Each month at Paddle Diva we highlight an inspirational woman who strives to make positive changes in the world. For April I wanted to feature my friend Jessica Bellofatto, who has made a career out of inspiring and helping women feel more confident through yoga.
Jessica has been teaching Yoga for the past 20 years and is also one of our stand up paddleboard instructors. In 2009, Jessica founded the KamaDeva Yoga studio in East Hampton with the vision that there is a yoga for everybody, regardless of age, physical ability or income. Jessica has an uplifting and radiant spirit. She says that her yoga practice has taught her that anything is possible, nothing is impossible, and the only constant is change.
Jessica and I have worked together for over 5 years. Each time we are together, I am always delighted by her energy, humor and spirit. She always rises to the challenges put in front of her and takes things on with such ease and grace — truly an admirable quality.
Jessica is very comfortable with yoga — both on land and water. She is one of the top yoga instructors in the northeast, has been selected to be on the Boga Yoga, a team of stand up paddleboard leaders and has also worked incredibly hard to become a “water woman” — a title I don’t give freely. Jessica took on SUP Yoga (yoga on the paddleboard) before anyone even knew what stand up paddleboarding was, or how to combine it with yoga.
When Jessica began paddleboarding, she was inspired to start playing with yoga postures. And she did! With grace and ease, Jessica can bang out a headstand — on a SUP board — floating in the water.
Along with SUP Yoga, another passion for Jessica is SUP racing. She has been flying towards the finish line on her MHL board.
Jessica has even taught me a thing or two about home birth delivery and breastfeeding. Recently, she gave birth at home to a beautiful baby girl. After the pregnancy, she quickly recovered, snapping back into shape and sports unlike anyone I know.
This past March, while I was still recuperating from my stonefish wound, she once again rose to the challenge and led a very large SUP & Yoga retreat. She brought her 3-month old daughter to Rincon, Puerto Rico and breastfed, while flawlessly overseeing the group. There are not many women I know who could manage as much as she does, still have fun, be successful and have such a positive outlook on life.
Together, we always have so much fun stand up paddling. Every time we float on the water, we are laughing and having a good time. During the week of April 24 – 28, 2014, we will once again do just that! Together, we will be leading a stand up paddleboarding and yoga retreat in Rincon, Puerto Rico. The retreat will be held in Casa Azul, a privately owned house situated on top of a hill, with gorgeous beach and ocean views. It includes twice-daily yoga sessions; stand up paddling lessons and tours and also SUP Yoga.
It’s a wonderful getaway to achieve relaxation, balance and fitness. There is still time to sign up and be inspired. We hope to see you there!