A paddle and a prayer

This week enjoy a post by my colleague Bob Clark, the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida:

The world’s fastest growing water sport may also be one of its healthiest. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is the hottest thing on the water right now and shows no signs of slowing down.  It’s health benefits have been touted by The Wall Street JournalABC News and legions of health bloggers around the world for several years now.

                                                                                                     Photo taken by Bob Clark

Experts claim the core body work out, balance and endurance elements of the sport are an unusual and powerful combination for all ages and ability levels. The health benefits are not confined to physical health however. How about SUP Yoga classes, meditation, or even onboard prayer?

For me, the serenity and prayer elements are the most important.  As a novice paddler, I can attest to the multi-dimensional benefit package that comes with the sport. I do love the exercise element and I’d sure rather be out on the water than in a gym.

Summer mornings usually give us cool temperatures and a pretty calm gulf or bay. I often go out to Indian Rocks Beach at first light, paddle straight out, sit down on my board…….and pray. Sunlight and spiritual light intensify together.

I’ve found prayer to be a healthy practice wherever I am. The serenity I find through prayer on the water can be a great healer. Confusion gives way to clarity, and healthy reasoning replaces any negative thinking.  Peace and joy take over. It’s not uncommon to be joined by a feeding dolphin or two or sometimes even a manatee family—great reminders of the natural beauty we’re blessed with here.

When I feel at one with God and a sense of spiritual peace has really taken hold, I can move on the physical aspect of the experience. I do speed runs parallel to the shore, have a swim to cool off and I’m done.

At the end of an early morning SUP session that includes stillness and prayer, a good physical workout, and the chance to get up close to some amazing sea life, it’s already a great day. This goes beyond just a physical workout and it seems like way more than a sport to me.

Stand-up paddling boarding offers a well-balanced physical workout. But even more fundamentally, it offers a serene platform for metaphysics, which, to me, has always been fundamental to physical health. Try it and see for yourself.

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