The Shoshin of Kayak Instruction: The Beginner’s Mind

“In the Beginner’s Mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.” – Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki In Zen Buddhism, the Beginner’s Mind is the idea of having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. I had the opportunity to experience this for myself this summer teaching beginner whitewater kayak clinics with Jill Wrenn at Mind, Body, Paddle. While I was there to teach brand new boaters how to whitewater kayak, I realize that I learned just 

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A Quest, a Question and the Power of a Quiet Mind

For approximately half of my life, I’ve been on a quest for water. Around the age of 11, when I read a novel about a 16-year-old girl rowing the Grand Canyon, I developed a deep fondness for the concept of navigating waterways via boat. Anyone who’s ever lived with me, traveled with me, or gone to school with me knows to look in the closest body of water that will float a boat if they need to get ahold of me. Writing this, I feel incredibly blessed to recollect all the water I’ve found in the past decade, in the 

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Southeast Ladies Paddling Series: Ocoee

Saturday, August 1st, 2015, circa 11 o’clock in the morning. 21 intrepid ladies deftly slipped into the currents of the Ocoee and stunned every soul on the river with the excellent lines they picked. For those of us first-timers, Ocoee veterans stood by our sides and offered keen advice and constant cheerleading. Talk about the spirit of community–we formed a vast yet cohesive team of ladies, navigating the river not as individuals, but as friends. The smiles, the teamwork and the mutual support were outstanding! Shannon, of course, would have only smiled upon this…maybe that’s where all of that lovely sunshine 

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Southeast Ladies Paddling Series: Pigeon River

Saturday graced us with another gorgeous helping of sunshine, and a gorgeous group of ladies to match! 17 of us gathered at the Pigeon for a run full of plain old fun and smiles. Shannon would approve of the laughter floating up and down the river, emanating from our group! Everyone played hard and styled it up–as always, it was tricky to choose a winner for our Werner gold medal/bottle opener! With her incessant dedication to styling some awesome ferries, Kristin House ended up taking home the gold. Congrats Kristin!  We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Rapid Expeditions 

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Southeast Ladies Paddling Series: FB9

After Saturday’s lovely run of the French Broad section 9, we are officially more than halfway done with the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series for 2015! We have completed 4 installments out of 7–how time flies when you’re having fun! A huge thank you to the 17 ladies who joined us on FB9, several of which completed their personal first descents of the section. Congrats, ladies, you all rocked it! Special mention goes to Anna Sprout, this week’s recipient of the Werner goal medal/bottle opener. Anna tirelessly worked the river, going after some awesome peel-outs and ultimately achieving her first combat roll! 

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River Reflections Featuring Kristin Evans!

Taking the time to reflect upon our experiences on the river–whether it be a brief meditation at the end of a day of paddling, or an in-depth reflection on years worth of learning–can be quite rewarding. Oftentimes, the milestones we meet in a given day form mere tiny threads in a larger, intricate weave of personal breakthroughs, transformation and growth. Embracing the ways in which the river helps us to grow tends to foster further growth, not to mention provides excellent opportunities for gratitude. We’ve asked some ladies who have been hanging out on the river with us for awhile to share with 

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Southeast Ladies Paddling Series: Nantahala

The 1st of July brought us to our third installment of the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series. We had 40 women join us for a misty, splashy, fun-filled run of the Nantahala Gorge! We raised $365.00 for the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund, bringing the series total to $980.00. Keep it up, ladies! We can’t thank you enough for supporting the fund’s mission to ultimately bring kayaking to underserved women and girls, as a means of empowerment and confidence-building. Also, we extend a huge thanks to our sponsors, Dagger, Werner and Kokatat. Remember that your raffle tickets have you in the running for a Dagger kayak, 

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Paddle Like a Girl

By Anna Wagner I walked into a wine bar in Hood River, Oregon, a couple of nights ago with my Mom. We had just had a long day on the road, eaten a delicious dinner, and were looking for a nice place to enjoy a glass of wine and some live music. So, here we found just the place we were looking for, and strolled in. As we stepped through the doors, I walked passed two guys that were around my age. They commented on the hat I was wearing; ‘nice hat,’ they both said. I was wearing a paddling-brand 

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SUP Yoga at Mtn Sports Fest Recap

This Memorial Day weekend we kicked off summer by offering free SUP Yoga classes at the Mtn Sports Fest here in Asheville. SUP Yoga is a wonderful way to bring your practice outdoors while adding some challenge. Practicing yoga on the boards enhances balance and alignment as well as relaxation (there’s nothing like floating on your back with your fingers dangling in the water for relaxation pose). The classes were an hour and a half long and we used an anchor system to keep boards in place. We had a great time and thank everyone who came out! We’ll be 

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Interning for Girls at Play

Today marks the beginning of my fourth week in the Southeast, interning with Girls at Play. These past weeks have been full to the brim of paddling along with Creek Week and working on technique, exploring new rivers, meeting unforgettable women, and being inspired. My body is sore from paddling, laughing, and learning! I am currently in my last quarter of undergrad at California Polytechnic State University, studying Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration. Our final quarter requirements consist of interning for a company that we can see ourselves being a part of after graduation. This is a great chance for 

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Meet Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque is the leading expert on paddling instruction for women and yoga 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, instructor, coach and author has landed her in mainstream publications such as TIME, SHAPE and SELF.

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"Anna taught me how to create powerful digestion through Ayurveda. I think of it as 'yoga for my belly.' Once I hit 35, my digestion really weakened and Ayurvedic teas, tips and tranquility teachings help me create a total stress resilient lifestyle (& stomach) ... I'm deeply grateful." -  Michelle Tennant, Age 47, Flat Rock, NC, Small Business Owner

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