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Darien, CT, 06820

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Thumbs up stand up paddle board and land yoga classes, trainings and retreats by Danielle Brown. 

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2018 SUP & Yoga Retreat: February 6th -11th

Danielle Brown

With much excitement and anticipation of another spectacular adventure, here are the details of the fourth annual SUP & Yoga Retreat to the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda. 

The resounding feedback from past retreat go'ers is the complement of fitness and fun, scheduled and unscheduled, kindness of the water sports staff and array of water activities to dive, jump, paddle or float into.

Real Slow

Danielle Brown

IMG_7475.JPG

It's the first day of Summer. The longest day of the year. Good thing too. Because there is a lot to do. I tasked my kids to make a list.

"What do you want to do this summer?" 

Blank faced, they drifted, crunching Os in their own time. Rounding back. Easy does it. No thoughts have been strained.

Still unanswered. I began again. (And again, by no means provoked.)

"Perhaps learning a new dive and sleeping outside?" 

The inflection on that last word as hollow as their whole grains.

Admittedly, we've been "under the weather". New England has not graced us with its per-usual, post Memorial Day summer-like-feel and the forecast has been sick with rain.

Plans foiled, but perhaps the lesson is - not to toil? Best to take it as it comes.

Slow chews of sustenance - like wheat and time on the feet. The word "solstice", I read, comes from the Latin words sol sistere, which means "sun standing still."

When Gigi was little, we asked her what vanilla ice cream tastes like. She returned with a smile, hardly awhile, and did not hesitate with, "nothing."

Summertime moments, when the clock melts and the sun is felt, feels about right with "yes, I'll have - nothing" (to do).

GM

Danielle Brown

Some mornings, before the coffee and while the dog pees, there time for a simple: one, two, three type stretch.

This one is for the shoulders and for those early, early mornings when one, two, three is as far as the mind is revving to go. Take it slow.

Good Morning, Sunshine.

ThumbSUP Yoga Teacher Training Immersion

Danielle Brown

In addition to a family vacation to play in the waves, I taught a ThumbSUP Yoga Teacher Training immersion with The Yoga Pagoda as part of their 108 Hour Advanced Practices and Master Classes offering in Vero Beach, Florida earlier this month.

The students of the training were 200hr+ Yoga Teachers or wellness professionals and active practitioners. They had a range of paddle board experience, a range of curiosity in SUP Yoga and were interested, potentially interested or not interested in teaching SUP Yoga.

The 1/2 day Thumbsup Yoga Teacher Training Immersion program allows Yoga Teachers and Students to dive into the study of Yoga on a Paddle board without the certification requirements of CPR, First Aid and water rescue accreditation.

Immersion discussions include:

  • Equipment, Paddle Technique and Environmental Awareness
  • Sequencing options - their plentitude, the crescendo of balance play and the overarching emphasis on transitions
  • the anatomical positioning and biomechanical activity of on-board postures and movement
  • the theory of themes like aparigraha (non-possessiveness) (as it relates to succumbing to the element of water, for instance)
  • the application of the lower chakra awareness (as the platform for discovery is physically turning in the wind and rocking with the swells)

The goal of the immersion is to provide an overview of Stand Up paddle board Yoga (from how to hold a paddle to how to use the board as a belt in a forward fold) and to equip the trainee with the on land and on board fundamentals of how to conduct a safe, efficient and effective SUP Yoga class with the assistance of a SUP Professional. As a reminder, the Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) recommends a student : teacher ratio of 6 : 1 which furthers the calling for support.

At the Vero Beach SUP Yoga TT immersion, I was grateful to have two helpers on the water scene: Chris, owner of Paddles by the Sea (and provider of the equipment used that day) and my friend and advisor and local SUP tour leader, Kat Kruse.

The winds were just a singular palm frond short of being prohibitive to play on board that day. Chris, Kat and I each had a role. Even though the floating yoga studio was a few paddle strokes from shore, the roles of onboarding, assisting with equipment, photography and guiding the sequence and the float back the shore were all deployed.

Between the gusts, the trainees challenged asana preconceptions, relaxed into the wake and rose with receptivity to the tide. It was a thumbs up day.

If you are interested in adding a SUP Yoga Teacher Training Immersion to your 200hr, 300Hr, 500hr Yoga Teacher Training or Masters Classes Yoga programming, please contact me.  

Between the Lines

Danielle Brown

I read somewhere about a notion of the 24 hour day split into three eight hour blocks. IN essence: eight hours to work., Eight hours to sleep and eight hours to - well, fill freely.

It's that last block, that I've been considering.

I need to sleep eight hours (although it's frequently more like seven). I need to report to the office for eight hours (although it's frequently more like nine). The time in between is varied and frequently, entirely unaccounted for.

Time slips by between work and sleep with - what?

shuffle, sift, sort, sweep, 

Extend, Mend, Bend, Fend

t i r e,    r e t i r e,

Repeat.

In an effort to move towards reclaiming that in between 8 hours (or more like one), a consistent scheduling of yoga on Wednesdays has moved from docket to done.

The winter core yoga series ends tonight and the spring series begins mid-April. Below is a gift of thanks, and beyond these lines, to those friends who've been right there besides or who can relate, on the whole - really, how does time transpire?

At the core of it, it's a sequence - one, two, three, four but hey, off the paper, add dimension, and account - and it can be - so. much. more.

Why retreat to the Bitter End?

Danielle Brown

While Summer is about diving in the present moment, like the touch of a cool dip or the taste of a first sip, I find myself considering plans in September. Back to school for the kiddos seems to drive a want for a cracked, fresh notebook for me. It's a time to reflect on the good times of the summer days and plan for something equally rewarding in its quest and fruitful in its application. 

It's really not that surprising that the first joy to a vacation arrives when the vacation begins to get planned for. So whether you have thoughts of trying something new or feel the calling to make plans for a warm weather break, here are five reasons why you should put a retreat to the Bitter End to the top of that list:

1. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) will challenge you. There will be an option for two to three classes a day which will leave you sore for oh, um... two to three days. In the best way. (Insert fist pump emoji). SUP is a total body workout. You might become acquainted to muscles you didn't even know about. At the end of six days, you'll likely feel strong - both in your physicality and in your commitment. Who knows what that will lead to once you are back on the mainland?

2.   Yoga is a practice in the art of balance - the balance of adequate engagement and sweet release into great receptivity. But this will be best reveled when you are floating under a rainbow (happens every year) with your fingers dipped into the warm, welcoming sea. There will be SUP Yoga and Land Yoga and an opportunity for one-on-ones. Care to dive deep? That's encouraged. In fact, I'll hand you a mask. 

3. Speaking of masks...There is snorkeling and cruising and all sorts of other watery cavorting. In fact if you are looking to check the box on the whole spectrum of adventuring, you are cordially invited to fill every waking moment with activities. For example: 700AM Sunrise Hike, 800AM SUP Yoga, 930AM Breakfast, 1030AM Snokel Excursion (perhaps a trip to The Baths), 1200 boat to explore islands and lunch, 300PM Hammock swing, pages to read and beach swims, 400PM SUP Yoga, 530PM Power Paddle for cocktails and apps, 700PM Shower and Change, 730PM Dinner at the Club or Under the Stars or at that place on the sand, with the swings at the bar (for real).

4. Tropical fruits and local fish and fresh everything are great for performance, but they are also really, really delicious. The bounty provided will challenge you to choose. But I find folks usually come back to their same seat each morn. It sort of becomes like a groove to watch the day awake with the water seated besides, chair tilted back and sunglasses preferably on.  

5. And when the day eventually comes to a close, rest assured that the next day has the potential to be better still, than all the rest.  

Five Night SUP & Yoga Retreat to the Bitter End Yacht Club: Oct. 2016 and Feb. 2017 #supbeyc

Photos by: iShootbvi

Stay Salty

Danielle Brown

I was going to go for a run before teaching these Saturday morning classes. I was going to clean the garage and make my own pickles and donate more clothes and ride my bike this summer with my feet off the peddles and I haven't.......Yet.

I have been on this platform each and every Saturday morning.

Not because I need inspiration for more things to pack into a summer weekend, but because i am inspired to remember that this is THIS summer weekend.

And It's been packed with new reflections and epic weather and wonderful students and fresh classes and that is something to be noted, never mind the pickles. . 

The Second session of yoga at the beach begins at the end of this month. Registration is open and available here:  

Beach Yoga - Weed Beach, Darien, CT - Session II Aug. 27th - Oct. 1st

Come in, exhale, leave better

Danielle Brown

That's the motto for Exhale Spa in Stamford, CT - Come in, exhale and leave better. Located next to the harbor, this luxury fitness studio will be offering Stand up Paddle board classes again this summer. I think it's part of what makes our area so neat - the influx of water options and the vibrant community, jazzed and ready to Launch.

Summer time is relished for its preciousness. Fitness on a paddle board can be a marker of just how far you want to get "out of the box" and celebrate the warm life by the sea. 

For the second year in a row, I'll be teaching SUP Yoga in conjunction with Exhale and SoundWaters in Harbor Point.

Sign up, Play, And make Note - summer can be magical. 

Photo by: Robert Sturman ~ Artist / Photografia

Photo by: Robert Sturman ~ Artist / Photografia

Jam on

Danielle Brown

Are you in for a summer night of community celebration? A July sunset to the beat of music by the water that incorporates shopping, art and movement? Well then, put your hands up! Facebook and other promotions are teeing this up to be another awesome Jam Sesh. I just got my ticket and I hope to see you there.  

Join Lululemon Athletica Greenwich, Exhale Spa Stamford, Megan Kuczynski and Aimee Elsner on the Harbor Point Boardwalk in Stamford. Friday Night Jam on July 22nd at 6PM. Photo by: Lululemon Athletica Greenwich

Join Lululemon Athletica GreenwichExhale Spa Stamford, Megan Kuczynski and Aimee Elsner on the Harbor Point Boardwalk in Stamford.

Friday Night Jam on July 22nd at 6PM.

Photo by: Lululemon Athletica Greenwich

Wanderlust 2016 - Snowshoe, West Virginia

Danielle Brown

you know how sometimes the anticipation pales in comparison to the actual event? This time was like that.

I cautiously asked three college girlfriends if they would travel with me to the Wanderlust Festival in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Not only did they leave their families for a long weekend, take their businesses mobile and say yes to the Fest Request, but they were also wonderful roommates and the best fest partners that I could have asked for.  They were supportive and funny and ambitious and adventurous and fun. 

We breezed through a 9 hour road trip each way into the high peaks of West Virginia. Even when the cell service abated, the chatter never seemed without pause. Only on the way home, housed with sea legs from three days on the boards and sore muscles from long holds, did we call "mercy" and tune into a few podcasts until it's talk, prompted our talk - even more. 

Thank you to Boga Yoga and the Wanderlust Festival for having me teach six wonderful classes again this year on a SUP board. Thank you to all the students that took a ThumbSUP Yoga class and provided such joy by bearing witness to your immense accomplishments and good nature. And thank you to Kendra, Tucky and Giada.

What can I say? I'm so looking forward to next year! 

More pictures to be added shortly. 

Psst. Hey you.

Danielle Brown

It's been a rough few months. Lying tight on the side wall. Pretty cold. Not as cold as last winter, so I guess I shouldn't complain. But I'm as stiff as a board and come to think of it, really, really bored.

I'm watching the paint dry in those old cans, with the dust and the rust. Not much color on any given day. A perpetual gray with the floors of dirt and the film of loss held under a pretense of storage but let's face it, long since forgot.

Bikes in hibernation, no bouncing kid to their seat. A stray ball or seven, the yellow fuzz worn to the hue of the sun without heat. Slack fishing lines never pulled taut except in a misstep to retrieve the last beer from sometime last year.

Musty blankets to sheet the innumerable paint jobs planned. Tools a'plenty, like sentimental golf shoes, saved for that one day. There is nothing to do, but remember the waves.

I've got my old friend, Paddle, by my side. Not much of a companion but he'll make do until we ride. 

And you give me an occasional glance as you pass on through. The ruckus of that cranked chain for the door marks the coming and going.  And the coming and going. And the coming and the going

until one fine day

there is a pause.

Hey! Are the trees full of leaves? Is the water warm enough for toes? So, are we ready now? Put me in coach, I'm so ready to go. 

 

2017 SUP & Yoga Retreat

Danielle Brown

It's 24 degrees in Connecticut. They say April is the cruelest month. And I get it. So I am warm weather dreaming today and really excited that the dates have been set for the 2017 SUP & Yoga Retreat to the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, BVI. All details will be coming soon but for now, warm thoughts of island adventures ahead and sunshine days on boardS and by the sand. #supbeyc

Wanderlust Snowshoe

Danielle Brown

I'm happy to be going back to teach SUP yoga at the Wanderlust Festival this June in Snowshoe, West Virginia - where the commute to the boards includes a chairlift ride and the sun tucks in over the mountains. Lake Shavers presents a mist on the early hour and reaps the sunshine in the afternoon.

Classes for SUP Yoga and so much more are available for pre-registration now at: www.wanderlust.com/festivals/snowshoe/schedule.

The draw to the water is compelling.

Young, Old, every experience on a paddle board is new. The nature abound guides a course. It can be more than fulfilling to touch into that power..  balance, even momentarily, between personal agenda and nature's unveiling and perhaps suddenly you'll do something as remarkable as - Stand up on water.

The attached video, with Fellow teachers Ashlee Fehsenfeld and Sarah Tiefenthaler, expresses some of the other musings from A board And that wild West Virginia early morning Lake.

2016 SUP & Yoga Retreat to the Bitter End Yacht Club

Danielle Brown

Every morning at the Bitter End Yacht Club I woke before the alarm. New themes each morning to plan for, outings outlined in the mind, sequences that heal and intrigue  permeated with a smile. Then there was a consideration of the breeze and a calculation of those boards and where to think? Perhaps another moment in this cozy bed or better yet, that softly weathered hammock, beckoning from the deck. 

"Beep beep beep beep" a fruitless sound, not here but left well back in the room. 

In February of '16, seventeen men and women from Ohio to the shores of CT and a twosome with a pirate ship in DC (this, I do not fib!) traveled and trekked by sea and air craft to Virgin Gorda isle.  BEYC's second annual SUP & Yoga retreat made special from seventeen's ambition, grace and heck of style. 

It was something to remember. The photos below are but a sliver. Thank you for capturing it all so well, Mar Javierto, of ishootbvi. I'll upload here and there as I continue to plow nostalgically through the pile. 

See you next year, my forever friends. The alarm, I will not need. 

Take Your Daughters To Yoga Day

Danielle Brown

"What are you doing", Gigi exclaims. 

Often, when I am moving around the kitchen, in a warrior posture or staring intently at a boiling pot, my daughter patters over to watch.  

You know the benefits of yoga- how it makes you feel more centered, balanced, receptive and true.  So why not share some tools to our girls to have and employ? 

In this informal, fun-filled workshop, we'll encourage expressive postures, loving partner work and an introduction to Pranayama and the theory of Yoga.

It's Yoga through a girl's eye.

Meet me + g on the mat. #justgirls

Yoga On Board - Power & Motoryacht Magazine

Danielle Brown

OH B(U)OY!!!! On newsstands now!!!!!! Yoga on Board: "A Way for Boaters to Stay Limber, Toned and Strong, on the Boat or Off."

I hope this article is clear and helpful in suggesting some of the plethora of options available to stretch and strengthen on your next voyage. 

Many thanks to Jason Wood and Power & Motoryacht Magazine for their vision, edits and production of this piece and the Yoga On Board video. It has been a boatload of fun to work with you.