Dawn Jex demonstrates yoga moves on a stand up paddleboard. Yoga Gypsies slogan is Live Simply, Breathe Deeply, Travel Lightly.

Yoga Gypsies want to take you out on the water

By Shakira Ericksen

A new group of gypsies wants to help you travel without leaving South King County. Unless you want to, the boundaries are few and far between. Yoga Gypsies is a new yoga company with a short but concise slogan. Live Simply, Breathe Deeply, Travel Lightly.

Yoga Gypsies was founded in 2012 by Dawn Jex and her partner Barry Warburton. It is a small locally owned business whose purpose is to bring health and well-being to the community.

Jex specializes in stand up paddleboard (SUP) Yoga. It is performed on a board (much like a surf board) on the water. Practitioners will practice different yoga poses on specially designed stand up paddle boards.

“We are passionate about living a full fun life and we love to share our ideas of play with everyone we meet. We try to bring encouragement and support to our community through our Facebook page,” said Jex. “We take our yoga with us where ever we go because yoga doesn't have to be all seriousness....it's ok to have fun and play too.”

SUP Yoga is said to have originated in Hawaii and although it is a fairly new sport, it has become increasingly popular in the United States. The sport combines hatha yoga and vinyasa yoga poses with surfing.

“SUP Yoga is not new. It is popular in warmer climates year round but only practiced here when the weather is warm,” said Jex. “SUP Yoga is different in that it is performed on the water which makes your base unstable - this makes your yoga practice deeper and more challenging as the goal is to not fall in to the water.” Jex will be teaching SUP Yoga this spring and summer off of Redondo Beach and the Des Moines Marina.

“SUP yoga is for everyone. Of course, you need to be able to swim and it's helpful if you are comfortable on the water and have taken some yoga classes but that is not a requirement,” said Jex. “I will be teaching the class by showing the poses so even if you haven't taken yoga you can learn by watching me.” Jex has taught groups with people from ages 25 to 70 and so far no one has fallen in.“I like to keep the classes small so there will only be five students per class. This allows me to give as much individual attention as possible and also to tailor the class to the abilities of the students,” said Jex.

The price will be $35 per person per class. The cost includes board rental, paddle, life vest and tuition for yoga. The class will be 90 minutes long with a short introduction and water safety training followed by some time for students to get familiar on their boards in the water.

“Being on a SUP board can be peaceful and calming but it can also be a great workout. The main thing I want people to know is that is a ton of fun,” said Jex. Jex said that many of her students get very passionate about SUP Yoga and want to do it again and again.

“I believe it is important to play every day - it's the best way to stay young and fit and SUP yoga is a great way to play and have fun,” said Jex. Right now there are no classes available. Jex is currently working with the Mount Rainier Pool in Des Moines and the Highline Athletic Club in Burien to see if their facilities can accommodate SUP Yoga so she can teach during the winter. When spring arrives she will be teaching outdoor classes at Redondo Beach and the Des Moines Marina.

“We founded Yoga Gypsies because we saw a need in the yoga community to add some elements of play to yoga. We live in such a beautiful area of the country so why not go kayaking and then stop for a little yoga? Go hiking and stop in a meadow to practice head stands?” said Jex. “It was something I was already doing in my own life so I thought maybe others would want to come along. I began organizing summer yoga adventures. Fun outings combining things I wanted to try like a zip line with yoga afterwards or sailing and yoga on a beach. Guess what? People came.”

For more information visit www.yoga-gypsies.com

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