There are many layers of lesson that can be gained through Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
In addition to the physical and health benefits as well as the pure enjoyment of the sport, when you begin to focus on the technique, physical engagement and dynamic repetition of the movement, something happens in your mind as well, where, much like any other meditative practice it becomes free, the sub-conscious becomes less “sub” and a quality of clarity sinks in. The physical act of the stroke and each of it’s transitional phases: Reach, Catch, Power and Recovery, become metaphors for larger themes that bubble up from inside.
Arm, Rotation, Hip Hinge
Plant the blade smoothly, down and into the water
Pulling ourselves and the board up to the paddle
Feathering, Return to the reach phase
Set lofty goals, dream big, challenge what’s possible. Flex your mind and bend your intention to the first point of entry.
Be confident. See the life you want to live, focus on the first step, plant your blade smoothly and begin to gather Core energy. This may seem a leap of faith at first, but in time will become quite practiced.
Engage your movement toward these goals, begin to uncoil your gathered energy and pull yourself forward toward them. Life will happen whether you make it the one you want or not. Engage the meaning and power that lives inside and lean into each stroke with your whole self to shape the direction you want to take. Hold vision on the horizon with your mind and focus the energy of your action on each phase of your movement in that direction. With each stoke momentum will build.
You’ve taken your first stroke when your feet reach your catch, that first goal on the path. Keep your momentum going by feathering your blade as you exit the water and return to the start, focusing on the next catch, the next step to a new reach. Learn to make this a natural transition, much like the space between breath’s inhale and exhale. This will help focus your mind and bring awareness to each step taken and the horizon event you’re moving toward.