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Jessica Bellofatto on Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga

This week, for Curbed Hamptons’ series of interviews with locals in the vanguard of their fields, journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg talked with Jessica Bellofatto , founder/director of East Hampton’s popular KamaDeva yoga studio, about the latest way to do your sun salutations.

When and where did Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga get started? Whose idea was it?

I’m not exactly sure, but I think it was created collectively by about five of us. I myself started practicing postures on a stand up paddleboard about four years ago. Right about the same time, there were a few other women around the country starting to do the same thing. I cannot take complete credit, but I can say that I did not know of anyone else doing it when I started!

What are the advantages of doing yoga on a SUP?

Greater concentration, greater awareness, connection with nature, being on the water and the healing that provides, fresh air, enhanced senses, fun!

The challenges?

Wind, current, and choppy conditions can all affect the class at any point in time. Board selection is important. In general, you will have a much better experience on a wider, fatter SUP as opposed to a surf-model SUP.

Is SUP YOGA a bona fide craze yet?

I would say it is not quite a bona fide craze, but it’s getting there. SUP in general is still relatively new on this coast. I get lots of inquiries on a weekly basis though.

What are the best spots around here for SUP YOGA?

You can literally launch from anywhere! The bays, the ponds, the ocean, depending on conditions. It’s really fun to explore different places to SUP.

Any words of reassurance for people thinking of trying SUP YOGA but unsure whether they’ll be able to do it?

Anyone can do it?. truly. SUP is a very accessible, easy to learn sport. Practicing simple, symmetrical poses on the board to start with is very do-able. Many people show up for SUP YOGA with limited to no paddling experience and limited to no yoga experience. I admire their sense of adventure and that they’re up for the challenge, so we just go with it. The worst that can happen is you fall in, and the water feels amazing this time of year!

SUP YOGA classes take place Thursdays 9-10:30AM and Saturdays 12-1:30AM, usually at 219 Three Mile Harbor Road at the Paddle Diva Center at the Shagwong Marina. Reservations are essential. For more info visit Jessica's site.