BLOG: Paddle on, Wayne

Katherine Ranzenberger
York Dispatch

There are certain things that take someone outside of their comfort zone. For some, it's trying a new food. For others, it's being social for a bit.

The Susquehanna River is shown looking north from Safe Harbor Dam.

For me this week, it was going out on a paddle board and doing yoga with 10 complete strangers on the Susquehanna River.

I spent the beginning of my Sunday applying liberal amounts of sunscreen while psyching myself up for this yoga and paddle boarding event at Shank's Mare Outfitters in Wrightsville. I wanted so badly to just stay at home, in bed with my cat, and watch Netflix all day. ("Orange is the New Black"'s new season deserves a re-watch, and who am I to deny it that right?)

However, at 9:10 a.m., I stepped into my car and headed east. I turned up my music - you can check out my playlist here - so I couldn't hear my own thoughts and just drove.

When I got to Shank's Mare, I sat on one of the cute little benches out front with a couple of other people ready for the yoga and paddle board class. We got our personal flotation devices and paddles, then headed down to the edge of the Susquehanna.

None of us had ever paddle boarded before.

The paddle board instructor gave us a few quick instructions, showing us how to properly paddle and how to keep our "hula hips" going so we don't fall off the board. (You may laugh, but that stuff really works.)

Then we were out on the water, standing and paddling down to Fishing Creek more than half a mile down stream. I have never sweat more in my life than that morning, paddling with beads of sweat dripping into my eyes.

Once we all made it there, none of us falling off our boards, we started the yoga portion. On our boards. In the middle of the water.

We started very basic, some easy lotus and sitting positions. Then we moved on to the standing positions.

Move on to warrior one, and I fall into the water.

Warrior two, someone else falls in.

Do a twist move that I can't remember the name of and two more are in the river.

We all had a great laugh, and we learned a lot about balance.

After about an hour of yoga, we ended in corpse pose on the boards, floating gently down Fishing Creek, listening to the water trickle through, the wind shaking the leaves and watching the birds fly above us.

When we all felt ready, we paddled the more than half-mile back to the landing. I almost fell off my board headed back because of waves and my own shaking legs.

Sunburned and exhausted, I headed home to shower and contemplate what I had just experienced.

Yoga and paddle boarding go well together. I had done yoga before, but the addition of a paddle board and water added a challenge, forcing me to think of new ways to balance.

It was extremely outside of my comfort zone for so many reasons. I was in shorts and a tank top, showing more skin than I'm used to. I was surrounded by strangers doing something I had never done before. I was forced to challenge myself, to keep balanced in a precarious spot.

Overall, the experience was extremely positive. I would love to go back to Shank's Mare and do the class again. This has stoked the fire inside me to go back to yoga for my own personal well-being.

I'm definitely going to take my co-workers paddle boarding one weekend. That was the funnest part of the entire experience. I'd love to someday own a paddle board and have it be a main hobby of mine.

The only downside of my experience was my phone taking a swim. I had a LifeProof case on it and had even tested it the night before to make sure it wouldn't leak. I now have very expensive paperweight on my desk and a new phone on the way.

It was my own fault for trusting the case and not following the advice of Shank's Mare to leave my phone. I'm definitely going back to that shop to get my paddle board on, though. It was completely worth it, sunburn, paperweight and all.

Welcome to the comfort zone, paddle boarding.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at kranzenberger@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDKatherine. Follow [Your]k Health on Facebook.