8 Questions with Traci Schanen

8 Questions with Traci Schanen

SAN DIEGO— Traci Schanen, a liveaboard and resident of San Diego, has always been a health and wellness advocate. She currently coaches clients in Harbor Island in Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga, SUP fitness and a variety of other water and land-based activities.

The Log: Tell us about yourself.
Traci Schanen:  I just relocated to San Diego. I’ve always been involved in water sports on the inland lakes and rivers of Wisconsin and Lake Michigan. Thanks to my Dad and his love for the great outdoors, I led a very active lifestyle. That lifestyle continued into my adulthood, and I became a certified fitness trainer.

How did you get started with SUPs? 
I’m always looking for new ways to train myself and my fitness clients. The SUP became my new passion. After paddling for a few months and falling in love with the sport, I became certified in SUP Yoga, SUP Fitness, lessons and water safety with Paddle into Fitness and World Paddle Association. It’s been over a year of paddling mostly everyday for fitness, discovery and recreation.

How has SUP grown as a recreational sport?  
There’s a lot more curiosity about it. It’s amazing how many people have not tried it, because they don’t think that they can do it. One of the biggest things that I’ve seen are the different boards for the different sports within the sport.

What are the fitness benefits to SUP?
Just cruising around on the SUP gives huge fitness benefits and most anyone can participate. Improvement in strengthening, cardiovascular, and muscle endurance can be achieved. A full body workout is what you get and, yes, your core muscles will be challenged. For a first-time paddler, an hour or less is usually long enough. Don’t underestimate how physical the sport can be, especially paddling up wind.

How is SUP yoga different from standard yoga?
Yoga aims to attain unity of the mind, body, and spirit with exercise, breathing and meditation.  The difference between land yoga and yoga on the SUP is the connection with nature and that you are practicing on an unstable surface. Yoga, already the stress reliever, becomes a new experience in many ways. Feeling the sun and breeze on your skin, the sound and gentle motion of the waves and seeing a different view of the sky from your downward dog, brings a sense of peacefulness and a new awareness.

What are some of the classes you offer?
Harmony Fitness SUP classes include Low Tide—a gentle yoga class, which is mostly seated and restorative. High Tide is an intermediate yoga class—more of a vinyasa flow, balance and core focus. Starting with a short introduction to SUP how-to’s and safety, we continue to practice a standing vinyasa on land to warm-up and gain focus, then proceed to the board. We have a calm and quiet place to anchor for an hour and a half-long class. The introduction to SUP lesson is very popular as well. New paddlers and people wanting to purchase a board can really appreciate this class. Learning about your equipment and how to use it, where to purchase a board and paddle, maintaining your board and paddle, safety and paddle techniques are all part of this class.

What’s required from your clients prior to taking a class?
Keeping participants safe is a priority.  Knowing one’s own physical ability and water skills before paddling or any new activity is something everyone should think about. If you’ve had any physical limitations or health issues, such as a heart attack, diabetes, epilepsy, etc., those should be addressed and shared with your instructor. When I schedule my participants I receive information through our first phone conversation and have them fill out a release form before class, which asks about such issues.

How can paddleboarders and boaters best coexist?
If you’re paddling in a marina, stay far enough away from the docks so boaters leaving their slips can see you. With a large group of paddlers in a busy boating traffic area, stay closer to shore and go single file. Seeing a large group of scattered paddlers, boaters won’t know which way to turn and large vessels are heavy and cannot stop quickly.

Contact Traci at  goharmonyfitness.com.


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