Students practice stand up paddle yoga, known among practitioners as SUP Yoga.Photo: Leigh Claxton
Who wants to do yoga in a sweaty gym room or even a breezy studio when you can do it on the bay? That's where Leigh Claxton goes. Claxton teaches stand-up paddle yoga (known among practitioners as SUP Yoga), which combines balance and stabilizing training with the core workout of a typical yoga class. Classes are three or four days a week in Sausalito. More information is at www.onboardfitness.org.
Name: Leigh Claxton
Age: Late 40s
Residence: Mill Valley
Occupation: Yoga instructor and rehabilitation coach
Activity: Stand-up paddle yoga
Describe paddle yoga: Classes are traditional yoga and fitness classes taught on the water on floating boards. Your mat is a stand-up paddleboard.
Where the idea came from: In 2009, I began experimenting with some stabilizing exercises on the boards to use with head-injury patients. By being able to actually feel what they were doing and see minor weight shifts, they were better able to grasp the relearning and reprogramming that needs to take place after a head injury. I realized how much centering was taking place and how great that would be for yoga.
Greatest benefit: Students enjoy learning while adapting to the motion of the board. It's a continuous challenge to balance the board. Students learn to trust their balance. Your body will automatically and continually center itself.
Yoga for beginners: You do not have to be an experienced yogi or paddle boarder. You will quickly learn to adjust your poses and body for the modifications on your board. All of this balance work then transfers to your other sports and activities.