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Yoga with a view
February 1, 2017

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Shake up your normal yoga routine with Sanibel Dance, Pilates and Yoga's standup paddle board yoga class. Mark Sheme, the studio's SUP yoga instructor, began practicing yoga three years ago. Sheme, along with his wife Debbie, who is the founder of Sanibel Dance, Pilates and Yoga, flew to Greece two years ago to get their yoga certifications.

"One of the things that was introduced to us (in Greece) was the standup paddle board. They showed us how to do classes on the water and I was just blown away," Sheme said.

Shortly after becoming certified, Sheme began offering his SUP yoga classes on Sanibel. Sheme teaches his SUP yoga classes Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Causeway Island A. The cost per class is $45.

Sheme said that some experience jitters the first time doing it, but he finds that once they're out on the water, all they're able to focus on is the moves.

"It works your core, it absolutely challenges and improves your balance, it heightens all your senses on the water and it's just the feeling of being outdoors with the sun on your face, the wind blowing and you're surrounded by water. It's a pretty surreal feeling getting out there and enjoying it," he said.

Sheme has anywhere from five to 12 people per class, of all age groups.

"My age group ranges from teenagers up to 75-year-olds. It appeals to a big group of people, they're curious. I cater what I do to who's out here. If I have a younger group that has done yoga, I try a little more challenging things. If I have an older group, I have plenty of things for them to try where they're going to feel a great sense of accomplishment," Sheme said.

Some of the moves he focuses on while out on the water include sun salutations, the starfish, the bird-dog, the table pose and bridge pose. The following poses improve balance and strengthen the core and gluts.

"We're not out doing anything that's going to allow people to get hurt. I'm very cautious, I typically don't incorporate balancing poses on one foot, because you're going to fall in," Sheme said. "For me, this a very safe, controlled area to bring people out."

Besides just getting a good workout, Sheme hopes that his SUP yoga classes will bring a sense of community to Sanibel.

"I just want them to enjoy it. I hope they get some physical challenges for the body, but it's more of getting that relaxation, the mental recharge and a sense of accomplishment. We have people who have never done this and an hour and a half later they have confidence that they can do this and they've enjoyed it immensely. It's building a community. I'd love to come out here and have 20 people on the water one day, and it'll happen," Sheme said.

For more information on SUP yoga classes or to sign up, go to sanibelpilatesyoga.com or call (239) 204-7553.

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