By Kathie Scanlon
It may seem that there are as many yoga studios as Starbucks these days but the only venue in town for a floating mat is found at Hudson River Expeditions, one of the new businesses in Cold Spring, which offers Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga classes in partnership with SkyBaby Yoga and Pilates Studio, another relatively new business on Main Street. I joined a class this past Saturday, a beautiful, sunny 78-degree afternoon in July.
Melia Marzollo, owner of SkyBaby Yoga, teaches a small group of 10 the basic paddle strokes after instructing on how to stand up from an initial kneeling position. Balancing on the sweet spot of the SUP is not as difficult as it might appear. The group paddled from Foundry Dock Cove into the marsh to begin our yoga practice. Beginning with cat pose then down dog, both poses in which there are four points of contact, allowed all to get their sea legs before moving into asymmetrical poses like warrior I and II.
A seasoned teacher, Marzollo managed the pace of the class, flowing from physically challenging poses to meditative poses while inviting students to gaze at the mountains and trees and feel the current moving under the board. Like many fears, once I took in a deep breath and shook hands with it, I found my anxieties were unfounded. The Loch Ness Monster was not in this water. I fell into the marsh and realized the water was less than a foot deep during low tide; the mud covered my calves like an expensive spa treatment. Perhaps our river that flows both ways is not the purest but it does cleanse the soul. Everything that is basic to yoga — alignment, breath, core strength, balance, focus and self-discovery — is at full tilt in SUP yoga.
Makiko Parsons and Brian Grahn, who have lived in Cold Spring for eight years, own Hudson River Expeditions. Many of the staff members are locals who formally worked at Hudson Valley Outfitters and are experienced and knowledgeable about the ways of the Hudson River. They offer SUP, canoe and kayak rentals as well as tours and classes; the best deal is a 10-hour rental card for $99; it’s like stealing fun at that price! The season runs until the water temperature, currently around 75, falls below 60, which hopefully, says Parsons, is not until late October. Especially for weekend rentals, call ahead or visit hudsonriverexpeditions.com to reserve.
Photos by Maggie Benmour