“Yoga is many things to different people. Some people were born into a yogic lifestyle and grew up with the practice, while others only find it later on in life. Some do it for the pure physical benefits while others do it to find peace and balance in their lives.
Through my years of practising and discovering, one thing I have found is that, regardless of the initial intent, all paths will lead to all of the above benefits (and more)…..” … wise words from Bianca Jade, the guru at SUP YOGA Cape Town.
This Cape Town local has travelled the world and came back a Yoga instructor, she then took this to the water on a Stand Up Paddle Board. Cape Town SUP had the privilege of interviewing Bianca and here is what she had to say….
CTS: Tell us a about who you are and what you do? BG: Growing up in Cape Town, I was exposed to this beautiful city everyday (tough life, I know). Now after coming back from traveling the globe extensively while working on yachts for four years, I appreciate it even more for all that this city has to offer! I have been practising yoga for several years and through my travels have studied, taught and embraced many different styles of yoga, most recently qualifying as a SUP yoga instructor in 2014. Stand Up Paddling has become a passion for me, with so many disciplines, it keeps you fit & excited about the sport. From touring to down-winding, wave surfing to flat water racing & yoga, it’s a hobby for everyone.
I now offer group and private classes from beginners to the more practised Yogi. I believe in living a healthy and balanced lifestyle and thrive on helping people find that for themselves!
CTS: What is SUP Yoga exactly? BG: It’s doing yoga on a stand up paddle board, but each pose/movement is much slower than normal yoga and with a lot more control!
CTS: What inspired you to start teaching SUP Yoga? BG: Shortly after completing my Yoga Teacher Training in Nicaragua, I was on a SUP in Tahiti and I started playing around with some yoga poses at the same time. It felt really natural and the element of balancing on the water added a real challenge, which was both fun and an extra workout. I went on to complete a very challenging certificate programme in the States and here we are today, teaching in my beautiful home town, Cape Town!
CTS: Did you have to get some kind of qualification to become a instructor? BG: Yes, I did my training in San Diego, California with Paddle into Fitness. I am Certified Level 1 & 2 SUP, Level 1 WPA (World Paddle Association) Instructor with a 25 hours of Yoga Alliance Certification, CEU’s, 2.6 ACE (American Council on Exercise) credentials and CPR & Remote First Responder. I believe that water safety is of the utmost importance & I try incorporate that into every class I do on the water!
CTS: I’ve never done yoga before, can I do it – is it difficult? BG: In the yoga class we will be moving at a gentle pace as you balance mind and body through meditation, breathing & asanas (physical postures). Postures are often held longer to slowly release tension, free the joints & enable the mind to quiet. If you don’t know the name of the pose, I will be doing most of the class with you and you can always watch and follow. If you can’t do some of the poses, it is totally normal, and there will always be modifications.
CTS: What are the associated benefits?BG: 1. It’s amazing for your health. Yoga is already known to be really good for your health. It reduces stress, strengthens, tones, and stretches your body and makes you feel amazing. It can transform your life. When you combine the yoga practice, with the natural elements of sunshine, water and fresh air, you get the added benefits that nature always provides. If you’re a nature lover, this is definitely for you!
2. Advanced core strength on an unstable platform. When you take the practice of yoga out on a paddle board, you increase the challenge. You no longer have the grounded stillness of the earth to root down into, so you are forced to recruit your core stabilizer muscles. With that, you get a more challenging workout. The technique is a bit different then traditional yoga, and we have certain poses and sequences that flow better than others. But for the most part, you can do many of the same poses on a yoga board, and it just forces you to step up your game and get better, improve and advance your balance skills and tap into the root that is at the core of the earth, much farther below. Not to mention, you have to paddle in and out, and that in itself is a great core workout.
3. Learn to appreciate nature in a new way and break through any fears you have of deep water. I love to stand on a yoga board or be in a pose and look into the water to see fish, dolphins, whales or other sea life living beneath me. It is so awesome and exciting! I am a water lover from birth, so that helps. If you have a fear of ocean, water or sea life, this can also help you to break through your fears. You are safe, and they are below you doing their thing, and you have the protection of the board to keep you afloat. And when you are in many of the poses, you are looking at the blue sky! It is very uplifting to see the sky and birds above you, but it’s better than beach yoga because you don’t end up covered in sand 🙂
4. Anyone can do it! This is the amazing part about it. Unlike other board sports, it doesn’t really take much technical skill. With time and practice, you will get stronger and better to be able to do more advanced poses. If you can do a yoga pose on land, for the most part, you can eventually learn to do that on the board. It takes you out on the water, but requires much less equipment and training than other board sports. Unlike Kite boarding or kayaking, which require more equipment or are big and bulky, a yoga board is actually not to heavy and is relatively easy to transport.
CTS: Which equipment is needed & do I need to buy my own? BG: All you need is a SUP and a paddle! You do not need your own, I provide all equipment and transport thereof. You may bring your own board if you have, lessons will cost less if you do. I do sell the Boga Yoga boards, new & used. Contact me if you are interested!
CTS: What can I expect when attending a class and what do I wear? BG: So, this aint no ‘normal’ yoga studio. Best thing to wear is swimwear (boardshorts for guys) and shorts or leggings to cover if you dont want too much sun. I will try my best to help you not fall in (not many people do) but no.1 rule in SUPing, don’t wear anything you don’t want to get wet! Normal lycra / spandex workout gear is best. You can wear a bikini if you like, but remember we will be doing lots of ‘downward-dogs’! That goes for sunnies too. Best to get a strap (aka croakie) for your expensive sunnies so they don’t go swimming. Hats usually float. But seriously you will be mostly dry, I promise 😉 Also GoPro’s & cameras are allowed but must be in a waterproof casing! BRING YOUR SUNSCREEN!
CTS: Are there many different levels i.e beginners to advanced – how does that work? BG: All group classes are for all levels, from total beginners to the more experienced Yogi! But.. for the more adventurous SUPer, we can take to the ocean (weather permitting) which will be a whole new challenge & I have some more intermediate SUP yoga classes for the more advanced Yogi.
CTS: How do I book a session with you? BG: You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit my website at www.supyogacpt.com. Also call or whatsapp me on 0722451209. I am on Instagram so please follow me on there @biancajadeyoga & like us on our Facebook SUP Yoga Cape Town.