Paddleboard Yoga: Seagoing Serenity

Photo courtesy of WASUP Yoga

Yogini Hasna Atry brings an exciting new discipline to the Ballard shore.

Cross-legged and poised into a 90-degree angle, yoga instructor Hasna Atry carved her toes into the sand of a Ballard beach next to Ray’s Boathouse as the water lapped onshore.

“This is being out in nature in a different way, where nothing is too stable in the middle of the water, which I think is a mirror of what’s happening within us,” Atry postulated, summoning an inner-flower child with her gentle, guiding voice. “The essence is always stable, but our life situation is always changing. In our [yoga] practice, you have to learn how to constantly realign yourself with the changing environment.”

Salmon Bay is the ever-evolving neighborhood where Atry leads her paddleboard yoga classes. WASUP Yoga (short for Washington Stand Up Paddleboard) has created a healthy buzz since the season started in late May.

Classes run two hours. The first half consists of a shoreside paddleboarding lesson, and then it’s on to the 10-foot boards for your watery yoga session. Though many of the poses are similar to that of studio yoga, Atry has modified her class to meet the demands of both the water and her students’ bodies.

Atry has practiced yoga for nearly a decade, and taught it for two years. In 2010, she launched the state’s first stand-up paddleboard yoga class through Surf Ballard, the surf shop co-founder Andrew Drake.

Atry takes part in other athletic pursuits, as well. She has an extensive background in competitive swimming, a skill that has enabled her to obtain certification as a lifeguard, as well as compete in multiple triathlons.

The company mantra claims Drake and Atry strive to offer a “unique way to connect with the rich resources of nature and community – all while touching the well-spring of balance, wellness and bliss that resides in all of us.”

“I try to offer a quieting of the mind,” Atry said. “We come to unite with the light inside of us. To find whatever that piece is that we all share that is always peaceful and quiet.”

By conducting her yoga class in the water, Atry said her class is able to see clearly where their points of harmony and physical well-being are. She believes that once her students come to terms with that concept, they are no longer subject to the whims of a constantly bouncing mind.

“Often, people come to the practice for a really good workout, which it is,” Atry said. “Then there are the more subtle aspects that reveal themselves. In many ways, I try to encourage people to connect with that essence and stability.”

For those who might be apprehensive about climbing onto a paddleboard, Atry assures that, ultimately, the class is relaxing.

“You kind of have no choice [on the board],” she said. “The more you grip, the more you hold and the more rigid you are, the less stable you’ll be – and that’s when you fall in. In that final relaxation poise, when you’re lying down with your heart open and just being held by the water really allows you to let go, you just release.”

WASUP Yoga is offered daily in Salmon Bay. First time guests may gain admission to the class in the form of one, five or 10-day passes — or a one-month unlimited option for all the Atry yoga you can get.

WASUP Yoga at Surf Ballard | 6300 Seaview Ave. N.W., Seattle | (206) 726-7878