The Park

5 Things to Know About SUP Yoga

July 25, 2014 6:00am

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Photos courtesy of SUP Yoga Facebook page 

On certain mornings of the week, Jill Jaques and her group of about a dozen students flock into the waters of Green Lake with stand up paddle boards in hand. As they make their way out onto the calm, quiet waters, they paddle out to the perfect spot and anchor down. Held in place by a line and anchor, they begin their synchronized, vinyasa yoga practice.  On water, on their paddle boards.

“You just cannot beat the beautiful setting and backdrop of Green Lake,” Jill said. “When you’re doing sun salutations on a paddle board, you are literally saluting the sun. It’s right out there with you. It’s a beautiful practice.”

Jill’s inspiration stemmed from a honeymoon in Hawaii, when her and her husband took a couple classes. Jill, a yoga instructor at Core Power Yoga, was fascinated by the practice on water. Back in Seattle she took a few classes at WASUP Yoga in Ballard and was hooked. Jill went on to earn an ACE certification in paddle yoga in the Key West and received another SUP Yoga certification from 3 Oms in Bellingham. This is her second year teaching the Green Lake classes.

So before you make up your mind about SUP Yoga, consider these five things:

  1. The natural setting. For anyone who has sworn off yoga, Jill encourages you to give SUP Yoga a chance. You are not inside a stuffy room surrounded by mirrors. Jill keeps her classes early in the morning on purpose to avoid busy water traffic and lake activity. The combination of fresh air, natural sounds and calm waters create a perfect environment.
  2. Beginners are welcome. Despite how it looks, you don’t have to be a yoga veteran to try SUP Yoga. Jill’s classes are basic vinyasa flow at a slower pace, and the movements on the board create a unique dynamic for poses. In fact, Jill said some poses are even easier. The board also makes you much more aware of your alignment and how to steady yourself.
  3. Be prepared to get wet. This goes without saying, but we must include it. In SUP Yoga, Jill connects the boards to a line and uses anchors for support. However, Jill says at least one person loses balance and falls into the water each class, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Come with a towel and an open mind. Hey, the water might be refreshing after all.
  4. Limited time only. Given the nature and setting of this activity, there is a short window of opportunity to practice SUP Yoga. Jill offers her Green Lake classes June thru September, rain or shine. Exceptions are rare downpours or lightning storms. Classes are capped at 12 and require reservations.
  5. Yoga for a cause. The classes only cost $12 for the paddle board rental (Green Lake Boat Rentals), and the rest is by donation only. Jill says she donates a given amount to the Seattle Audubon Society, inspired by an Eagle who sometimes flies around her classes.

Jill’s  classes are held Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and are 90 minutes long. The class gathers at Green Lake Boat Rentals on the northeast side of the lake, and the time includes an instruction on paddle boarding. For more information or to reserve a spot in class, visit or follow on Twitter @SeattleSUPYoga and Facebook at SUP Yoga Seattle.