Shandelle Battersby manages to stay on board when she tries a fun and potentially wet yoga class in Hawaii
Being asked if you suffer from seasickness is not normally what happens before yoga.
But our evening session with Yoga Floats in Hawaii is no ordinary yoga class — instead of a gym or studio, our group of eight is on the grass at Honolulu's Ala Moana Beach Park, just north of Waikiki Beach; instead of yoga mats, we're about to carry 3m-long paddleboards into the calm waters.
Following a pretty sunset, the 30C-plus temperatures of another day in paradise are starting to ease. We're dressed in a mix of bathing suits and exercise gear and instructor Eryn is running us through the basics of doing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard.
All eight of us have tried yoga before; most have had a go on a paddleboard — but no one has combined the two. We're all tourists — like most of Yoga Floats' customers — and we've all signed up for the class to try something unique on our Hawaiian holiday.
The instructions are few — we're here to have fun and it's definitely more fun if you fall in, Eryn encourages — and apart from the seasickness query (she has ginger candies and a wrist gadget on offer if you're a likely suspect), the key seems to be staying as wide and centred on the board as possible to achieve maximum balance.
We carry the boards down to the water on their side. Each has a little anchor which clips to the front or back depending on the wind, and they all have a couple of long LED lights stripped horizontally underneath that change colour with the push of a button. There's even an option to strobe between all the different colours ("It can be distracting but if you're into it, I'll support you," the instructor, a military staffer by day, jokes).
We wade into the tepid water to our hips and Eryn positions us in a circle facing inwards before we slide on to the boards and sit cross-legged. The lights underneath completely illuminate the water and you can see right down to the bottom. From the beach, we must look like a floating disco, even without the flashing light option.
There's a very slight breeze and I immediately swing in the wrong direction. Eryn moves between us like in a normal class, but instead of adjusting bodies, she's adjusting the boards and the anchors.
As we rattle through familiar moves for the next hour — sun salutations, standing forward bends, downward dogs and extra challenging warrior poses — it's obvious that where you place your hands and feet becomes even more important than during normal yoga on a solid floor. You wobble, for sure, but once you work out the parameters of the positions, everything becomes more stable and you can actually hold a pose.
Some of the terms are Americanised and slightly unfamiliar and it can be hard to see exactly what Eryn is doing in the dark, but it's pretty relaxed and it doesn't really matter. It's more about the connection with the environment — the stars, the moon, the twinkling city lights, the lapping of the water around the edges of the board.
A shriek and a splash behind me tells me one of the others has fallen in but despite the water being a lovely temperature, I'd still prefer to avoid a dunking and somehow I do.
We end our night like most regular classes with savasana on our backs, bobbing on the water. It's more relaxing than usual as you melt into the board and your feet and hands hang over the edge and dip in the water.
No one has felt seasick. And despite only one of us falling in, we've all had fun.
Yoga Floats offers daily SUP yoga classes at Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu. Light up the Night Yoga Floats classes are US$65 ($98) on Monday and Friday nights. Yogafloats.com