Five Questions with paddle-board yoga instructor Katie Jacobson

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 13, 2014 

You're a paddle-board yoga instructor. What is that and how did you get involved with it?

There are two things here that combine to make sup yoga: yoga and paddle boarding. I've been practicing yoga for six years now. I fell deep in love with it and now I couldn't imagine life without it. After going through some health issues, I found that yoga was not only a workout, it was also mindset and a lifestyle. Yoga seriously changed my life and continues to make my life grow. When I realized how life changing the practice was for me, I knew I wanted to share that with everyone I could.

I moved to Charleston after college and got certified at a Baron Baptiste affiliate studio. I moved back to Columbus about a year ago. My roommate Katie Bishop is the marketing director at WhiteWater Express and we got to talking. We worked together and made it happen. I transferred my practice and trainings onto the board, did a ton of research and reading, and then started teaching!

It's been one year now since Katie and I got together about bringing sup yoga to Columbus, and it makes me so happy to see how much its grown and continues to grow. I have a lot of ideas for sup yoga that I am working on manifesting. Teaching people this practice that I am so passionate about and the connection to nature that sup yoga awakens is truly amazing. I absolutely love getting people out on the water, out of their comfort zone, no matter what level in yoga they are, and sharing my passion with them. To see them concentrate, smile, fall, laugh, and ultimately find peace within themselves makes me light up inside.

For some people, yoga is deeply religious. What can people expect from paddle-board yoga and standard classes?

I like this question. It's kind of funny because both yoga and paddle boarding were two things I started to get the "workout." Now they are SO much more to me. Yoga is a lifestyle. The things you learn on the mat and/or board are things you can apply into your life. The word religion can make people scared of yoga. Your yoga practice can go as deep as you want it to. If you want it to be a workout, that's great because there is endless health benefits that come along with practicing yoga. A spiritual connection can be evident in yoga if that's where your mind opens. The amazing thing that happens in sup yoga is that you not only forget all the stress and illusions in the mind, but you also face fears. You step out of comfort zones and limits you have set on yourself; you find trust and self-love; and within all this you connect with nature. It establishes this sense of oneness with you and the physical world that surrounds you. During sup yoga you step out of daily routine and into nature, on the water. You feel the sun and water; you hear the river rapids and birds. All of your senses awaken to the natural world. It's just you, your board and the world that surrounds you. It's quite a beautiful experience.

You have a handful of jobs. Tell us what a typical day is like for you?

Yes, I do a lot. But the thing is that everything I do is everything I have a strong passion for.

What I do is who I am. I am an artist, yoga instructor, sup yoga instructor, and my newest job, that I am in love with, is I am studio assistant for Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby. I stay busy to say the least, but it's the kind of busy that makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I am doing everything I love. Let see a typical day … I wake up at 5 a.m. and practice yoga. I either teach a 6:30 a.m. class at River Flow Yoga or go to RPM at the YMCA. I go work for Bo and Betsy from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the afternoons I am either teaching sup yoga private, painting, sequencing for my next yoga class, or paddle boarding. In the evenings I am teaching sup yoga, teaching at River Flow Yoga, or am at the YMCA. I make a point to watch the sunset wherever I am. After sunset I do my best to go up to my painting studio, at Bibb City Studios, to paint or enjoy some time relaxing.

What medium do you use for your art and what inspires your work?

I paint with oil color and enjoy drawing with charcoal. Oil paint has a slower drying time and it allows me to move the paint around and build up layers. As for inspiration, my eye is very sensitive to light and color. It's the way that I see the world every day. I am inspired by the way light is transient and that constant movement with time and its affect on color. There is so much beauty around us, and we live in such a fast-paced world. I want my paintings to make people see that beauty is always around us every day.

What is the best kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

The best kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley is rooftops on Broadway. Seriously, if you find a way to get up onto the rooftop of one of the buildings downtown you will be amazed of the view! Find your way up there and you have an amazing place to watch sunset. Hopefully more of the buildings on Broadway will make rooftops more accessible in the near future, because as of now, it's a big secret!


Name: Katie Jacobson

Age: 25

Job: Paddle board yoga instructor. Yoga instructor at River Flow Yoga. Artist. Studio Assistant for Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby.

Hometown: Columbus

Current home: Columbus

Family: Kurt and Debby Jacobson, brother, Kevin Jacobson.

Education: Brookstone School, University of Mississippi, Florence University of the Arts (Florence, Italy), and CSU.

Favorite Book: Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates

Favorite Restaurant: In Columbus, I'd have to say Epic.

Favorite Quote: "When you pray move your feet" -African Proverb

Best Concert Attended: Paul Simon

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