Anna’s Gift Guide for the Health Conscious Paddler

Ready to be the coolest gift giver this season? Give meaningful and fun gifts that contribute to your favorite paddler’s health, wellbeing and passion for paddling. Read on for my top picks  for paddlers who do (or would like to) take on their wellness with as much stoke as they take on the water! Under $25 Asheville Tea Company Pumpkin Pie Chai Delicious, hand packed tea by Asheville outdoor enthusiast Jessie Dean. Perfect for pre and post paddling, especially during the cool winter/spring months. Full of digestive spices that are also sweet and comforting. My favorite recipe for preparation: 1TBS 

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6 Secrets to Beat Holiday Bloat

Do you experience bloat, discomfort and lethargy from overindulging during the Holiday Season? If so, you’re not alone! I think we’ve all been there 🙂 The good news is that I’ve got some tips that will help you enjoy the good cheer and delicious foods of the season without the heaviness.   As an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor I’ve spent a lot of time studying and practicing effective strategies for boosting digestion, one of the key bodily functions responsible for our energy level, mood and nutrition. During this time of year it’s easy to let our digestive systems get bogged down 

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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 cleansing 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 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 a 

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Yoga for Paddling: Basic Low Lunge

(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque) Yoga for paddling emphasizes the importance of strengthening the muscles we underuse in paddling and stretching the muscles that we overuse. Our hips, low back, and legs experience a double whammy in our culture due to the time we spend sitting – at our desks, in our cars, watching TV, and so on. All that sitting can lead to chronically contracted hip flexors and hamstrings. Kayakers and canoeists also then sit in their boats. SUP paddlers are a little better off, but their lower bodies are still susceptible to imbalances. One yoga 

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Yoga for Paddling: Three-Count Belly Breathing

(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque) Breathwork (Pranayama) is one of the eight limbs of yoga. According to yoga, the breath is our life force (prana) and can be manipulated to warm us up, cool us down, stimulate digestion, energize us or induce relaxation. Another benefit of breath control is to bring you to present moment awareness on your yoga practice, and to manage the effects of stress. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In her 2013 TED talk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains how stress cannot simply be labeled as bad. She uses scientific evidence to show 

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Yoga for Paddling: Side Angle Stretch

(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque) The muscles of the side body are mainly responsible for lateral flexion of the spine and hiking the hip. Kayakers and canoeists activate these muscles for hip snaps, performing the roll, edge control, and stability. SUP paddlers also use these muscles for balance and stability on the board, and when carrying the board by the handle. Stretching and strengthening the side body for full range of motion helps paddlers achieve better balance and control when paddling. Side angle stretch is a great pose for stretching the top side body and it is 

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Yoga for Paddling: Legs up the Wall

(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque) Relaxation and stress management are important in maintaining our health, happiness and performance in life. This is especially important in our culture where the focus is almost exclusively on expending energy. Keep moving, keep busy, and keep striving. We fuel our bodies on the move and and sacrifice sleep in the name of ambition. There’s nothing wrong with being up to great things in life. It’s important to share our unique gifts with the world, and that requires action and energy. Having said that, it is unrealistic to think that our bodies 

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Yoga for Paddling: Simple Seated Twist

(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque) The obliques are key muscles in the movement of torso rotation and tend to be chronically contracted in paddlers. Twists help to stretch the obliques, give our internal organs a good massage, stimulate digestion, and calm the nervous system. One of my favorite twists for paddlers is the simple seated twist. This is a gentle twist that invites the obliques to lengthen, keeps your spine supple, gives a gentle massage to the internal organs, and stimulates your digestive fire. Photo credit scottmartinimages.com Take a comfortable cross-legged seat on your mat. Sit up 

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Yoga for Paddling: Table Top Pose

(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque) Core strength is an important element of effective paddling technique. A strong core assists us in sitting up tall and helps to protect our low backs from risk of injury. According to yoga, we are not striving for a “six pack.” In fact, yoga advocates for a soft, supple belly that allows room for our organs to function optimally and for our breath to be full and easeful. The optimal expression of a pose, according to yoga texts, includes both steadiness and ease. Core strength contributes to being able to hold a 

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

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