'You'll be surprised both by how your balance feels on water versus land'

Stand-up paddle board yoga is the latest exercise trend to hit the Willamette Valley. Those who practice it say it's not as hard as you might think. Photo by Audrey Weil

EUGENE, Ore. - Stand-up paddle boarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world. Combine that with yoga, and you've got the latest workout trend to hit the Willamette Valley.

“The paddle board becomes the yoga mat and the studio is the great outdoors,” SUP Yoga instructor Jessica Donohue said.

She dreamed of teaching stand-up paddle board, or SUP, yoga for two years.

“The first time I tried it, it just clicked in my body, my spirit, just being outside, I just knew that this is what I wanted to do,” Donohue said.

Her dreams came true this summer, and so far, so good.

“Oh my gosh people love it,” she said.

“I really like being in nature versus in a room and the paddle boards moved around a lot so I was able to see a 360 degree view of where I was, so it was really cool,” first-time student Mary Corniere said.

Donohue said it's not as hard as people think.

“You'll be surprised both by how your balance feels on water versus land. On land we take balance for granted so you'll be surprised about that but also by how much you'll be able to do,” she said. “It's really accessible as a beginner sport and then you get to be standing on the water so I think those things combined, people are just jumping on it.”

Right now she's the only instructor offering courses in Eugene.

Her classes are Thursdays and Saturdays at Alton Baker Park.

It’s $30 per person and includes a board and gear.

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