Looking for a fun fitness adventure? Want to mix up your daily walk or yoga class? FloYo might be exactly what you’re looking for! Before you say “No way! I’m not down dogging on surf board,” check out our interview with founder Jessie Benson. She’s giving us the scoop on why FloYo is (cool) for moms and kids — and why we should all embrace falling.
Interview with Jessie Benson, FloYo
Give us the 30 second elevator pitch — What is FloYo?
FloYo is a fitness brand which specializes in stand up paddleboard yoga and fitness classes. We design classes, retreats and workshops that help people step out of their comfort zone. By taking your workout onto the paddle board you are not only challenging new muscles in your body by practicing on an unstable surface but you are also challenging your mind as you have to find complete focus to stay on the board.
How did you get involved in FloYo?
I started FloYo in 2010 after discovering SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboarding) while traveling in South East Asia. I fell in love with paddling and then starting playing with some bootcamp exercises on the board. I had friends come out and try working out on the boards with me and every time people left feeling challenged but rewarded- they were proud of accomplishing something that was a bit scary at first. One thing led to the next and FloYo was officially born in 2012.
What do you say to the person who says “Wait! can’t even do a decent downward facing dog on dry land. How will I ever do it on a paddle board?”
First of all, the boards are much more stable than most people think. They are like oversized surf boards- we only use boards that are at least 30 inches wide so that makes them a bit easier to balance on. Secondly, all yoga poses and exercises are modified at first. We won’t have you doing any crazy poses until you are comfortable on the board. Third (and most importantly), falling in is all part of the experience!! We encourage you to drop the fear of falling and just embrace it. Once you get rid of that fear and get the first fall out of the way you will feel so much more open to try more advanced poses.
Let’s talk about kids for a second. What are the benefits of FloYo and kids? How old should they be before they try it?
Aside from the obvious physical benefits of paddling and doing yoga on the boards, FloYo is also extremely empowering for kids. Our kids SUP programs build leadership, teamwork and confidence. We do team building exercises on the water where they have to work together to balance on the boards and complete challenges. Many times kids come out feeling very nervous about getting on the water but leave feeling like they can conquer anything they set their mind to because they have been able to learn how to maneuver the board in just a 90 minute session. Our FloYo girl program also includes land based yoga, art projects, vision and goal setting and lots of fun yoga games.
As far as age goes, I think the younger the better! I love getting young kids out on the boards with their parents so they become comfortable on the board and on the water- we even had a 1 year old out this summer. In terms of when they can paddle on their own- that depends on the size of the child. Generally 8 is a great age to get kids on their own boards.
Do you ever fall in?
Yes!! You should always be prepared to fall in during a FloYo class. If you are really challenging yourself then you will likely fall in. If you want to be more cautious and stay in modified versions of the poses, it is certainly possible to stay dry…but that’s no fun!
What happens when the weather turns cold? Is there a way to FloYo in the winter?
Yes, we will offer indoor sessions on indoor pools throughout Baltimore City and County this winter. Trying FloYo on the pool is a great introduction to the world of SUP fitness and yoga. Once you take a few pool classes this winter you will ready to hit the water with us next spring! Or, you can check out our upcoming retreats! We lead FloYo retreats to warm locations every winter!
If someone wants to give it a try, what should they do next?
Be sure to follow FloYo Fit on Facebook
and Instagram and also check out the B’More SUP Facebook page
– and website
-this is where we post about all of our local classes here in Baltimore. You can also email us if you’d like to plan a private FloYo party or class or even just go for a paddle with your family! (FloYoFitness@gmail.com
Photos by Laura Black.