Finding that beach-perfect body
by Mariko Lamb
Published - 06/06/12 - 04:45 PM | 9076 views | 1 1 comments | 329 329 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gillian Gibree teaches paddleboard yoga on Mission Bay. Courtesy photo. Illustration by Kendra Hartmann
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Tired of the same old running routine to get fit for the summer? Try some of these alternative workouts to whip into shape — and have fun in the process — just in time for beach season.

Paddleboard Yoga

Try a balancing act that strengthens the body’s core, while getting you out of that hot, crowded yoga studio and into the sunshine for one of the latest fitness and yoga trends — stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga.

Despite the seemingly daunting task of performing a sun salutation while trying not to fall into the depths below, the low-impact fitness workout is a beginner-friendly sport, said La Jolla SUP yoga instructor Gillian Gibree.

“Anyone can jump on a board and paddle on their first day,” she said. “The yoga portion adds a little more of a challenge to the paddleboarding, but we always offer modifications. SUP yoga is all about enjoying a new experience outdoors while having fun.”

Just getting outside to enjoy the sunshine and water are enough to give SUP yoga a try. The short- and long-term benefits of this form of exercise are an added bonus.

“You will develop a stronger core from stand-up paddleboarding with the correct paddle technique,” she said. “Many students I have taught get hooked on the sport long-term because it targets every muscle group and is way more fun than going to the gym. I’ve seen so many lives completely transformed by this sport, physically and spiritually.”

Paddle Into Fitness offers weekly paddleboard yoga classes at OEX Mission Bay.

For more information, visit or call (619) 866-6129. SUP rentals are also available at OEX La Jolla. For rental information, visit or call (858) 454-6195.

Dance into fitness

Ever since Jane Fonda made group dance and aerobics fitness classes all the rage in the 1980s, people have realized that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.

“Whether you’re swirling across the floor to a Strauss Waltz or doing do-si-dos to the commands of a square-dance caller, you’re getting exercise — and probably having fun, too,” said Hengameh Bashar, certified personal trainer and 20-year expert in the field of fitness and health.

Dancing not only burns calories in a fun, social manner — the exercise can also optimize heart health, strengthen weight-bearing bones, and improve posture, balance and flexibility.

“Dancing can be magical and transforming. It can breathe new life into a tired soul,” Bashar said. “On a more physical level, dancing can give you a great mind-body workout.”

While regular physical activity in general helps keep one’s body healthy and toned, dancing in particular has also been proven to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells due to the requirement that dancers memorize steps and sequences during class, said Bashar.

Dance-fitness classes range from classic ballet to the more contemporary Zumba fitness class for a variety of styles that are catered to suit any age, dance preference, fitness level or gender. Some dance or fitness studios even offer chair dancing for those with certain physical limitations.

“Dancing is a great activity for people age 50 and older because you can vary the level of physical exertion so easily and it teaches the body a lot of balance, which is what we all need as we get older,” she said. “Whether it’s ballet or ballroom, clogging or jazz, dance is a great way for helping people of all ages and physical abilities get and stay in shape.”

To kick up your fitness routine in a fun, healthy way, kick up your heels with one of the many dance-fitness class options in the area.

Bashar’s classes and personal training take place at various locations throughout San Diego County. For information about Bashar’s upcoming classes, visit

Other dance-fitness venues in La Jolla include The Spa of La Jolla, Ooh La La Dance Company, Tap Fever, La Jolla Sports Club and A Time to Dance La Jolla. Susie Nguyen, owner of Ooh La La Dance Company, said the studio offers Zumba classes twice a week, on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays mornings at 10 a.m.

Ooh La La also offers a Latin cardio class, similar to Zumba, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. Visit for more information.
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July 26, 2012
Experience amazing SUP Yoga® practice outdoors and on the water!
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