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Indoor paddleboard yoga at Riverton Pool in Portland this January

Indoor paddleboard yoga at Riverton Pool in Portland this January

Indoor SUP yoga portland maine

I like that we live in a state where we experience the full expression of four distinct seasons. (No weather dictatorship here!) The downside is that each fall, as the air temperature starts to tank, we have to put our summer toys away. Paddleboards and kayaks find themselves suddenly abandoned in basements, garages, and that uncomfortable gap between the house and a row of conifers. All we can offer them is a pat on the nose and a “See you next spring.”

And for folks who said, “THIS is the summer I finally try [insert summer paddle sport here],” fall is a time of sad realization. You never did try paddleboard yoga. You totally wanted to. And now it’s too late.

Indoor SUP Yoga
Indoor SUP Yoga class at Riverton Pool in Portland. Shannon Bryan photo

Except it isn’t.

Ashley Flowers, a Portland yoga instructor who led twilight yoga in Deering Oaks and outdoor yoga at Payson Park (along with other classes), has found a way to extend the season. Kinda.

While indoor pools don’t allow much room for long-distance paddling, there happens to be just enough space for paddleboard yoga.

There’s space for 12 students in each session. Shannon Bryan photo

It’s a chance to keep a little bit of summer going inside and a chance for beginners to give it a try in a place that’s notably less daunting than open water.

“We did this in Casco Bay (last summer),” said Ashley. “And for some people who are new to yoga or paddleboarding, being out in the elements was a little too much.”

Yoga on a paddleboard challenges your balance – even with movements that don’t seem so challenging on land. Shannon Bryan photo
It also feels really good stretch and float. Shannon Bryan photo

With indoor paddleboard yoga, you’re getting a similar experience, sans ocean currents, wind, and really cold water.

It looks like this:

The boards (actual SUP boards, lent by Portland Paddle, and not to be confused with the inflatable rectangles seen in the Aquaphysical video that made the rounds online a while back, although those look hella fun, too) are anchored to the lane ropes and the sides of the pool.

It’s just like your typical yoga class, said Ashley (the pool notwithstanding). “We’ll start with centering and breathing and slowly work out way to seated and kneeling poses, then standing poses.” And always, you choose what you’re comfortable doing. (But you’ll probably surprise yourself.)

A three-legged dog feels different on the water. Shannon Bryan photo

“Being out on the water is amazing, but the pool is the next best thing,” Ashley said. “Water plus yoga is such a wonderful, calming experience, especially in winter when we get tense because it’s cold and dark.”

Besides, she added, yoga is good for your bod. And if this kind of unique class is what gets you to get into yoga, then even better.

Find your zen in the pool. Shannon Bryan photo

The class runs on Tuesday nights from 7:40 p.m. to 8:35 p.m. starting January 2 at Riverton Pool in Portland.

The session is six weeks long and costs $110 for Portlanders and $135 for non-Portlanders. There are only 12 spots in the class, so advanced registration is required and there are no drop-ins. Register here: portlandrec.com

Things to note: Wear attire you’re okay with getting wet. You will need to get into the pool to get onto your board, so take that into consideration. Swimsuits, sports bras, running shorts, wicking shirts, whatever.

And if you’re entirely new to yoga and/or paddleboarding and wondering if the SUP yoga combo is too much for a first-timer, it isn’t. In fact, this is a remarkably fun way to learn something new.

Indoor SUP yoga

7:40-8:35 p.m. Tuesdays Jan. 2-Feb. 6 at Riverton Pool in Portland
$110 Portland residents, $135 non-Portland residents
FMI and to register: register.capturepoint.com

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you!! I was tentative to sign up for the summer classes for fear of ending up in the cold Casco Bay! That and I was busy all summer doing yoga at the goat farm, of course. (I saw you there one happy Thursday!). Anyway, I’m signed up and so grateful you posted this. Should be fun!

    1. I’m so glad to hear it! And yes, I totally remember your amazing energy and goat-yoga enthusiasm! It was great to meet you – and I hope you enjoy the class!

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