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We were skeptical when we first heard about folks flocking to water-top yoga classes on paddleboards. We wondered how this was a) even possible for non-Cirque du Soleil acrobats and b) fun, since it involves falling into the icy Pacific.

But we?re happy to report that we?ve now tried and love Yogaqua, the brainchild of Santa Monica-based yoga instructor Sarah Tiefenthaler. The 90-minute class takes place on a calm bay off a tiny sand strip in Newport Beach (with a Marina del Rey site launching next month) and begins with a leisurely 15 minutes of stand-up paddleboarding to acquire balance. Then up to ten students drop anchor in the water, and a slow-flow vinyasa yoga class ensues.

Since you're floating, small modifications to your regular practice must be made, such as clutching paddleboard rails to counterbalance cross-body stretches and bracing yourself during waves caused by passing small craft. Throughout, core muscles are extra-activated, since the watery foundation functions like a fitness wobble board. Even when you occasionally lose balance--as we did in a triangle pose--a quick dip is refreshing.

One benefit we hadn?t anticipated: the stimulation that comes from blue sky, cool breeze and the relaxing slap, slap, slap of the water against our board. 

Yogaqua; 805-283-9642 or sarah@yogaqua.com; yogaqua.com

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