Talking SUP Yoga with Casey Thoma
Being with Glide SUP from the beginning has given me the opportunity to wear many hats within the company; everything from shaping, sanding, laminating, trade show guy, sales, etc. Over these years, I have been lucky enough to develop friendships and talk with people from all aspects of the SUP industry. It has always been interesting to me how differently people view some the issues pertaining to SUP such as construction of different SUP brands, the best style of SUPs to buy for each individual’s needs, SUP athletes, state of SUP racing, and the over-all state of SUP. Being an avid paddler myself along with being a part of the inner-workings of the SUP industry, I was inspired to be a source of helpful, exciting, controversial, fun, informative, and interesting information. So was born, “In the Board Room with Anthony”. ENJOY!
Talking SUP Yoga, life and stoke with Glide Elite Ambassador and founder of Standup and Flow: Casey Thoma
Casey with a Glide Lotus
AJ: Can you tell me about Standup and Flow and how it began?
CT: Standup and Flow is located in Wauconda, IL and we just finished our second season this summer! We started after I bought my first paddle board and instantly fell in love with paddle boarding and SUP Yoga and just knew I needed to bring the practice to my community. Standup and Flow was simply born from passion and a desire to share the fun and connection that paddle boarding and SUP Yoga have to offer J.
AJ: How/ when did you get into yoga?
CT: I got into yoga in college when I was just going through a weird transitional time in my life. I needed something to do, something to call my own. When I found yoga I knew that it was something I was meant to be a part of and completely devoted myself to the practice.
AJ: How did you get into SUP and how did you transition into SUP yoga?
CT: I got into SUP when my parents retired and moved to Bangs Lake. I knew I had to get on the water somehow so I bought my first paddle board without ever having tried it before! Honestly, the transition to SUP Yoga was instantaneous since at that point I’d been practicing yoga for 8 years and teaching for 2 so I think I was doing a headstand on the board before I ever took it for a “real” paddle hahaha.
Standup and Flow class participants
AJ: How do you envision the growth of Standup and Flow within the next 5 years?
CT: Right now we are trying to lock down a second location in the west suburbs of Chicago, which is actually where I live. My goal is always to go where my heart leads me and I’ve noticed that whatever I love the most and offer on the boards, people are the most drawn to! So next season I’m going to do more fun workshops and specialty classes, meditation based classes, and charity classes! We’ll have night paddles, classes in the middle of the lake, yoga nidra on the boards, more full moon classes/paddles, and maybe even some acro! I’m also planning multiple retreats, which I’m very excited about!
AJ: What is your philosophy on SUP yoga?
CT: I feel like a lot of the issues that our society is experiencing are the result of a sense of disconnect. We get wrapped up in technology, social media, in what we are doing instead of what we are feeling and we create a separation from the people and things around us, as well as ourselves. I think yoga and being out in nature are some of the quickest and most useful ways to let go of all of the untruths we carry with us and to get back to simplicity and what really matters. What I experience when I’m on my board, on the water, surrounded by sky, trees, and that beautiful breeze, I don’t experience anywhere else. SUP Yoga is truly magical and I’m so grateful it’s a part of my life and that I’m able to share it with others.
AJ: What do you want your clients to leave one of your classes with and in what state?
CT: If it’s a regular SUP Yoga class, I want them to leave feeling light and free. I want them to spend the whole class laughing and I want them to let go of any fear they carried into the experience with them so that they leave feeling confident and strong. If it’s a Restorative or Meditative class, I want them feeling relaxed, deeply connected, and rejuvenated. And I want them to feel wet! It’s not a real SUP Yoga class if you don’t fall into the water hahaha.
AJ: You taught me a lot about the meaning and history of yoga on our last Glide trip together. Can you talk a little bit about your view of yoga not just being practiced in the traditional sense, but how it can be done through other avenues of life?
CT: Ugh, one of my favorite conversations we’ve had! Yoga means “to yoke” or to unite. Now that can mean to unite people and really all living things or it can mean to reconnect us to our truth and who we are underneath all of the things that we’re not. And in yoga a lot of us use asana which are the postures and physical practice, breath work, chanting, etc. to get to that meditative, connected place but that’s not the only way to get there! People find that connection from sports, crafting or making things with their hands, being in nature, surfing, etc. Whatever gets you away from your mind, away from chaos and into spirit and simplicity….that’s yoga J.
AJ: What gets you stoked?
CT: Life! Living the life that you were meant to live with the people you were meant to live it with! This year especially I was reminded that there are no guarantees that we or our loved ones are going to live till 100 like we expect. Each day we wake up and have a choice to live our life to the fullest or to coast in our comfort zone and I always want to make sure that I choose to live! And tacos…..tacos get me stoked hahaha.
*For more info on Standup and Flow please see: wwwstandupandflow.com
*For more info on the Glide Lotus please see: .http://glidesup.com/pages/glide-lotus
If you enjoyed reading this interview feel free to share it on your social media.