Health & Wellness

Q&A With Santa Barbara’s Newest Team Member: SUP Yoga Instructor Angela van Keulen

sup yoga curacao

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Well, for many of us here at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, it’s been trying SUP yoga, or Stand Up Paddle yoga, with our newly hired instructor. Yoga in and of itself is a challenging, wonderful, and peaceful movement form. Attempting yoga atop a floating board in the Caribbean Sea is another experience altogether, and one we are excited to share with you!

SUP Yoga in Curacao – Meet Angela!

We want to introduce you to the incredible instructor, Angela van Keulen, who we recently spent some time getting to know a little better. She briefly shared with us her yoga journey, the benefits of SUP yoga, and other SUP yoga insights! If you’re curious about what’s new at the resort or trying SUP yoga for yourself, then keep on reading!

Angela, Briefly tell us about YOU! How did you become a SUP yoga teacher?

sup yoga curacao - angela

“I started my yoga journey 12 years ago. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that affects my joints. I was in pain and visited the chiropractor often. My cousin suggested to come to a yoga class with her, and so I did. I started to go to classes and at first, had a challenging time focusing on the postures, connecting to my breath and trying to relax. This didn’t scare me though; it made it more interesting. It was so different than I imagined! After a few months, I felt more energized and in less pain. This was it! I wanted to share the amazing benefits with others! I became a certified yoga teacher in Vinyasa, Hatha, Meditation, Kids & Family yoga, chair yoga and eventually SUP Yoga. Whether it’s a sunset practice in my garden, a relaxing practice on the beach or a fun and challenging practice on the ocean, I love taking my practice outside. This is the ultimate island life feeling.”

What is SUP Yoga?

“Stand up paddle board, or SUP, yoga is a challenging and fun way to practice yoga surrounded by nature. You are literally floating on the ocean while working both balance and strength. The practice is a great way to explore one’s mind, body, and breath.”

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Why do you recommend guests at Santa Barbara try SUP Yoga?

“It’s something new and different. It’s fun in the sun and on the ocean! You can make it more or less challenging, as desired, and when you’re ready to cool off? Jump in and smile!”

What are the benefits of SUP Yoga?

“There are many benefits to this exercise! Not only is this a great exercise for improving mobility and overall health, but it is also so much fun! In general, yoga poses improve and maintain balance. SUP yoga intensifies that since it’s done on a floating board. The floating sensation offered by the water has an immensely calming effect. SUP yoga combines the peacefulness of the water with the stress reduction of regular yoga.”

RELATED: 7 Undeniable Reasons Why SUP Yoga is an Incredible Mind, Body, and Spirit Experience

sup yoga curacao

Is it necessary to have taken regular yoga before attempting SUP yoga?

“My classes begin with gentle movements to get accustomed to the feeling of the board on the water beneath us. Progressing through the class our practice slowly builds, and the practitioners begin to gain confidence. We finish with a floating savasana surrounded by all the amazing surrounding sensations. No experience of yoga, SUP or SUP yoga is necessary for this class, as I provide an overview of how to use the board before getting on the water, all you need is your body, a SUP board and willingness to jump out of your comfort zone and into the clear blue sea.”

What equipment is used to do SUP yoga?

“Participants need only to be hydrated, wear sunscreen and clothing suitable for SUP yoga. This can be a bikini, bathing suit, rash guard, or shorts. We will take care of the rest! Sometimes we use a paddle when we do certain balance poses, but most of the times we use our bodies and the board. Also referred to in class as our ‘floating mat.’ Our boards are stand up paddle boards specially designed for SUP yoga.”

RELATED: 9 Reasons You’ll Love Curacao in The Summertime

Where does the SUP yoga at Santa Barbara take place?

“Our SUP yoga takes place in the crystal clear blue water of Sta. Barbara Golf & Beach Resort. The beach itself is also known as Sta. Barbara Beach or Shaman Beach. After class, you can stay on the beach the whole day and enjoy the beautiful view, good food, and cold drinks.”

What is your favorite SUP yoga pose?

“Okay, I must be honest here. I love to do a fun and challenging SUP yoga practice myself. But…my favorite SUP yoga pose? Savasana! There is no better feeling than floating along the water with the sun on my skin. I like to let my hands and feet dangle in the water and right there, I just feel so happy and free.”

Where is your personal favorite place to practice SUP yoga?

“At Shaman Beach at Sta. Barbara, we have such a beautiful spot. The sea is flat and lovely with minimal wind. The circumstances there are incredible and hard to find elsewhere on the island. I also like to play with my board at home in my swimming pool or on a Sunday afternoon with my friends when we visit one of the other beautiful beaches. SUP yoga is addictive once you tried it and you live on an island where you are surrounded by crystal clear water!”

Thank you, Angela! We love learning even more about SUP yoga, and it’s so helpful to understand more about the benefits. For those of you reading, feel free to visit our website to learn more about how you can book a class with Angela!

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