SUP Yoga on the Columbia River

May 4, 2016 (Updated March 27, 2017)

Imagine yourself on a stand-up paddleboard.

Now imagine yourself doing a downward facing dog. Or striking a warrior pose. Or holding a plank.

Yes, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga is a thing now, with specially designed boards and international retreats attracting water yogis worldwide. In Oregon, many SUP outfitters offer yoga as an option, but Float On SUP Yoga in The Dalles was founded in 2013 with this sole purpose in mind.

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Here, Amie DiGennaro — a longtime yogi and Gorge resident who learned to paddleboard five years ago — offers 90-minute individual and group classes suited for adventurers of all abilities.

“In yoga, we always talk about foundation,” she says,  “And paddleboarding really strengthens your feet and legs.”

Most of the classes start offshore from The Dalles’ Riverfront Park, where the Columbia River takes a sharp bend to the south — making for calmer waters perfect for paddling.

The boards are also stable and anchored during the yoga portion so participants don’t drift away from the group. Amie starts out with “mellow” postures, “but everyone wants to take it up a notch,” she says. “It’s a little easier than people expect it to be. They get inspired.”

A little cluster of islands nearby offers protection from the wind, as well as spectacular wildlife viewing — everything from osprey, blue herons, geese, pelicans and bald eagles to beavers, carp and sea lions call this place home.

“It’s this funny balance of getting your anxieties and adrenaline going, but at the same time it’s so peaceful getting into flow,” Amie says.

Each board comes with a life jacket — but beware of the one position that causes the most flops.

“Warrior II is when everybody falls in,” she says. “All of your weight is down the center of the board. The challenge is, are you going to go with the movement, or are you going to fight the movement?”

While you’re in The Dalles, stop in for a Muleskinner Stout and pizza at the brand new Freebridge Brewing, housed in the historic U.S. Mint building in the up-and-coming downtown area. Plus, the local Chamber of Commerce has the most up-to-date information on lodging and other attractions in The Dalles.

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Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters and other online content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.