An Exercise in Balance: Stand up Paddle Life Lessons

So often in the busy-ness of our fast-paced world we forget how important it can be to create and maintain a balance in life.

“Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it’s a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.” says Natalie Gahrmann, Mom MD. author, workshop/seminar leader, writer, success coach and expert in work/life mastery.

Cove Paddle FitOur friend and partner Tyler Lennon, founder of Cove Paddle Fitness, believes that balance stems from our core, both physically, and in life.

“There’s much discussion among fitness trainers about the importance of maintaining a strong core; that area involving the abdominals, and the muscles in the hips and back.” Tyler explains, “Just as a healthy core provides the body with balance, stability and power, a weak core can result in poor posture, and leave one prone to injury. The same concept is true for other core issues in life.”

After watching famed surfer Laird Hamilton glide across the water on a stand-up paddleboard five years ago, Tyler invested in his own SUP board and now works with families of all shapes and sizes to foster a greater sense of balance through stand-up paddleboarding.

“When I look at SUP there are a lot of life lessons you can learn on the water,” Tyler explains, “whether it involves faith, relationships, career, or health in general, if any of these areas are weak, the result can be a life that’s out of balance, unfulfilled, and void of purpose and wholeness.”

LW core fitness

Stand-up paddleboarding is a far more efficient, and enjoyable way of strengthening family bonds and bringing relational balance to you and your loved ones.

– Keep your head up, looking straight: 80% of your ability to balance depends on where your eyes are focused, and what direction your head points. When you stand on a paddleboard you are coached to keep your shoulders relaxed and down, head up, and eyes straight. Keeping your eyes on the horizon, and in the figurative sense, on your goals, allows you to move directly towards them.

– Strengthens your physical core, as well as your family unit: Paddleboarding is a calorie-burning, low-intensity workout. Due to the number of muscles it takes to maintain your balance at the same time as propelling your board across the water with a paddle, you strengthen your abdominals, arms, legs, back, and shoulders, creating a full-body workout. At the same time, watching your dad wobble to maintain his balance, or wondering if your sister is going to accidentally take a swim, strengthens your smile, and gives your family a chance to connect in an organic, joyful, and safe space.

– A time simply to connect: Working hard, orchestrating the needs of a household, and navigating towards the ambitious goals today’s families and leaders set for ourselves doesn’t leave much time to simply relax and connect with friends and family. Without taking that intentional time, we can quickly find ourselves out of social balance. Stand-up paddleboarding is a social sport and since most cell-phones can’t swim, it offers a chance to disconnect from our digital world and slide across the water while talking, laughing, and simply enjoying the sun and surf with friends and family.

– Coming together to overcome fears: Fear can keep us from living our lives to the fullest, and trying new things can be a daunting experience. When families come together to encourage one-another, and learn a new skill together, they positively reinforce a caring family unit. Fear of falling off the paddleboard into the ocean is the most common adverse reaction, yet with the empathy and empowerment of family, once someone takes a refreshing spill into the calm water, everyone realizes the initial fear was unnecessary and they relax even further.

– Relaxation is essential: Trying to accomplish all the goals and tasks essential in our busy lives can be exhausting, and when do we take time to truly relax? Waves and bumpy conditions can represent life’s distractions, problems, and hurtles. When paddle-boarding you need to be flexible and relax in order to go with the wave and adjust your body to balance. Before you know it this skill is trained int every muscle and has an incredible impact on your everyday life.

Whether making new friends or coming together with family, stand-up paddleboarding is one of our favorite exercises for mind, body, and soul.

“Whether it involves faith, relationships, career, or health in general, if any of these areas are weak, life can become out of balance. When you live unbalanced for too long you begin to feel unfulfilled, and void of purpose and wholeness.” Tyler explains, “Through valuable teaching on core life principles using tools like land and sea fitness activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, groups are empowered with tools that not only help achieve a healthy perspective, but create spiritual and physical wellness — all in a fun and casual environment.”

Tyler and Christie Lennon

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