Monday, April 1, 2013

Kayak spring tune-up #4: Find serenity on, off water

More than just a workout, kayaking offers a sense of serenity on the water. Another form of exercise that complements paddling also benefits body and soul – yoga. In fact, warm-up exercises for kayakers are mostly variations on yoga positions. Not the pretzel-bending stuff. The gentle, slow, stretching yoga – an ideal spring tune-up to help paddlers get into shape.

Find the right routine and you’ll feel better on or off the water. I’m fortunate to know a gifted instructor, Donna Dowson, who teaches at my local health club. She’s also a casual kayaker. Donna graciously offered to do an informal, 15-minute video emphasizing exercises that can benefit paddlers. (Hollywood this ain’t, and the audio quality of my camera is a bit muffled, so you may need to turn up the volume. You can also change the video to full-screen and click on the "gear wheel" at the bottom right of the video frame to bump up the resolution to 720p HD.) The video session is divided into two parts.

There are tons of yoga books and instructional videos. Some are helpful, but for me, nothing replaces a live session with an instructor. For one thing, many yoga movements are much more nuanced than they appear at first glance. For another, correct form is important to protect your joints and ligaments. A good instructor can guide you for the max benefit while staying within your personal limits… 

If your kayak club or group is in the Sacramento area, Donna offers a kayaker’s introduction to yoga. A class for 10-15 students can be arranged by appointment. Email for details.  (If Donna looks familiar, it may be because she is also a landscape designer who frequently appears on the “Yard Crashers” Home & Garden Network TV show. She teaches yoga in Sacramento for Wenmat Fitness  and Practice Yoga.

 © Glenn Brank 2013