It’s natural to seek water in the summer months, and for people looking for a way to exercise and be on water at the same time, FluidMotion Pittsburgh has a number of aquatic fitness offerings at North Park.
Classes include Full Moon Floating Yoga, SUP and Sip, BOGA Yoga, BOGA FiT, Core Fusion and Paddleboard Yoga. All combine, in some way, exercising while floating on the water, whether on a paddleboard or what’s called a BOGA FiTMat, either in the pool or on the lake.
Previous experience — with yoga, standup paddleboarding or otherwise — is not a requirement. The participants are, both literally and figuratively, all over the board, said FluidMotion co-owner Melissa Lucciola.
“I just taught a yoga class and had the gamut,” she said. “We had an 18-year-old, a 65-year-old, a soccer mom and a guy who just kind of walked up and said, ‘Can guys do it too? That looks like fun.’ And it is,” she said. “It’s really the chance to be a kid again and to go back to playfulness, have fun and let go of any expectation you have for yourself and just be. The whole opportunity to be on the water in the sunshine, out in nature, it’s just incredible.”
Standup paddleboarding — or SUP — has grown in popularity over the past decade. Just as the name suggests, participants stand on what looks like an oversized surfboard and use a long paddle to move through water. Fluid Motion takes that a step further by offering yoga classes on the boards to intensify the balance aspects of the practice.
The BOGAFiTMat is an 8-foot-by-3-foot floating fitness mat with a yoga mat built in. BOGA FiT is a branded, high-intensity interval training class that combines cardio, strength, flexibility and balance. BOGA Yoga offers the chance to do a typical yoga class, with salutations, balance and strength postures, while on the floating mat.
“Those little stabilizer muscles in your feet and ankles, you think about doing yoga and your hands and wrists and core are working like they’ve never worked before,” said Lucciola, who began teaching yoga in 2010 and is a certified SUP Yoga tTeacher/trainer and master instructor with BOGA Surf & Paddle Company. “It’s such an incredible experience for people who are novices or who’ve never been on any unstable surface. They realize they’re capable of doing all these things.”
Of course, falling in can be part of the process, and part of the fun. A number of classes are offered in the pool at North Park simply because it’s a bit less intimidating than the thought of going in the lake, although some classes are offered on the lake as well.
The important thing, in addition to the exercise, is that participants are on the water. Citing the bestselling book, “Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do,” by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, Lucciola said brain chemistry changes when you’re on, in or near the water.
“I can see the transformation in people from the time they step on the water or are standing on the side of the pool or the lake,” she said. “There’s a point where they take a huge exhale and they’re like, ‘This is amazing.’”
FluidMotion is offering two classes per day at North Park this summer Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and one per day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. New students can pay $20 for their first class, and single sessions are $35 thereafter. It also offers a four-class pass for $100 or an unlimited summer season pass for $325. Reduced last-minute prices are offered as available through the MindBody app.
Visit fluidmotionpgh.com for complete schedules, descriptions of classes and links to register.
Karen Price is a Tribune-Review contributor.