Timing is Everything

Global Partner

Written by Meghan Hanebutt

When I received my 200-hour RYT yoga certification earlier this year, I knew it was only a matter of time before I incorporated a SUP yoga certification into my repertoire. As an adamant lover of the sea since birth and a dedicated yogi since 2009, combining the two activities just made sense to me. I’ve surfed for over 15 years and informally paddled in bays and oceans in California, Hawaii, and Delaware, so I was eager to add a SUP yoga practice to my routine and then to be able to share it with others.

When it came down to choosing an SUP yoga school, timing was everything. I was lucky enough to complete my 200-hour yoga certification on Bali in May, with an Australian program that also offers a sup yoga certification. Unfortunately, I just missed the registration deadline at the end of April for the sup portion. After completing the four-week yoga program, I moved back to my home state of Delaware and created a beachside yoga business in Fenwick Island called Surf and Soul Yoga.

As I researched SUP yoga certification programs in the area I was surprised to find one conveniently located nearby and hosted by a local paddleboard company during the month of June. It seemed too good to be true, and ultimately it was.

Communicating with the company and registering for the program proved rather difficult, not to mention that the entire program would have cost over $1,000 (not including board rental). The financial timing just didn’t work, so I focused the next few months on growing my beach yoga business (which in the end was absolutely the right move).

It was July by the time my SUP yoga stars aligned. One of my childhood best friends was visiting me and she mentioned a girl named Jessie Benson in the Baltimore area who had recently opened up a SUP yoga business called FloYo.

She put us in touch and we instantly realized we had a lot in common, from our love of travel to our passion for watersports and many things in between. Jessie’s family even has a home just down the street in Fenwick Island, where she has her sights set on opening a FloYo location during the upcoming summer seasons.

become sup yoga certified

Between both of our busy schedules we were able to set a date for just a week later to hit the water together. Jessie was gracious enough to instruct me one-on-one in the harbor in the quaint little fishing town of Dundalk, MD, just outside of Baltimore.

We covered a lot of ground/water during our time together, and I could tell that Jessie is serious not only about developing good SUP yoga instructors, but particularly about their development of strong SUP skills, with a major focus on paddling safety. Registered through World Paddle Association, a large portion of FloYo’s certification program focuses on paddling technique, water rescue, and towing.

Benson’s love for paddle sports runs deep. Formerly a rower in high school and in college, she discovered SUP in the Gili Islands in Indonesia when she was backpacking in Southeast Asia. She has her Paddlefit certification, her Water Rescue and SUP I certifications from ASI, and her Master Instructor certification from WPA.

Benson recognized a need for a well-rounded, affordable sup yoga certification program with an emphasis on paddling skills when she took a course in Florida and her instructor was holding the paddle backwards.

Shortly thereafter she established FloYo as a LLC in 2012 and has been expanding her business ever since. According to Benson, what lacks in the SUP yoga world is a focus on developing the paddling abilities of sup yoga students, on top of providing them a positive SUP yoga experience. In her three years as the owner/operator at FloYo, she has created a sound certification program and is adamant about continuing to work with WPA to further improve the program to be even more comprehensive.

For less than half of the price of what I would have paid for the original SUP yoga certification program, I received hours of SUP yoga instruction; a simple, yet thorough instruction manual with a step-by-step guided walk through it; free board rental; a WPA Level I SUP certification; and a WPA SUP yoga certification.

In the future as I expand my Surf and Soul yoga business to include FloYo events and classes, I can expect to receive promotional support from FloYo’s website and social media accounts, as well as professional support to help organize events.

FloYo already has affiliates in Annapolis, MD, Nashville, TN, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Minnesota who receive constant support from Benson and FloYo. If you are at all intrigued by the thought of exploring a SUP yoga certification, I highly recommend considering FloYo as your host. As I mentioned before, Jessie loves to travel and she might just be willing to bring a certification program to a body of water near you!

What you should expect from a great certification program
floyo fit-Low teacher-student ratio
-High-quality instruction with emphasis on safety and correct paddling techniques
-Loads of hands-on, practical instructional time
-WPA Level I SUP certification
-WPA SUP yoga certification


To me, paddling and yoga go hand-in-hand. Both practices promote an appreciation for life, self-compassion, environmental awareness, and on and on. The activities compliment each other well and when combined, truly require the practitioner to be focused on the present moment and to find balance and stability within. I’ve heard plenty of people (many former athletes) say that while yoga seems too “slow” for them, a SUP yoga class is exciting to them because of its extra layer of challenge and of course, the lure of practicing on the water.

In my opinion, if there’s any safe way that we can get more people into the world of yoga and SUP, I’m a big supporter of it. I am so excited to now be able to offer SUP yoga as just another avenue for people to explore yoga and to practice compassion, awareness and self-love. See you out on the water!

For more information about SUP yoga certification through FloYo, visit www.Floyofit.com or follow @floyofit on Twitter and/or Instagram.

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