Find Your Balance With Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga in Oregon
Take a class on a lake or a river for a mindful experience.
May 12, 2022
With so many flowing, peaceful waters — from chill alpine lakes to thousands of miles of rippling rivers — Oregon offers no shortage of inspiring locations for beginner and advanced yogis alike to find a peaceful spot to recharge the body and mind.
When you place your practice atop a floating stand-up paddleboard, the lessons of breathing, balance and being present become even more crystal clear. Certified yoga instructors frequently work with area rental shops to help you get what you need to get mindful on the water. Check out these places and opportunities for flow.
Spot Wildlife on a Canal in Eugene
The Alton Baker Canoe Canal cuts through the heart of Eugene for about 2 miles south of Autzen Stadium and offers a tranquil place to float and flow through a series of postures designed to keep you strong. Instructor Jess Donohue provides you with a paddleboard, paddle, life jacket and an anchor system that will keep the class from randomly floating off. The two-hour sessions begin with a short 10-minute paddle upstream to a pond, where you’ll get to work under the curious gaze of egrets and herons.
Afterward, if you still have time, you can explore the canal before a lazy paddle takes you back to the put-in. Finish the day with housemade hummus on a Garden Crunch sandwich — and perhaps a cleverly named brew like a Vibing pale ale at nearby Gratitude Brewing.
Float Near Falls in Oregon City
The outdoor shop eNRG Kayaking sits right on the Willamette River in Oregon City at the Sportcraft Landing Moorage, a short distance downstream from the impressive Willamette Falls. Phone them ahead of time to let them know you’re looking for a paddleboard yoga class and they’ll connect you with area instructors like Katarina Simko, a certified health coach and yoga teacher. The shop can rent you a board that includes an anchor system to keep you in place. Classes generally happen across the river in West Linn, above Willamette Falls at the woodsy Willamette Park at the confluence of the Willamette and Tualatin rivers.
If yoga sounds challenging enough without the added element of a paddleboard, but you’d still like to get out on the water, you’re in luck. Every Saturday in the summer, eNRG organizes PiYo and Paddle classes that blend pilates with yoga and music outside on the marina docks. When class is a wrap, students often head out together for a leisurely paddle and may stop by The Hive Social, which serves up a beautiful farm-to-table brunch with offerings like spiced creme brulee French toast and house-smoked salmon eggs benedict.
Perfect Your Flow in Hood River
Hood River is synonymous with world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding thanks to the steady winds that fill the Gorge. Those same conditions can lend an extra challenge to doing yoga on a paddleboard here, but locals have tricks for making it work. Hood River SUP and Kayak teams up with local instructors to plan yoga sessions on demand. They only need about a day’s notice to make it happen, and typically you’ll want to shove off into the Columbia very early in the morning before the breezes build. Here by “The Hook” near Wells Island, the shop sets up a mooring system with ropes and floats that allows yogis to clip their boards to a stationary point. On more challenging weather days, instructors know where to find calm tributaries and coves.
For breakfast afterward, wander over to Broder Øst inside the Hood River Hotel for Norwegian-inspired lefse with chevre and eggs before spending the day exploring the area. Visit early or midweek to avoid crowds in the summertime.
Take Stand-Up Paddling Lessons in Oregon
Yoga on terra firma can be challenging enough, so you may want to dial in your stand-up paddleboarding skills first. You’ll find it offers a great workout, and a number of instructors all over the state are happy to ease you into the sport. Here are just a few outfitters.
Nestucca Adventures in Pacific City can teach you the basics, then send you upstream from their dock on the Nestucca River that makes getting on and off the water easier. They also have special boards with upright handlebars and StairMaster-like pedals that allow you to walk in place to propel the board forward.
Tumalo Creek in Bend sits right on the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District and offers lessons on everything from basic paddleboarding skills to advanced techniques for running whitewater.
JO Paddle in Joseph brings boards to Wallowa Lake and gives beginners 15-minute lessons on how to mount and dismount, hold the paddle properly and use various strokes to get you on your way. Some of the boards are even transparent, allowing paddlers to take an underwater peek at what’s happening below.
In the Portland area, SUPVentureUS Tours & Charters includes everything you need for a beginner or intermediate-level paddle, including a dry bag for your phone, digital photos of your adventure, lessons and a guided narration of the beauty around you. Choose from one of the day-trip or overnight options to areas like Merwin Lake, Hagg Lake or Trillium Lake, or create a custom tour.
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