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The class moves into the Reverse Warrior pose while balancing on paddleboards near the end of an evening on the water in Gulfport.

Around Tampa Bay, standup paddleboards offer a new way to do yoga

The views are fantastic and balance-tested.
The class moves into the Reverse Warrior pose while balancing on paddleboards near the end of an evening on the water in Gulfport. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
The views are fantastic and balance-tested.
Published Nov. 18|Updated Nov. 29

A group of seven took to the water on their standup paddleboards one peaceful evening in September for yoga at sunset.

Instructor Kerry McManemy, 51, brought six inflatable boards for students to rent if needed. McManemy has been a paddleboard yoga instructor since 2016 when she opened Ocean Fitness Yoga.

“Just watching their face when they actually stand up in Warrior 1 or if they do a handstand on a paddleboard. It’s just great to watch them accomplish something new for the first time,” McManemy said.

The group paddled together as they headed from the Gulfport Marina to the calmer, more secluded waters of Clam Bayou. The scenery included a few playful dolphins that popped up to investigate the situation as the sun fell lower into the sky.

“That is a protected area. It’s something different to look at — more scenic,” McManemy said. “We are always in a somewhat shallow area. If you fall, you just put your feet down in the sand and pop back up on the board.”

McManemy used a swimming pool line to create an anchor system to hold the boards in place for her students to participate in a modified restorative vinyasa yoga class.

“It’s a soothing class. We do some crazy stuff, but my goal is to let them forget about everything else in their life and focus on the vibe of the ocean,” she said. “There’s no place better to see a sunset than when you are on a board on the water with the waves rocking. That’s my favorite part.”

Ocean Fitness Yoga is planning a Holiday Boat Parade & SUP Adventure Paddle at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at John’s Pass. For more information, go to oceanfitnessyoga.com or follow @oceanfitnessyoga on Instagram.

Kerry McManemy, 51, of Ocean Fitness Yoga, laughs while balancing an inflatable standup paddleboard on her head as she works to get it off the roof of her car while setting up for an evening yoga class on the water, at the Gulfport Marina boat ramp in Gulfport. McManemy brings six boards to the class for students to rent.
Kerry McManemy, 51, of Ocean Fitness Yoga, laughs while balancing an inflatable standup paddleboard on her head as she works to get it off the roof of her car while setting up for an evening yoga class on the water, at the Gulfport Marina boat ramp in Gulfport. McManemy brings six boards to the class for students to rent. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Kerry McManemy unloads a paddleboard.
Kerry McManemy unloads a paddleboard.
Rachel Mercoglan, 31, right, and Morgan Hooker, 24, back left, both from Tampa, hoist their paddles over their heads while stretching on their boards.
Rachel Mercoglan, 31, right, and Morgan Hooker, 24, back left, both from Tampa, hoist their paddles over their heads while stretching on their boards.
The group moves into the Warrior 2 pose during a standup paddleboard yoga class with Ocean Fitness Yoga in the Clam Bayou Preserve.
The group moves into the Warrior 2 pose during a standup paddleboard yoga class with Ocean Fitness Yoga in the Clam Bayou Preserve.
Kerry McManemy uses a system of a pool line with anchors to strategically place the boards as she sets up for class.
Kerry McManemy uses a system of a pool line with anchors to strategically place the boards as she sets up for class.
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Yoga students in a modified Crescent Lunge.
Yoga students in a modified Crescent Lunge.
Kerry McManemy demonstrates a headstand.
Kerry McManemy demonstrates a headstand.
The class attempts Boat Pose as the sun begins to set.
The class attempts Boat Pose as the sun begins to set.
Keely Maglaughlin, 40, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, does a Wheel Pose.
Keely Maglaughlin, 40, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, does a Wheel Pose.
The group is seen from above as they drop into Child’s Pose.
The group is seen from above as they drop into Child’s Pose.
Morgan Hooker, 24, from Tampa, relaxes during class.
Morgan Hooker, 24, from Tampa, relaxes during class.
The class ends the same way it began, with participants in the Easy Seat pose with their hands to heart. “The love, light and beauty in me honors the love, light and beauty in you. Namaste,” Kerry McManemy said to conclude the class.
The class ends the same way it began, with participants in the Easy Seat pose with their hands to heart. “The love, light and beauty in me honors the love, light and beauty in you. Namaste,” Kerry McManemy said to conclude the class.
Kerry McManemy gets a picture of the setting sun as her class moves into the Warrior 2 pose.
Kerry McManemy gets a picture of the setting sun as her class moves into the Warrior 2 pose.
The sky glows as participants make their way back.
The sky glows as participants make their way back.
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