We spoke with Rossella, an Italian SUP Yoga teacher, who talked to us about this activity which is practiced on different bodies of water (swimming pool, sea, lake…).
SUP Yoga is today a discipline that has many followers all over the world. It is a relaxing activity that promotes the well-being of everyone and in connection with nature.
Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Rossella Roberti, I’m 42 years old and I was born in Parma in northern Italy. In 2013, after working as a headhunter and human resources manager in Milan, I took a break in Rishikesh, India, where I got my certificate to be a Yoga teacher. When I came back, I didn’t really want to go back to the chaos of the big city, so I moved to Garda Lake where I started teaching Yoga and started a simpler life, in constant contact with nature and paying attention to my health and need for spirituality.
How long have you been practicing and teaching SUP Yoga?
I started SUP Yoga last summer in Sardinia during my holidays. I fell in love with the discipline. I couldn’t believe how intense and rewarding it was to train on a SUP Board. Teaching is a whole new experience for me. I was looking for an opportunity to get started and luckily I met the great team of Puffin SUP, Stefano Manuini and Francesca Zaldini, who had just opened their SUP school and made my dream come true.
What kind of Yoga do you teach? Can you teach all types of yoga on a SUP?
I teach Vinyasa Yoga which is, as you probably know, a sequence of classical Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga poses, rhythmed by the breath. I am also accredited as a progressive Ashtanga Vinyasa (rocket yoga), and I have a fondness for the Dharma style as well.
I like to explain to people that yoga practiced on a board is real yoga; as many practitioners remain skeptical that it is complicated to perform complex postures or transitions, but in the end it’s just a matter of time and getting used to practicing on a SUP.
In addition, the balance required by the unstable body of water requires perfect alignment and mental focus throughout the course. I can guarantee that this helps us improve our performance, even when we go back to practice on a mat.
Who is SUP Yoga for?
SUP Yoga is for everyone. Of course, it is obvious that you have to know how to swim and have a good relationship with water in general 😉
What are the benefits of SUP Yoga?
The benefits of SUP Yoga are multiple: it is a complete physical training that makes the body and mind work at the same time. The muscular effort is important and allows you to gain strength and resistance, burn calories and fat, reduce stress and requires you to remain totally concentrated during the exercises.
It is also a way to take the practice of Pranayama and Meditation to a higher level since the environment plays a great role in oxygenation and detoxification of the body as a whole, while total immersion in the Elements facilitates the process of cleansing the mind of all disturbing thoughts that might be going through your head.
What are the advantages of SUP Yoga over classical Yoga?
As I mentioned above, the main benefits are related to the improvement of attention and proprioception during the performance of Asana and transitions. Balance on the SUP is only guaranteed when we keep our body weight in the center and move fluidly and consistently.
For example, the concept of Bandhas or energy locks, which is quite difficult to explain on land, becomes immediately clear on the water as we really rely on them to stay stable and be able to perform sequences without falling over.
Can one start in SUP Yoga without having practiced classical Yoga or SUP?
When a person starts SUP Yoga without any previous experience of traditional Yoga, they should keep in mind that it may be more difficult than expected, at least at first, for balance reasons. Apart from balance itself, the surface we use is smaller than an ordinary yoga mat, so we have to be very precise in our movements; that is why, for beginners, I prefer to teach very basic Pranayama and Hatha Yoga classes sitting still.
You use Couine Marie 12’6 Cruising and 10’9 Allround. Why did you choose this type of Board?
For me, in terms of stability, it doesn’t change much (I also sometimes use a 9’5 Couine Marie), but to practitioners, I always recommend, depending on the weight, a 10’6 Allround for women and a 10’9 Allround for men, to optimize the balance of each one.
Where do you give your classes and how can I get in touch with you to learn SUP Yoga?
I live in Desenzano (Garde lake), Italy, and teach there during the summer. It is possible that my classes will last until the fall, but nothing is certain yet. However, I usually organise a spiritual retreat abroad and I have started to think that the next one should be a “yoga and SUP retreat” somewhere in the Caribbean or Asia, probably around February/March 2021.
When I travel, I never stop practicing and if I give classes elsewhere during my holidays, I will publish it on my corporate accounts.
To contact Rossella:
Web site: www.rossellaroberti.it
Facebook: Rossella Roberti & Yogini Ro’