Standup Paddle Yoga and Fitness Teacher Training

We thank Team Writer Tiffany for sharing with us her recent awesome experience in Laguna Beach for SUP Yoga and Fitness training. Curious about the cool things they covered? And the amazing instructors? So were we! ~CP

SUP Yoga TrainingHow do you combine your most favorite activities like paddling, yoga and fitness into one sport? Do it all on the board for the most awesome workout! Over the last year I have really gotten into the sport of Standup Paddling and also my yoga practice over the last two years. So taking the next step - wait, I should say paddle into my practice, I decided to go right into a teacher training that would combine all my loves into one; and be able to share that stoke of it all to others. After doing some research for a teacher training in the Orange County (CA) area, I found that the training offered by Sunset Standup Paddle out of Laguna Beach would be the best for me due to my location was only a 20 minute drive over the next three days.

The training was lead by the ever so talented and well rounded teacher/coach/yogi/paddler/athlete Erin O’Malley, who has had many years experience as a professional snowboarder, yoga instructor and paddler in both ocean and rivers. Also leading the training was Michelle Gierst, GM of Olympus SUP in Redondo Beach, Yoga Instructor/Paddler/Paddle Fitness Coach/Business women. Between these two amazing ladies we were in good hands and in store for a board load of fun.

Over the next three days, the five of us trainees we in for a lot of knowledge, sup intro and training, yoga, water time and some bellyaching laughs. Day one gave us time to introduce ourselves and get to know a little about each other, and where we are coming from in our yoga and paddle practice; as well as what we are looking to achieve in this training. After introductions, we all made our way down to the beach for a mind, body and soul opening yoga session. Even though we had all practiced yoga for some years this was the first time the beach was my studio, sand between my toes and the ocean as a view. It was one of the most amazing practices I have had. The next line of business was learning the types of boards, shapes, volumes, sizes needed for SUP Yoga, SUP Fitness, General Paddling, Racing, and more.     

Mid-day of day one was a bit on the bigger surf side; our instructors were erring on the side of caution and decided to take a field trip to calmer waters. Also, it gave some of the ladies who have never loaded a board on a car a good opportunity to try it. The field trip location to calmer waters allowed for us to learn the techniques of launching a client who has never set foot on a board, paddle stroke, paddle turning, and of course how to add all we have learned in the studio and bring it to the water. We did a simple vinyasa flow and all of us managed to stay dry as well. After a few hours of paddling and SUP yoga we were all worn out, which made those heavy boards even more heavy to load up. Day one was a fun and long one but a blast.

Day two was a full day as well. We went strait into getting the boards and gear on the water. Learning how to time the waves and safely get through the choppy surf was a new experience for a few of the ladies. The early morning winds were already on the water with a combo/ground swell making for some interesting timing, but we all made it through the surf safely. We continued to practice the techniques we learned the day before, including proper paddle strokes, turns, and some basic yoga poses. Then the time came to learn how to time coming back into the beach safely as well. Choppy winds well waves made it a little interesting but we all once again made it in safely. After lunch we went back to the beach to do practice training, round-robin style two at a time; we practiced guiding out a potential client(s) through the surf and coming back in through the surf as well. We all learned great ways to teach each other and what we “forgot to tell the Client” after it was all said and done. We had a few laughs and learned a lot for day 2 and were eager to get back on the water to do the full experience the next day.

Night two was a night we all got together to checkout one of the small shops in Laguna Beach called Soul Project. The shop was having another one of its usual small parties that was showing off a local perfume, sales of yoga and surf wear, tasty cheese and snacks were provided with some wine and Libra Tequila. After a long day of paddling, learning and laughs we were famished. We headed to La Serina Grill for some healthy and very tasty Mexican food. We shared many stories and laughs that kept us up till the later hours of the night before we all headed for the bed.

Day three started off great, we had finally gotten a window in the morning where there was almost no wind and the swell had dropped to a small 1-3 feet. We quickly got the gear ready to launch the boards.  We were on our own to make the in and out of the surf without any instruction and told to talk out the directions as if we were telling a potential client. After we all were out of the surf zone we broke up to two groups and did a round robin training session of 10-15 mins each and we all had a great time and learned so much from each other and how to present what we already know from our own yoga practice. It was a much different experience than the few days prior on the flat water, the swell – even though small – and wind made the workout harder than we realized it would be. We also practiced all the turning styles as well before we headed back into the beach, once again we were on our own of getting back into the beach safely.

After a well-deserved lunch break we had our great instructors Michelle and Erin talk about the business of the Sup Yoga and Fitness; including how to get started, insurance and permit needs and what is expected of us going forward. Then back into the water for safety training. We learned multiple ways to get a client back to shore when they are tired or need assistance, back on the board if they cant get back on the board on their own and other water safety. After all that paddling, teaching and hauling boards, we were stoked to get back to the Laguna Riviera Hotel and soak our tired bodies in a Jacuzzi before it was time to pack up and head home.

A big thank you to Michelle and Erin for being such awesome instructors, Laguna Riviera Beach Resort, Soul Project, Glide SUP, Local Honey, Raw Elements, Quest Bars, and all the lovely ladies who were out there on the water!   

Team Writer Tiffany TudykTeam Writer Tiffany Tudyk - "If there is water, I will paddle it (it may not always be as graceful as some)." Tiffany is fairly new to paddling, but has done well in the sport so far. She is an all-around water person, enjoying stand up paddling, OC1, OC6, prone, surf sup and surfing and standup paddle yoga. Being on the water is just so addicting, and a place of peace, a place to gather with friends and family in an environment that is like no other. That's what makes paddling so special.

Tiffany plans on attending every race possible in California and beyond to experience not only the race aspect of it but everything else that goes with it in 2017.

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