How to Paddle Class IV with Fewer Strokes

I recently posted a video of me running my favorite rapid, Boxcar, on the North Fork of the French Broad here in Western North Carolina. The rapid consists of a short slide leading into a 15 ft drop that you boof into a beautiful little gorge. Here it is for you! Both my Creek Week students and folks online expressed surprise at how few strokes I took to run the rapid smoothly. Taking fewer strokes is one big difference between beginner/intermediate skills and intermediate/advanced skills, especially stepping it up to Class IV creeking. As you progress you learn that creating 

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Top 3 Reasons to try SUP Yoga

I’ve been around paddlers and yogis for over 20 years and I’ve heard ‘hardcore’ paddlers make fun of SUP yoga and yogis treat it as a novelty fad. I always say: ‘Don’t dis it until you’ve tried it!’ BTW, why is it so easy for humans to dis stuff we haven’t tried? The health, body and wellness benefits of SUP yoga are many and below I share my top 3 reasons to try SUP yoga:   More Core, Fewer Imbalances SUP Yoga is an effective way to bring greater awareness to imbalances in the body and learn how to effectively 

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3 Easy Spring Cleanses that Work

The truth about cleanses is that they don’t have to be long, arduous or expensive to work.  And, yes, they do work. Some don’t even require that you go without food! Benefits of cleanses include clearer skin, more energy, reduced bloating/digestive distress, weight loss and enhanced sense of taste. I’ve had folks (including my Mom) tell me that they’re skeptical of cleanses because the body has the ability to cleanse itself. The body does do a pretty good job of cleansing itself IF/WHEN we eat a simple diet, eat only when we’re hungry and only to 75% full, and lead 

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Love and Discipline: The Art of Self Care

Everyone loves talking about love in February. Love is great and all, but my favorite part of Valentine’s Day is the ‘pink food’ I have an excuse to indulge in. Pink frosted cookies, pink cake and pink champagne are some of my faves. After all, love is associated with sweet taste, a taste, according to Ayurveda, that grounds us and offers comfort. That’s part of the reason sweets are so popular. In our busy, over-stimulated lives where our nervous systems are often stretched to the max, sweets offer us a taste of love and a sense of contentment. It’s way 

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Immune Boosting Winter Routine

Cold and flu season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have to surrender to getting sick. According to Ayurveda, when our digestive fire is strong our immune system is strong. With a little daily effort we can avoid having our lives disrupted by seasonal illness. How do I know it works? I haven’t had the flu or a cold in over 5 years. We each have a unique constitution so it’s possible that my immune system is on the tougher side giving me a natural immune boost. Having said that, through my Ayurveda Wellness Counseling practice I’ve witnessed 

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How to Build Emotional Resilience on the Water

According to the dictionary, resilience is defined as, ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.’ A second definition is: ‘the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.’ When you experience a difficult, disappointing or scary situation on the water how quickly do you recover? Are you able to let it roll off your back and feel empowered to paddle on? No matter your answer, know that you can increase your resilience with practice. In the past, when I performed poorly in a competition or got trashed on a river and swam out of my kayak I 

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The Risk of Playing it Safe

When I struggle with a line it’s usually because I’m trying to play it too safe. In this photo it’s obvious that I’m struggling with my angle. That’s because I used too much right angle attempting to avoid the hole and rock at the bottom. Had I relaxed and kept my boat angle a little more downstream I would not be struggling physically and mentally. I witness this in myself and also in my kayak students. In our attempt to avoid an obstacle or intimidating feature we end up in a more dangerous place. We also often end up in 

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Tips for Staying Healthy during Fall Season

Fall and spring are the times of year when most people experience colds, flus and sickness. According to Ayurveda that is because of variable weather. One day it’s hot, the next it’s cool and rainy. The morning could be warm and then the wind picks up in the afternoon and we’re not prepared. In the Ayurvedic tradition, fall season is the season of Vata (Air). The qualities of Vata include mobile (think wind), rough, cold and dry. To maintain the balance of health in the body during this season we want to invite the opposite qualities of static, soft, warm 

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Ladies Taking Over Southeast Rivers!

It’s been another summer of great Ladies Southeast Paddling Series and Green River Takeover events! Both the Series and the Takeover are community building events that also raise money for the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund. This year, part of the money raised will be donated from the fund to Our Voice’s initiative to combat human trafficking in WNC. The other part will go to American Canoe Association‘s fund set up to support elite US female slalom athletes. I runs the LSPS on 5 different rivers (Tuckaseegee, Nantahala, Pigeon, Ocoee and Lower Gauley) offering an opportunity for women of all skill 

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Eclipse Viewing from the Water: Bald Eagles and Crescent Moons

When I found out that parts of western North Carolina were in the path of totality for the solar eclipse I immediately new that I wanted to view it from the water. My husband and I (and Ceiba the schnoodle) launched our SUPs below Wesser Falls on the Nantahala River. We paddled the flow out and into Lake Fontana and the skies were clear! About 45 minutes into the eclipse the light started to change. We noticed crescent moon shadows traveling across our boards when we floated under trees. The shadows also appeared to be much crisper than usual. We 

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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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Testimonials

"My time spent with Anna was an important component of moving mentally and physically through a tough time in my life. The holistic approach and internal focus of Ayurveda allowed me to gain the inner health that I needed to achieve increased performance and happiness in all areas of life." - Chris, Professional Kayaker, NC

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