July 2, 2012
At Canton, Ct.
On a pleasant evening, a group of 11 people floated down the Farmington River on stand-up paddle boards. You may have seen paddle boards – they are like long, wide surfboards. You stand atop and paddle. Or, as this group did on a recent night, you paddle for awhile and then practice yoga atop your board.
It was one of the first manifestations of paddle boarding and yoga in Connecticut, a fusion of the rapidly growing new paddle sport with the ancient practice of yoga. Paddle board yoga sessions began on the Farmington River in late June, a collaboration of Collinsville Canoe & Kayak, which rents and sells paddle boards, and the neighboring Yoga Center of Collinsville.
Paddle boarding in recent years has boomed nationwide with board sales soaring. “We’ve tripled our sales from three years ago,” said Jon Warner, who owns the canoe and kayak shop with his wife, Sue. The latest trend, seen now from California to Florida to Connecticut, combines paddle boarding and yoga. It is increasingly popular, with classes on the Farmington getting larger each week.
Cedar waxwings and tree swallows soared overhead as yoga teacher Laura Thomas led the session, beginning with more simple poses and working up to more challenging poses. The classes are open to anyone, even those who have no paddle board or yoga experience. Teachers take the skill levels of participants into account as they lead students through poses atop their boards.