SUP: A Gateway to Balance

Life has a way of knocking me off balance on a regular basis. With the blink of an eye, things start spiraling out of control. A few short years ago, I might have reached for the cookie jar (not an effective or healthy solution). Today, I load up my stand up paddleboard and head to the nearest body of water.

Tamara Jacobi SUPYou’ve probably heard of stand up paddle boarding (SUP), but have you tried it yet? As an athlete and a glutton for new challenges, I was attracted to SUP several years ago. Watching the stand up paddle boarders at my local surf break definitely got my curiosity up. When I stepped onto the paddleboard for the first time I was captivated by the sensation of walking on water. But riding my first wave on the paddleboard was when I truly fell in love with this sport. What I didn’t know at the time was that paddleboarding would actually teach me the art of balance — not only on the board, but in life in general.

The sport of stand up paddle boarding is intrinsically about balance. When you step onto the board, your muscles engage as they search for balance. Yet, what’s particularly fascinating to me is that as the body finds balance physically, the mind also seems to follow. Physical balance requires metal focus. Once on the SUP board, you don’t really have much choice but to focus on balancing on the board (unless you don’t mind falling off, which isn’t the worst thing if the water is warm!). I’ve noticed that when I’m on my paddleboard my internal conversation is quiet, and my hurries, worries and stresses fall away. I am focused only on my body, the board and the water beneath me. Life slows down and I find myself completely in the moment.

Having discovered this, paddleboarding has become my favorite way of restoring balance to my life. It is my technology detox — no computer or cell phone. It is my dose of natural nourishment — water, sunlight, oxygen, and the life around me — I soak it all in. It is a way for me to fully re-connect with myself. Stand up paddle boarding has become an invaluable sort of meditation. As a holistic nutrition coach, I might call paddleboarding a healing sport that offers fitness, nourishment and balance for the body and the mind.

Sup Yoga Tamara JacobiFrom a fitness perspective, this sport is dynamic in so many ways. The simple act of standing on the board in flat-water and paddling rhythmically forward engages muscles throughout the body, offering a great full body workout that is low impact yet challenging. And flat-water paddling is only the beginning! I’ve taken my paddleboard out to my local surf breaks, where I’ve been delighted to ride everything from tiny little waves to head-high swells. Stand up paddle boarding has been a wonderful addition to the Tailwind jungle lodge adventure tours and retreats (come visit!). For those looking for less adrenaline and more Zen, yoga on the paddle board is also an excellent option that can be a lot of fun. But it doesn’t end there! This summer I’ve been thrilled to bring my passion for paddleboarding to the rivers in Colorado. Running my first rapids on white water was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

Clearly, stand up paddle boarding has become an essential part of my holistic nourishment equation, and I highly recommend that you give it a try! SUP boards are becoming more and more available, so be sure to seek them out at your local body of water, whether it is a river, lake or ocean.

Ready for some simple tips to get you started with embracing paddle boarding and tapping into the essence of balance? Check them out here!

Melanie Webb

August 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Tamara, from one stand up paddler to another, thank you for sharing the love! If ever you make it up to Utah give me a shout and we’ll go get some zen on the water together. I wish you were nearer Veracruz, I have a trip coming up there next month and can’t wait to check out SUP in Mexico!


August 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Felicidades, Tamara, on the powerful “wind” of your words. I tried SUP in 2010 after a long diving trip in Honduras. All the goodness of my yoga practice, diving, exercise, meditation, etc. just popped together when my feet hit the board. I bought my own when I returned home. My experience of life seems forever changed since SUP’ing has become a huge joy & priority. Thank you for sharing YOUR story because you are inspirational, you are a leader & you have an audience.

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