5 SUP Yoga Getaways

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Photo: Tomasfoto

5 SUP Yoga Getaways

By: Jayme Moye

Admit it, you’re interested. These escapes turn your board into a yoga mat, among other warm-weather indulgences.

Yoga Adventures Tulum
Tulum, Mexico
6 days, from $985; yogaadventurestulum.com.
February 24- March 1/ April 14-19/ May 19-24

Since 2008, Yoga Adventures Tulum has hosted affordable, off-the-grid yoga retreats on the Riviera Maya. Besides SUP, founder Christina Thomas has assembled a half-dozen other flavors of yoga retreats. The SUP retreat features Yucatan Peninsula native Luna Limon, a certified yoga instructor and standup paddler who’s been teaching SUP yoga for two years. Aspiring yogis stay at Utopia Utopia, a seven-bedroom eco-lodge and yoga studio on the beach. Limon teaches a daily vinyasa yoga practice at the oceanfront studio and daily SUP yoga sessions in a cenote, or lagoon. Off the mat, choose from a variety of unique spa treatments like the Mayan healing massage with a shaman, or outdoor activities ranging from snorkeling with sea turtles to touring Maya cultural sites. Expect healthy Mexican breakfasts and lunches prepared onsite at Utopia by a native Yucatan chef, with dinnertime free to experience Tulum’s foodie scene (and mezcal cocktails).
BONUS: SUP Yoga sessions are often held on the tranquil waters of Sian Ka’an, an 800,000-acre biosphere reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site with 23 known Maya archeological sites.

Yoga and SUP Blossom Retreat
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
4 days, from $1,210; blossomretreat.com
February 13-16 / May 22-25 / October 30-November 2 / December 4-7

Located on the north shore of the Dominican Republic, Cabarete is a small Caribbean beach town with strong, consistent winds fueling a core kitesurfing scene. But in the mornings—as former professional kiteboarder Audrey Meyer discovered—Cabarete Bay remains calm and flat, ideal for SUP yoga. A certified personal trainer who lives in Cabarete full time, Meyer mixes yoga, stretching, and strength exercises in her Yoga4SUP program, which students get to try every morning on the bay. She leaves afternoons free for beach time, SUP (or surfing), massage, and her personal recommendation—three-hours of professional kiteboarding instruction. Late afternoons are spent winding down with meditation or on-the-mat restorative yoga sessions with local teachers, followed by a healthy gourmet dinner (think locally-grown fruits and veggies and fish off the hook) at one of Cabarete’s best restaurants—all included in the price of the retreat.
Bonus: Participants stay beachfront at the 4-star Agualina Kite Resort, where Cabarete also runs her kiteboarding school, Dare2Fly.

Yoga, Surf, and SUP in Puerto Rico
Rincon, Puerto Rico
5 days, from $1,750; jessicabellofattoyoga.com
January 22-26 / March 18-22

Rincon literally means “corner,” a scenic town on Puerto Rico’s northwestern edge, but it’s better known as “the Caribbean’s Hawaii”—home to a dozen surf beaches and, come winter, 25-foot waves. The surfer’s paradise is also the place where Jessica Bellofatto, SUP racer and founder of New York’s KamaDeva Yoga, has been leading SUP yoga retreats for the past four years. For the January retreat, she partners with Gina Bradley of Paddle Diva, basing out of Bradley’s private five-bedroom home in Rincon, which is a short drive to the beach. In March, Bellofatto joins forces with Caitlin Marcoux of Nantucket SUP Yoga, staying in Villa Orleans, a waterfront home 10 minutes from the surf. Both retreats are limited to 15 people, and both offer opportunities for yoga on and off the board, as well as paddling tutorials.
BONUS: Bellofatto builds a generous free time into the daily schedule. Rainforest hikes, mountain bike tours, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, sailing, horseback riding, parasailing, fishing charters, and of course, learning to surf (or honing your skills) are encouraged.

Photo: Robert Sturman
Photo: Robert Sturman

H2YO SUP Yoga Adventure
St .Thomas, Virgin Islands
7 days, from $1,900; H2YOjulieroach.com
January 21-28

The most popular of the Caribbean islands, St. Thomas needs no introduction. And Florida native Julie Roach is headed for that same level of notoriety. One of the pioneers of SUP yoga, Roach leveraged her 800+ hours of yoga teacher training and SUP instructor certifications through both the American Canoe Association and the World Paddle Association to create H2YO in 2010. She’s since certified 32 teachers to teach her brand of SUP yoga, which uses Roach’s proprietary anchoring system to keep the class in a square formation facing the instructor in the center. Roach’s retreat includes daily H2YO classes in the calm turquoise waters that made St. Thomas famous. She focuses on comfort and confidence on the board—first establishing a foundation of lower-to-the-board poses, and then building up to the more difficult yoga asanas like headstands. Participants stay in a villa perched over one of the most beautiful bays in St. Thomas. Roach builds in hiking, snorkeling, sailing, and downwind paddling excursions into the schedule.
BONUS: No passport required; St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

OnBoardSUP Yoga Baja Retreat
Sea Of Cortez, Baja Sur
7 days, $1,495; onboardsup.com
March 20-26

The venue for this retreat is literally the sea—participants spend a week off the east coast of Baja paddling from island to island on the Sea of Cortez. California-based yoga teacher Leigh Claxton partners with Sea Trek Baja—a company that’s been leading sea-kayaking expeditions on the Sea of Cortez since 1978—to run the trip, now in its fourth year. A founding member of the Professional Stand Up Paddle Association (PSUPA) and master instructor for the World Stand Up Paddle Board Association, Claxton is one of the earliest innovators of SUP yoga, and the creator of both OnBoardSUP Yoga and OnBoardSUP Fitness. The retreat begins with sightseeing in the mission town of Loreto before departing. Each day, participants paddle to a different island, where they camp each night. A support boat, or panga, ferries camping and cooking gear; participants carry only their essentials. In addition to daily OnBoardSUP Yoga, Claxton also leads sunrise meditation sessions and standup instruction. Kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, exploring the islands and relaxing are all in play when not on the board.
BONUS: Three guides accompany the group, manning the panga, setting up and tearing down camp, and preparing gourmet campfire cuisine.

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This story originally ran in our Winter 2014 Issue