When I was in my 20's and 30's, I welcomed business travel as a way to explore various restaurants along with occasional sightseeing as time allowed outside of meetings. In fact, I would often plan my meals based on the Zagat's guide for each city, balanced by workouts in the hotel gym or pool. Now I search for the nearest yoga studios and carefully plan my free time based on class offerings. In fact, I happily give up dining out in favor of taking a yoga class and grabbing healthy take-out afterwards. No matter where I travel, the familiarity of the practice is always grounding. In urban areas, I particularly enjoy how complete strangers can fill a room and immediately become connected through the practice of yoga...we share the same breath and guided instruction along with an appreciation for the practice. On my last trip, the nearest yoga studio also had a juice and smoothie bar - bonus! Not only did I sample several yoga classes, but I managed to work my way through a very unique and cleansing raw food bar menu. Apparently my interest in menu sampling has not faded after all.
Every year, a group of travel writers visits the Eastern Upper Peninsula to experience what we have to offer from sites to recreation. This year, their schedule included kayaking with Bird's Eye Adventures and a Sunset SUP yoga class with me. Since their itinerary was planned in advance and full of activity each day, there was very little room for a Plan B should the weather or wind not cooperate. So when the travel writers arrived at Sherman Park at 6PM on a Friday and the forecast was calling for a 90% chance of precipitation (and 9MPH SE wind!) in our remaining hour of daylight, what else was there to do? After assessing their experience with yoga and paddle boarding, we decided on an abbreviated session. We paddled as our warm-up to acclimate to the boards and water - and stay warm - then clipped our SUPs to sand bags to stay stationary and started the yoga practice. The light sprinkle turned to a steady rain, but I wanted the experience to be complete...so even our savasana was in a light rain. Thankfully everyone was a great sport about weathering the elements and enduring a less traditional SUP yoga practice with the sun behind the clouds. At the end of every SUP yoga session, I ask the question, "what's the one word to describe how this experience made you feel?" The responses ranged from "hot" (I believe in the trendy sense) and "freezing," to "fun and "adventurous."
There's a great expression that says "life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain..." and in our case, we made the best of paddle boarding in the rain. Now we'll see what the travel writers will report about this experience!