Kayaking & The Power of Choosing Something New

As I venture into this new year, I am in a space of reflection. I am connecting the thread of my past to my present and getting stoked for my future. Looking back over my experiences in whitewater kayaking, I am profoundly grateful for all of the lessons this sport brings to my life. From getting into a kayak for the first time, to stepping it up and now teaching, whitewater kayaking continues to teach me much about myself, both on and off the water. When I first got into a kayak, it was on a whim. Heeding a tiny 

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This Year, We Dream

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you have had the opportunity to reflect upon the memories of 2016 with awareness and self-love. If you’re like me, you are probably overwhelmed with gratitude for the year’s blessings, and also feeling incredulous that you survived the challenges. You may be looking to the future with much excitement to begin filling blank pages, while still feeling intimidated by the looming possibilities. Existing in such a state can feel quite confusing. Remember that you aren’t alone if you feel somewhat trapped between a year of memories and a year of resolutions. The turning of 

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Why You Should Travel with your Paddle!

I still remember the feeling of pure bliss riding in the back of an old pick up truck under the southern stars after a day of paddling in the breathtaking Chilean Andes. Looking out over the ocean in New Zealand there was a power in the realization that I could go anywhere and do anything with my life. Arriving in Uganda to paddle the White Nile River I remember feeling nervous about traveling on my own and then being greeted by the warm, welcoming smile of Henry, a local driver sent by the rafting company to pick me up. In 

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Yoga for Paddling: Top Poses to Relieve Holiday Stress

In my experience most paddlers are very active types who don’t like to slow down. In our culture we are encouraged to stay busy, keep going and get things done. It’s important to get things done because that’s how we pay our bills, provide for our families and accomplish our goals. Unfortunately few of us are able to do this without experiencing high levels of stress that take a toll on our health. The Holiday Season can compound that with added activities, rich foods, less hours of sunlight and pressure to be happy and joyful all the time. As a 

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Death and love and the river running through

Monday, September 12 – It’s my first day of my senior year of college, and I should be flying out of bed and bustling about and getting myself organized. Instead, I feel the need to be quiet for a bit. There’s a stillness to this morning that I want to honor. One month ago at this time, 7:12 AM, I received a message that stopped me in my tracks. I’d just returned to the US after a research trip to the Philippines. I was curled up on the couch at my friends’ house, nursing my jet lag and working up 

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Getting Intentional: Putting Play into Practice

In early March, I sent Anna Levesque a cold call e-mail asking to get involved in Girls at Play. I had been traveling in New Zealand and my letter of inquiry included a line that summed up my latest truth: “I think that there is a cultural stereotype that women are held back by fear [in whitewater kayaking], but in my experience it is simply that they want to be intentional.” I still think this is true, but I was missing something. In the last year, I have intentionally expanded my boating experience both in variety and challenge. I did 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Ocoee

The sun was bright at 10:30am. 23 women milled around the Ocoee public takeout in clusters. I kept going around introducing myself with so many new faces. More were not even part of our group, but saw us and commented “I wish I was paddling with you all today! That looks SO fun!” After a setting shuttle and choosing our lines through Grumpy’s, we gathered in an eddy just below, lining up for stern squirts and turning heads in a way that only 23 women laughing and playing on the water can do. We broke up into groups for the day, 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Lower Green

This past Saturday, 9 women gathered at Fishtop to paddle the Lower Green and celebrate Shannon by sharing time on the water. Our four year old friend Mei helped us with the warm-up in a newly debuted game of “Mei-tag”, you gotta catch Mei because she’s always it! She made sure to help us carry our boats down and she also had her PFD of the river in a duckie with her Mama Wendy! Way to go Mei! It was a special group! Camaraderie was high and we paddled, party surfed, stern squirted, and even found a few good swimming spots to 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Pigeon

Saturday on the Pigeon River 19 women gathered in the sunshine to celebrate Shannon’s memory. With paddle games, surf stops, stern squirts and splashes, we whisked around the water way. Dropping down eddy by eddy, surf stop by surf stop, everyone had a buddy to cheer and congratulate as after each surf, squirt, ender or roll, ladies came up smiling.   A huge Thank you to Dave Crawford and Rapid Expeditions for donating time to run our shuttle on a busy weekend morning! Arriving back at our cars, we found a pocket of shade for our raffle. Ladies walked away 

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When you want something you've never had…

This past weekend I had three ladies come out to an Intro to Whitewater Clinic. We experienced both sunshine and a thunderstorm together, worked with wet exits, strokes, ferries and eddies. What really struck me was that in the face of something new, these ladies inner strength, light and laughter shone through. Approaching things from a place of “I can” has such a strong impact on our ability to follow through. When we set our minds to something, it then shifts not to a question of our ability, but a focus on the logistics, the execution, the real work that needs to be 

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Meet Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque is the leading expert on kayak instruction for women and yoga and wellness for paddling, including SUP Yoga. Named one of the most inspirational paddlers alive by Canoe and Kayak Magazine, Anna’s twenty-plus years of experience as an accomplished international competitor and instructor has landed her in mainstream publications such as TIME, SHAPE and SELF magazine.

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"Anna is a super skilled kayaker, very concise and clear while catering to all skill levels." - Instructor Candidate Evaluation, NC

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