One of the highlights of Pegge Yuskovic's day is her first stop on a long commute home from Lancaster, where she is a health care worker.

She has her sights set on Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Spring Township, Berks County.

Two years ago Yuskovic, who lives in Bern Township, started incorporating traditional mat-style yoga classes into her weekly workout regimen to help her maintain her flexibility now that she's in her 50s.

When she recently saw the addition of a new stand-up paddleboard yoga class at Body Zone's pool, she jumped at the chance to try it because of additional ways she felt this type of yoga might benefit her.

“When this came, I thought I was going to kick it up a notch to really challenge me, and it would help with my core and balance,” Yuskovic said.

Already a lover of yoga on land, Yuskovic didn't let the fact that she had never been on a paddleboard before get in the way of her giving floating fitness a shot. It was a matter of convenience that was holding her back from trying it when she first heard about it through a friend who paddleboards at Blue Marsh Lake.

“It's way more convenient, and I'm at Body Zone as it is, and the paddleboard was there,” she said. “Everything fell into place.”

In the one-hour class, each participant gets a paddleboard, minus a paddle. After each person gets on his or her board, the class members are tethered together so that they are spaced evenly, including the instructor, to keep anyone from floating away or bumping into each other.

Typically, you don't have contact with the water, so standard yoga gear can be worn for the class. However, Yuskovic found from firsthand experience that getting wet is definitely possible.

“I fell in one class because there were some ripples from other activity in the pool, and I christened the class,” she said. “It felt good to fall in because it was cooling.”

Balancing on the board is key when it comes to successfully performing the various poses.

“I think it takes it to another level, and it has heightened my sense of balance and trusting myself to get into a position and that I'm not going to fall in,” Yuskovic said. “You have to totally concentrate and keep your core in balance.”

Yuskovic, who said she works up a sweat during the class, finds some of the most difficult poses on a paddleboard to be those requiring the use of just one leg.

“Anything standing on one leg and anything when you are balancing on one side,” she said. “You have to make sure you are on the board and trusting yourself.”

The class, which takes place on Tuesday evenings, accommodates five participants and one instructor.

Sarah Vecchio, director of fitness at Body Zone, said that they always aim to offer a variety of classes that reflect what is trending in the realm of fitness, and this particular type of class offers a more intimate experience.

“We have 130 classes we offer, and we wanted to offer a small group experience,” Vecchio said. “There are only five to six in a group, and it provides a little more attention with being so unique.”

While Yuskovic wasn't sure what to expect in the class when she first began, she found the paddleboard itself to be different than she expected.

“It feels like a board, but it was wider and more solid than I was picturing the paddleboard to be,” she said. “I was picturing a narrower, pointed top paddleboard, but these are not like that.”

Stephanie Bender, the instructor of the class who has 200 certified hours of teaching stand-up paddleboard yoga under her belt, said the shape and size of the board makes it ideal for students new to paddleboard yoga.

“It's a little bit wider and more specific for yoga — for the beginner it helps that it's wider,” Bender said. “It helps you with hand placement.”

Those of all experience and fitness levels and age are welcome to join the. Bender has taught students from age 17 to 73.

“There are moves you can do to make it more challenging for those who are more advanced students,” Bender said, adding that you can also just as easily use modifications for beginners.

Body Zone will begin offering stand-up Paddleboard Core FIT this week, which is a lot different than paddleboard yoga.

“It's more of a HIIT-type workout and focuses on mountain climbers and core and squats and fun ab exercises to get your heartrate up,” Vecchio said. “For someone that likes bootcamp or core type classes, they are going to like the Core FIT on the water.”

Bender said she was drawn to stand-up paddleboard yoga due to the mind-body connection she experienced when floating on the water.

“It's peaceful and calming; you're in a relaxed state and you pay more attention to your form,” Bender said.

Bender said that finding body awareness and paying attention to how you move, along with the quality of breath, are all components of a paddleboard class, She said these factors make it different than doing mat yoga because you have to pay more attention to your breath and body movements.

“You have no choice but to be in the present in the here and now because you're practicing on a floating mat,” Bender said. “It slows down your pace, and you pay more attention to how you move.”

Yuskovic said she was always holding her breath throughout her workday, so yoga has been a release to help her focus on that.

“It's learning to breathe,” she said, adding that it offers her some meditative quiet time. “It's that one hour in the pace of life that I'm just going to think about this.”

Stand-up paddleboard programs

Where: Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex, 3103 Paper Mill Road, Spring Township,

Classes (open to the public): Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga every Tuesday at 6 p.m.; Stand-Up Paddleboard Core FIT every Monday at 6 p.m.

Cost per class: $15 for members; $25 for non-members

Note: Class sizes are limited. Pre-registration is necessary.

For more information and to register: Phone 610-376-2100 or visit

comments powered by Disqus