Stand up and Paddle. Or do a headstand. As you prefer.
I love yoga in the fall. When the weather is miserable, it’s too wet to ride, and the snow isn’t here yet, yoga is amazing, to heat up the body and get the energy flowing. In the summer time though… it’s harder to motivate. Perhaps that’s behind local yogi, Georgette Metcalfe’s new passion. Paddle Board Yoga. She admits that at first she thought it was just a fad. But then she tried it, and delighted in the movement.
Now that One Mile Lake is the hot-spot (cooling off spot) in town, we checked in with Georgette to find out more.
How long have you been in the Pemberton region?
I have lived in the Pemberton/Birken area for about 15 years. Before that I lived in Whistler for 5 years.
What drew you to the practice?
Although I was quite athletic I felt the desire to become more connected with my body. I loved the freedom with that integration of body, mind and breathe all working as one. Also, the spiritual aspect was and still is a continuing journey of wonderment.
I certainly did not want to become a teacher in those days. I had a private practice and went to classes for self maintenance.
After having twins in 2000 I needed more and more time to get grounded and stay healthy. We used to spend quite a bit of time in Mexico where I would teach a few classes on the beach with friends. I loved sharing the gift of Yoga with others and seeing the inspiration it brought into their lives. After much thought I realized the path of Yoga for me was undeniable.
I attended your yoga jam at the Community Centre for Japan, and loved your approach, especially when you said, practice non-violence towards yourself. What are your teaching and yogic influences?
My yogic influences firstly come from ‘teach to learn’. I am as much a student as anyone who comes to my classes and continuously learn from them in every way. Leslie Young (my first teacher), Kashi Richardson, Gioia Irwin and Judith Lasater, amongst many others, have had immense influences on my teaching style. AlthoughI have had education in many different styles of Yoga my foundation comes fom Vijnana Yoga, meaning to recognize, feel and understand from the inside.
What is your teaching schedule like? When and where do you teach?
My teaching schedule entails classes at the Community Centre where I teach ‘Yoga for Stiff Guys’, Children’s Yoga (classes and Pro D Day Yoga Camps) and an array of regular classes. I am also at the High School teaching for the Life Skills program. At the Elementary School I teach for the children and teachers. In Birken I have a regular class at the Mute Raven Studio in Poole Creek. This summer I will be doing Paddle board yoga at One Mile Lake. Currently myself and a fellow Yoga teacher are working on opening a Yoga and Wellness Centre in Pemberton…stay tuned.
Tell me about your favourite kind of student? You teach a lot of kids yoga, and also offer ProD Day yoga for kids. Why is yoga beneficial for kids? Aren’t they naturally flexible and blissed out?
I absolutely love teaching Yoga to children and youth! My son is making a Yoga video at his school of the students and myself. I am hoping this will promote Yoga to officially come into the school curriculum. Children/Youth are similar to adults in the way that some are naturally flexible and some aren’t. Certainly if they play a lot of sports particular areas can become stiff. As children become young adults many other challenges reveal themselves in their posture and mental health such as puberty and a developing body, peer pressure, family relationships and school pressure. On a personal note, both my children have ADHD, mild turrets and dyslexia. I know they are not alone in our local schools. I see the benefits of calming the mind as well as moving and breathing with intention having great influences on their day. By the way, it is super fun too!
What else do you do? You organised a fashion show fundraiser for the Skate Park. You organised a Yoga Jam. Do you still practice Thai Massage?
Through Yoga I am able to collaborate with others and stay active with our community. I love bringing awareness and fundraising for great causes. The draw is keeping things fresh with inspiration. Even when I am feeling a little nervous or uncomfortable (like doing paddle board yoga) I always come back to my practice of staying present and it somehow provides allowance for things to flow. My children are both involved with the skateboarding community, soccer and biking. This keeps my husband and I quite busy. Yes, I still practice Thai Massage but mostly to reimburse certificates from fundraising gatherings. Firstly I am a busy mom, but a close second goes to Yoga education and teaching.
So, really? Stand up paddleboard yoga? Why not just do yoga on the beach, and then go for a paddle? Why combine the two?
Stand up paddle board yoga is a new love for me. At first I was apprehensive, thinking it was just a fad. Because the board is not supported by a solid foundation there is a natural connection with your body to root down and expand into movement. Alignment and core strength are inevitable on the paddle board while the aspects of body, mind, breathe and deep sense of awareness are immediately drawn into the forefront. Teaching outside and especially on water adds inspiration, humility, grace and of course FUN! Besides, falling in the water is refreshing since we will have a hot summer right???
What does a person need to bring with them, if they’re planning to try an SUP yoga session?
Just bring yourself to One Mile Lake. Diana is the owner and director of One Mile Stand Up. She has a small shack on the beach and you register there.
Stand Up got its start on One Mile last summer – what kind of numbers turned out? Do you think it’s about to hit it’s stride?
I had heard that SUP is gaining rapid popularity. I did not know much about it until Diana asked me to come on board. Now, with summer approaching I see more about it in media and from speaking with others. It is great for families and/or friends to do together or maybe one prefers to go solo. Like I said before, it is a new love for me…I enjoy it in any way.
(Photo Credit: Mike Zgud. Instructor: Laura Zgud)
How has your practice of yoga changed or altered you personally?
I am constantly learning more about the gift yoga provides. It has so much to offer that I believe it is limitless. This is one of the major draws for me as it underlines my daily existence. I suppose I am a seeker in life and yoga in all it’s bountifulness is something I could spend eternity exploring.
What do you like most about summers in Pemberton?
Summers in Pemberton are the best! I remember traveling here when I lived on the north shore for a quick summer camping trip. Spending time at any of the local lakes, hiking, biking or just enjoying the garden’s abundance are all things I look forward to this summer.
Where can people find you?
People can contact me at Georgettemetcalfe@gmail.com or 604 452 0007.