“Floating yoga” rides stressbusting wave

Karaoke yoga is last week’s news. Floating yoga – also known as Flo-Yo, YogAqua, Paddleboat or Paddleboard Yoga – is the next big thing for fighting stress.

It’s yoga, but not as we know it. “Floating yoga” is more like a cross between yoga and surfing, performed on an anchored paddleboard or paddleboat, which resembles a wider version of a surfboard.

The challenge of maintaining perfect balance afloat while simultaneously adopting different yoga positions demands not only more muscles but also greater precision and concentration than land-bound yoga. The aquatic surroundings, meanwhile, offer added tranquility.

YogAqua first took off in Hawaii, which, of course, offers the perfect conditions, but is now spreading across America. It has also reached the UK, where it is known as Paddleboard Yoga.

Sessions are reportedly more light-hearted than conventional yoga, at least partly because failure to make a particular position results in falling into the surrounding water (don’t worry, each long board is equipped with an attached mat, an anchor and a lifejacket for safety precautions too).

Classes are typically 90 minutes long, including a short practice session on land, followed by a paddle to a suitable spot, where an instructor leads a yoga session containing the sort exercises seen in, well, a typical yoga class.

Jessica Matthews, a yoga instructor and exercise physiologist with the American Council of Exercise in San Diego, says: “It’s definitely different than practising on land… The board isn’t completely unstable because it’s pretty big, but it’s still wobbly enough to work your core in different ways.”

Jennifer Aniston is reportedly a fan.

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