PADDLEBOARD YOGA IN GENEVA
by Chené Koscielny
If you’re into yoga (and even if you’re not) and you don’t mind getting wet, paddleboard yoga is a fun way to tone your core, arm and leg muscles and relax your mind.
Familiar postures like downward dog, upward dog and camel pose become a totally different ball-game when you’re also trying to balance on what turns out to be quite a narrow board on constantly moving water.
Organised by the Yoga Shop Geneva, the yoga paddleboard classes at the The Windsurf School, Tropical Geneva, next to Genève Plage, will run until the end of September.
A rainy morning
We meet our teacher, Alessandra, at 9am on a totally overcast Sunday morning. It’s best to start early as the wind picks up later and the water becomes far choppier.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asks us a few times, especially after it starts raining quite heavily during our warm-up.
But we’re determined to give it a go and we anticipated getting wet anyway! Alessandra is impressed with our positive energy and assures us that a Swiss group would have thrown in the towel at this point.
After kitting ourselves out with life-jackets and paddle, we do a few basic stretches and sun salutations before hitting the water on our boards and paddling out a few hundred metres from the beach – most of us on our knees.
The poses – paddleboard yoga
We gather around Alessandra and she starts taking us through our paces – starting off very gently. Just staying in a more or less stable position without drifting away or turning around to face the opposite way is proving rather challenging for us!
Even very familiar postures like downward dog takes on a totally different meaning as you gaze back between your legs at the horizon where water meets land on the opposite side of the lake. We move slowly through a series of increasingly challenging postures, including the sun salutations we practiced during our warm-up.
Something as simple as moving your right leg from downward dog to a spot in-between your hands and transitioning into a low lunge (Anyaneyasana) never mind Warrior 2 becomes a major operation. Gazing up at the sky as you bend backwards in camel makes your head spin – completely different from when you’re doing this on stable ground.
Alessandra guides us expertly and patiently making sure everyone follows and has a go at every pose. Every now and then someone topples over into the water to all-round applause. As the course continues we get braver and more confident, even throwing in a few of our own poses!
The challenge of having to focus your mind on not falling over, as well as having to recruit your leg and core muscles to keep you stable on the board, force you to stay very much in the moment and aware – intensifying the yoga experience. There is no way you can’t be mindful while you’re doing paddleboard yoga – the essence of yoga!
After and hour, we lie back on our boards with our hands in the water in corpse pose – Savasana – and the feeling of total peace and calm with just the sound of the water lapping the boards is awesome.
A well-deserved coffee
After a hot shower, we meet at the Tropical Café with slightly shaky legs and arms for well-deserved coffees and croissants – we are all starving after all that hard work! A wonderful way to start a Sunday morning – we’ll definitely be back.
TIPS – paddleboard yoga:
What to wear: A costume and/or sports shorts and t-shirt – something that will be comfortable when you’re wet and allow bending in all directions! We were offered wet suits, but declined and really, you don’t need them.
All levels: You don’t have to be an expert at yoga or paddleboard – the postures are basic and you do what you can.
What to bring: You’ll get a check list from the Yoga Shop – including a padlock for the lockers, sun cream and a cap if it’s sunny and a towel and dry clothes for afterwards.
BEWARE: Don’t attempt this on a hangover! The movement of the water and balancing on unstable terrain will make you feel seriously sea sick, as one of the ladies in our party soon discovered!
How does it work?
On appointment – organised by the Yoga Shop Genève according to lake weather conditions (wind, temperature, sunlight).
Join their paddleboard yoga listing, mentioning the mornings of the week you are available and your phone number in order to be contacted on the mentioned days by SMS as soon as the right conditions are forecast. If you are alone or a small number of participants you’ll be able to join a bigger group.
From 9.15am to 10.45am (meeting at 9am).
- Class of 6-7 people
- CHF45 (per person)
- Class of 5 people
- CHF 50 (per person)
- Class of 4 people
- CHF55 (per person)
- Class of 3 people
- CHF 65 (per person)
- Class of 2 people
- CHF 80 (per person)
(included in these rates are the CHF20 paddle board rental fee)
Email The Yoga Shop, Genève or telephone 078 626 49 76.
Classes take place at the Windsurf School Tropical Geneva (a minute walk from Genève Place), 5 quai de Cologny, Genève.