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Darien, CT, 06820


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


musings on a sup board: on point

Danielle Brown

Once and awhile, like today, for instance, I feel like I've drifted from median. Seen from the outside or taken on paper, everything appears hunky dory. All the ducks are in order and I am present and accounted for. Yet I feel off-axle. Today, it's the whelm of a sentimental thought. I am reeling in headspace.

Often, when I teach SUP, after we've completed dryland, launched and the class is standing with ease, I'll suggest students lose their balance a little. With your feet wide on the board, press down on one foot then the other to
create a rock.
Go on now.

As the board shifts from side to side, the body instinctively kicks in. The core firms and the toes might grip. The knees bend to reduce the center of gravity and the quads may hammer for control. It can be scary! Rocking fro from the momentum of rocking to. As the board leans one way, the opposite foot leads the charge to regain balance. It's active and unsettling when the foundation starts to shake.

Like a good roller coaster, the down-swing feels indeterminate as the climb is cresting. But in its essence the contra sway of a sup board is on par with its brethren. A properly fitted board in length, width and composition will promote buoyancy and all else being equal, there will be no more than a comparable opposite reaction to the sway. I believe it is Newton's Second Law of motion that says so.

I'll usually suggest that students feel the edges of the movement because 1. it will help when we play with yoga later and 2. because buried beneath the worries of falling and the busy work of the body brashly trying to steer the ship, there is a sensation of liquid balance. Once the toes ease and the legs stop trying to be the boss, there is an understanding of great ease and an intimate relationship regained with nature.

The opposite of the freeze frame, or "stuck" gymnastic dismount. On a SUP board, we are reminded that there is a litany of balance. It's a spectrum of points on the rock with a rolodex of symmetry. Sometimes cresting, sometimes waning. It's a constant give and take but a smooth undercurrent is supporting a sound board and equanimity is all the while current.

The board wants to right itself, but will you let it?