The practice of yoga requires balance, an engaged core, contorting the body into unusual positions, and calculated breathing. Now imagine doing all of that while floating on a paddle board in a body of water.
That’s what three students, two lecturers did in the Sheerr Pool at the Pottruck Health & Fitness Center on Monday, April 23, as part of Penn Campus Recreation’s “Spring into Wellness Week.” The initiative, which offers free group exercise classes, access to the facility’s climbing wall, and more, aims to give the Penn community an outlet during what’s typically a busy end to the academic year, says Katherine Gold, associate director of facility operations for Penn Rec.
“We just try to do something different,” she says of the floating yoga, which she initially brought to the University in 2017 after seeing the company, Aqua Vida, run a class in Spruce Street Harbor. “I participated last year—and I definitely ended up really wet.”
Aquatics Coordinator Matt Livziey says the class is a nice way to tie in the aquatics program to Penn’s overall fitness program. Plus, he adds, “it’s a nice break from the stress of finals week.”
For their part, the floating yoga students excelled during their workout, holding downward facing dog and plank without much more than a gentle wobble now and then. The water’s only movement came from the mild glide of the paddle boards as the participants switched from one pose to the next. For an hour, they focused on their movements and breathing, all without making a splash.