A legendary power of the greatest master yogis in India is the ability to levitate.
One of the stories of Gautama Buddha involved his meeting with a yogi who had learned to levitate and float over a river.
As if holding yoga postures on level ground isn’t difficult enough, the Season Five Summit Games added yet another level of difficulty to the activity. The idea of yoga experienced practitioners floating became a reality Saturday morning in Frisco.
“Feel the rocking motion of the water,” said Amelia Travis as she led a class of yoga students, all of whom were floating on stand-up paddleboards on the waters of Lake Dillon.
Travis traveled with her husband, Brent, from San Diego, California. She’d been in town all week training local yoga instructors to lead class while on stand-up paddleboards.
She’s one of the nation’s leaders in combining stand-up paddleboarding and yoga.
“We wanted to do something that in addition to the yoga also teaches water safety and proper paddling technique,” Brent said.
Considering he’s an active-duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard, he seems to be the perfect partner for his wife and her aquatic yoga training.
“We want to make sure that everyone who is doing this is trained in CPR,” he added.
The class started with the participants pushing out into the lake. They slowly drifted back toward the shore and tethered their paddleboards to a float attached to an anchor. This kept them from drifting away during the exercises.
Despite the apparent difficulty of holding yoga poses while bobbing on the water of Lake Dillon, the 20 or so men and women taking part in the class remained dry throughout.
“It depends on how far you want to push yourself,” Brent said. “If you try something too difficult that you’re not comfortable with you might get wet.”
And as Amelia led the class, she weaved the elements of nature around them into the lesson. She encouraged her students to use the natural rhythm of the water and the wind to achieve a clear state of mind. Performing yoga on the water generates a more tranquil experience while improving balance, the instructors say.
Amelia is the founder of Stoked Yogi and has trained scores of yoga instructors across the country on her version of classical Indian yoga in the Sivananda tradition using a stand-up paddleboard.
And the day was filled with yoga classes being taken to a new level. In the afternoon a yoga class had students perched precariously on a slackline. The technique blended balancing on the line with yogic postures.
“The SUP and slackline yoga are a lot alike in terms of balance, except the slackline is a lot narrower,” said Kristen Golden with Yogaslackers.
Matt Wilson, a yoga instructor with Yogaslackers, said use of the slackline helps yoga practitioners improve both balance and concentration.
“When you’re doing regular yoga your mind can be going in a 100 different directions,” Wilson said. “But if you let your mind drift while on the slackline you’re going to fall. So it keeps you honest.”
Jordan Ruiz, another instructor with Yogaslackers, explained the difference between using a slackline and tightrope.
“The slackline mirrors your movements,” Ruiz said. “If you move and shake a lot so will the line. But a tightrope remains static.”
Although yoga in the air or floating on the water appears difficult, Wilson assured the activity is very accessible.
“You just have to start off slow,” he said. “You won’t start out doing all your traditional yoga poses on the line, but you can start out doing some right away.”
The Yogaslackers will be teaching another class at the marina from 10 a.m. until noon Sunday, July 13; other activities include acrobatic yoga and various races, as the second annual Season Five Summit Games continue. For a complete schedule of events go to www.thesummitgames.com.