for summer fun, yogis looking for a balance challenge
Book it or skip it: Book it!
$65 for drop-in ($35 with own board), Thursdays and Saturdays in the Hamptons, Thursdays on the North Fork, www.jessicabellofattoyoga.com