Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Monday, 28 August 2017 06:02

Should Kayak Anglers Try Yoga?

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For many YakAnglers, combining yoga and paddling doesn’t cross their mind.  Sure, we’ve all heard about yoga classes on paddle boards as the latest trend but we don’t see much need for it with kayak fishing.  Why is that?

Well, first of all, it’d be hard to do any kind of pose when fighting a 50” musky or redfish. Or maybe it’s the stigma that goes with the word yoga.  Images of people struggling to hold a weird pose, closing their eyes and breathing deep, and speaking/singing ohms while their legs are crossed and have incense burning.  Let me be the first to tell you: it’s nothing like that and yoga can really benefit you as an angler and paddler.  When I had the opportunity to read and review Yoga for Paddling by Anna Levesque I was quite excited.  As some of you know, since I started working on my health and fitness my enjoyment of kayak fishing has more than doubled.  There are many reasons for it and was excited to see if this book could help me and you enjoy our passions even more.

The author, Anna, first talks about her travels and experiences as a whitewater paddler and stand up paddle boarder putting 200 plus days on the water per year.  She then shares how she got into yoga because of the issues that came from spending that much time on the water.  Plus how that lead her to pursue training, certification as a yoga teacher and eventually write this book.  I enjoyed reading about her experiences and why she started getting into yoga.   I was able to relate to her experiences in my own way from spending quite a bit of time on the water and discovering the muscle imbalances that happen. 

The next two chapters break down yoga practices and anatomy of paddling respectively. While some of the history and specifics weren’t particularly interesting to me, I did like to know where yoga came from, the reasoning behind it, and the overall goal.  Likewise with the anatomy of paddling.  Some was quite interesting and some when too far in depth for me personally.  However, it was great to know what muscles are used in what way when paddling.  These chapters gave me a firm foundation to refer to when reading the subsequent chapters. 

After that Anna discussed how to keep your body properly aligned when paddling, breathing and relieving stress, and props you can use to assist you with the moves suggested later on.  At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss these chapters.  I mean really, who cares about being aligned right and breathing stress away.  But she breaks it down and offers tips and reasons why you should give these a try in a non-threatening and friendly way.  She also relates it to her past experiences which help me relate it to my own experiences.  Personally, when I started to follow her tips, my back felt better, paddling was stronger, and I was able to enjoy my time on the water even more.

The rest of the book walks you through various poses and sequences to help balance out your muscles and build strength.  Each chapter focuses on certain areas; warm-ups, neck and shoulders, core, relaxation, etc.  Each pose is laid out for you so you can easily follow to follow and achieve success.  With both written instructions and pictures you can easily figure out how to do each move.  Plus she tells you exactly what muscle group each move targets and the purpose of it.  After a little bit of practice (and repetition), I know what poses to do to help prevent certain things and to help relieve stress/pain that may happen.

Enough describing the book, here are my thoughts.  As I mentioned, I was excited when I first received the book and couldn’t wait to start reading.  It was a little hard for me to get into at first.  Why?  As much as I enjoyed hearing about her life, the in-depth history of yoga, and exact science of paddling, it gets old quickly.   Now that is just me, maybe it’s something you’ll love.  HOWEVER, I did continue to read and I am extremely happy that I did.  When I started to get farther in the book and she started to share certain poses, breathing exercises, etc. I was able to relate it to the science behind it that was described earlier.  The “boring” part was very helpful as I now know not only what I need to do but I understand why it works.  This helped me appreciate it even more. 

As far as kayaking and yak angling goes, this book has helped me and my fishing game out quite a bit.  After paddling and fishing for hours I tend to find spots that are sore and hurt a little.  Since reading the book, I know what caused it and can help avoid it by changing posters, breathing, or doing stretches before and/or after my time on the water.  I have found that I have fewer aches and pains and can enjoy my time out even more.

Do I think this book is for everyone?  No, I do not.  This book is not for the person who is against trying new things and refuses to get out of their comfort zone.  For me, I already love doing yoga and saw benefits of it so it wasn’t a struggle.  If you are a person who is willing to learn, try something new, or want a deeper understanding of what happens when you paddle and how to grow your enjoyment then this book would fit you perfectly.  I highly suggest you get Yoga for Paddling, read up and then apply what you read and learn.  Then share it with me and YakAngler.com.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book, fitness, and kayaking!

Let’s keep doing what we love and pursue our passions to the fullest extent possible!  Tight lines!

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Spencer Jones

Although starting to kayak fish in the summer of 2012 Spencer has fished since he was a kid.  He fishes everything from small creeks to large lakes mainly targeting large and smallmouth bass, northerns, and anything he can convince to bite the hook.  When he is not on the water he teaches choir at a middle and high school and teaches private piano lessons, and composes music. Spencer also loves working out and helping folks get healthy and fit!  He lives in Neenah with his lovely wife, 2 dogs, and 4 cats.

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