Paddleboard yoga offers full-body workout, fun summer exercise

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Eric J. Wallace, Pensacola News Journal
Published 4:37 p.m. CT June 11, 2018

In a summer when ambitious crossovers have hit movie theaters, a new outdoor activity is making its mark as a fun, relaxing hybrid.

Paddleboarding has long been a pastime of beachgoers in Pensacola while yoga has increased in popularity significantly over the past two decades. But the two activities crossed together?

“It just works your core a little bit more,” said Lisa Ertle, owner of Aloha Paddling Co. in Pensacola. “When you’re out paddling, it’s a full-body workout. When we do paddleboard yoga, we get a little bit of a paddle in to get warmed up and then we find a nice quiet spot and drop our anchors.”

It’s the “full yoga experience,” despite the lack of traditional mats and serene studio environments, according to Ertle.

“When you’re on a yoga mat on the ground, it’s way different than being on a paddleboard because you’ve got wind, water and the boards moving,” Ertle said. “So you’re having to balance not just on a flat, unmoving surface.

“You’ve really gotta pay attention to what you’re doing because you can get distracted by your surroundings and the next thing you know, you’re wet.”

Ertle said her classes are usually held at Bayview Park in Bayou Texar or in the sandbars of Little Sabine Bay, typically in the evening or early weekend mornings.

Classes at Little Sabine Bay allow instructors to hop into the water and adjust participants’ yoga poses as the classes are in session. That ensures the type of personal instruction many yoga fans have come to appreciate.

“I try to keep my groups small,” Ertle said. “Just because if you get too many people out there, then the yoga instructor can’t really pay attention to everybody.”

Ertle’s business has been on a slight hiatus recently as instructors have been on vacation, but she said she expects it to be back to the usual two to three classes per week by mid-June.

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