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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Ayurveda Tips for Staying Cool in the Heat of Summer

The hot summer months are considered the season of Pitta (Fire) in Ayurveda. The hot qualities of Pitta can lead to overheating, skin conditions such as rashes, digestive disruptions such as diarrhea and feelings of frustration and anger. According to Ayurveda, it’s important to incorporate opposite qualities into our diet and lifestyle to counteract the most prominent qualities of each season. By bringing in opposite qualities to the heat of summer, we help our bodies maintain balance, health and vitality. Here are my top 5 tips for staying healthy and cool this summer: 1. Enjoy the water! This season is 

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Yoga for Paddling: Relieving Low Back Pain

Here in the U.S. we spend over 100 billion dollars per year on low back pain relief (trying to get it). What is most astounding about this is that most, if not all, low back pain is avoidable. The key is knowledge, understanding and a little discipline too. First, your low back pain and discomfort have nothing to do with your low back. Paddlers who get out of their boats or off their boards and immediately do a forward fold to stretch their low backs are actually exacerbating the problem. We incorrectly assume that the discomfort we feel is directly 

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Ecuador Womens Trip Recap by Tracy Welch

Tracy won the trip to Ecuador at the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series party and raffle in October. Here, she tells her experience in her own words: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stepped off the plane in Ecuador, but I knew it was going to be awesome. I met my other trip mates when we waited for luggage, and I knew we were in for a wild ride. Everywhere you looked in Ecuador was jaw-dropping, especially when we crossed over a 14k foot pass in the Andes to get to the EcoLodge. The rainforest was stunning – I 

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Yoga for Paddling: Side Plank Variations

Side Plank Variations for Greater Balance and Power Our side body muscles are mainly used for lateral flexion of the spine and hiking the hip. This means their strength AND flexibility are key for a successful hip snap and roll in whitewater kayaking.  As well as carrying our kayaks on one shoulder for portages. In stand up paddleboarding these muscles engage as we bend slightly to one side in the final stage of our forward stroke and help us balance when we’re rotated over to the side for other strokes. They also contract and release as we alternate pressure in 

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The Art of Self-Care

Self-care seems to be a ‘new’ buzzword in the realm of health and wellness and I’m so glad that it is gaining traction and popularity. Self-care has tended to be associated with selfishness, especially for women who have been, and continue to be, expected to focus on taking care of and nurturing others. In today’s world women are not only expected to take care of family, social engagements and household (traditional societal expectations), but also be successful career women in their field. We want all of the ambition and success, and what studies are showing is that ‘having it all’ 

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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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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 clear and inspired instructor. Her passion comes through." - Instructor Candidate Evaluation, MA

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