Sit comfortably, keep your back and nech straight and push your shoulers down so they can relax. Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Now for a few moments focus on your breathing, without forcing the breath, just observe and let it flow naturally.
This is how I usually start my SUP Yoga class, on the clear blue Caribbean water. After breathing consciously, by focusing on the nose, throat, chest and ultimately ending with belly breathing, I take my students on a discovery of the senses. It goes like this:
We bring our awareness to all the bodyparts that are touching the board, feeling how our weight is pressing into the board and enjoy the soft toplayer of the board. Aruba is known for its good wind, so we enjoy how the breeze caresses our body. Our skin is being kissed by the sun and our body is being rocked by the see, up and down, gently on the rhytm of the ocean. This consciousness brings us in a state of extreme relaxtion. The movement of the sea is very soothing.
I invite my students to focus on each sound they are hearing individually. This can be children playing and laughing in the distance, the blowing of the wind, the sound of the sea touching our boards or far away birds that are singing their morning song.
The smell is a tricky one, because the Arubian sea doesn’t have a particular smell. It doesn’t smell like fish or boat engines… We might smell breakfast that is being prepared in a hotel nearby – if the wind is blowing in the right direction – or we just might smell our own sunlotion.
Consciously using the tastebuds to identify whatever flavours there are to discover in our mouth. A leftover tea or coffee aroma, a bit of toothpaste or maybe we can even taste the saltyness of the sea. This is a good exercise for mindful eating or drinking.
Even tough we have our eyes closed, we can bring our attention to the area in between our eyebrows, where our third eye resides. Let’s look inside and try to see what our intuition – that what the eye can’t see – is telling us. It might be a fragment of a dream from last night or maybe you are still processing something that happended just before yoga or maybe you are even visualising something you are about to do later. We hardly take enough time to sit in silence, with eyes closed, to feel whatever is happening deep within.
You could see this journey along the senses as a mindfulness exercise and you can practice this even on a regular yogamat or at home on your meditation pillow, on the couch or even in the office during your break.
The effect of this short guided meditation is experienced differently when performed on a paddleboard. You are so much more aware of all movements and of your senses.
Even the yoga practice itself is more challenging and you are much more focused. Imagine how you feel during a regular savasana. Take that feeling and multiply it by 4. Why by 4? Because of the water, the wind and the sun. Three extra elements to deepen your relaxation.
Hope to see you on the water someday!