I wasn’t happy. I was making people around me unhappy. I work in a corporate environment, and spend most of my time in front of a computer. On March 5, 2013 during a visioning exercise – in my car- I asked myself when do I feel the most at peace and satisfied with myself? Myself replied that it was after exercise, particularly yoga, and when I am by the Ocean. I asked myself what I would do for free that combined these elements? Immediately I thought: Paddle Board Yoga! I went back to my desk and asked the computer how to get into this community. I found Paddle Into Fitness, and recognized Gillian Gibree from Roxy Outdoor fitness ads. I read on to learn she is one of the top ranking Women’s Stand up Paddlers in the world. Boom. That day I signed up for the SUP Yoga teaching training certification.

I thought about shedding my bullshit and living more joyfully for four months. I prepared physically (going to yoga) and mentally (keeping positive and knowing change was coming). The first day I was nervous to meet Gillian, who turned out to be one of the most humble and down to earth women I have ever met.

When the group met I was beside myself because of how many different walks of life there were in the room. Ranging from a spunky business and spirit driven lady from Cape Cod MA, to a Missionary from New Zealand that had made her trip to SD with her brand new baby.

Every day I learned something new about the technique of paddling. We learned how to teach a gentle wave flow class, a nautical flow class, and a surfer’s sculpt class. We also focused on how to read the currents, and how to save a person in danger. We were given swag bags with lots of little treasures like T shirts and hats by our sponsors, and fed a delicious lunch and healthy snacks every day.

One part of the class that I found to be highly informative and unexpected was the business aspect. We learned how to start our own, as well as reach new clients with our existing businesses.

I was one of the only women that did not have any RY hours. I had never taught a yoga class, or anything else for that matter. When my turn came to teach our class I was ridiculously nervous. It turns out, my personality comes through when I teach – and guess what – people like it! This was a huge confidence booster and made me incredibly eager to become practice teaching, as soon as possible.

Sometimes I am shy around new people, but hey how do you get out of your comfort zone? The first step is being grateful for the things that exist right outside of your comfort zone. During our training Janalyn invited us to her art show/yoga studio/coffee shop opening. It was great to have a glass of wine and really get to know the girls. I was lucky enough, as a graphic artist, to meet four friends that turned into clients. We are now working on creating their logos to launch new, and update existing SUP businesses across the country.

The four days that I spent being around energy, drive, compassion was worth it all. I would do it again just for that – SUP training aside. I left with an overwhelming contentment that burned deep into my spine, rose out my chest, and left me smiling.

Two days after class ended I got a call from Gillian asking if I could come teach at the new location. I feel fufilled beyond my expectations and have a new drive and lease on life. I have even gotten my fiancé and many friends who are not water savvy to love SUP yoga. The energy and change in mood I see in them after a class is the best feeling ever. The goal is about becoming comfortable in your own skin! The people I look up to are the ones who have a sort of ‘effortlessness’ to their personality and life. They feel lived in, comfortable where they’re at. I love that. I see myself every day changing and moving toward that, and that has to count for something, right?