What’s On meets one of the leading instructors of paddleboard yoga in Abu Dhabi. Find out about stand-up paddle yoga at Hilton Abu Dhabi.

Paddleboard yoga instructor in Abu DhabiOne of the more unusual sports in the capital is paddleboard yoga, or stand-up paddle yoga, as it’s sometimes called. As the name suggests, this novel pursuit combines the stretching postures of yoga with a trip to sea on a stand-up paddleboard. The sound of the water serves to relax and focus the mind of participants as they attempt to maintain their balance and practise their postures.

Local instructor Xia Tyson reveals how it can improve your health…

How did you become a stand-up paddle yoga instructor? I was a Vinyasa power yoga teacher to start with then there was a free paddle board yoga event at Yas Marina where I tried it and I fell in love with it. I bought my own paddleboard and then saw Youtube videos of a woman in America doing something called surfboard yoga – yoga on a surfboard, and realised I could do that too. It’s really not that difficult.

What are the benefits of stand-up paddle yoga? The main benefit is for core strength, because you are on top of the water and it’s moving… you have to keep your balance and work your muscles harder to maintain your postures and prevent yourself from falling in. There are the normal yoga benefits of deep stretching and improved blood circulation too. And there is the wonderful training quality of water, because the sound of the water is so soothing… it is more peaceful and relaxed and helps the yoga go better.

Do you need any experience? You need to be able to swim. Most students are in their twenties and thirties, but anyone can benefit.

How long are sessions? 90 minutes, with an hour of yoga and 15 minutes each way to paddle out to sea and back. Sessions usually take place on Saturday before sunset.

Any advice for beginners? Be open hearted and have fun! Really, listen to your breathing, listen to your body and don’t push beyond your body’s limit in the various postures.

Watercooled, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Saturdays before sunset, Dhs120. Tel. (02) 6395997. Taxi Hilton Corniche. watercooleddubai.com/abu-dhabi