Dawn Jex gets around. The co-owner of Balance Wellness on St. Simons Island has traveled extensively, criss crossing the country and often venturing outside of it.

Often, the yoga teacher and massage therapist finds herself in frigid temperatures. That made it difficult for her to pursue one of her favorite hobbies, paddle boarding.

“I was up in Seattle and the water was like 48 degrees year around,” she recalled. “So you really couldn’t do it without a wet suit. It was very cold.”

Not one to give up, she started to explore other options. One of of those proved to be an interesting concept — an indoor paddle board. Called the Indo Board, it offered Jex the ability to work on balance while doing all of the same movements that she would typically do on a paddle board.

“I had heard about these indoor stand up paddle boards when I was in California last year so I ordered one and put it in my room. I started working out with it and found it to be a great complement to my yoga practice,” she said.

While it might seem easier, being that no water was required, Jex found it to be just as difficult. But that was the point. Working on the unstable surface demands more control and more balance.

“Working on an unstable surface really works your balance a lot more. It is 10 times harder,” she said. “But it’s been great because I don’t have to go outside when it’s too hot or cold or worry about bugs. I’ve been doing it for about a year now.”

She found it so beneficial that she started offering classes on the board at the St. Simons Island based studio, something that the students there have gravitated toward.

“When I knew I was moving back here and coming to Balance, I wanted to buy enough boards for classes, so I got 10 boards back in July,” Jex said. “It’s been great for those who are trying to take their practice up a notch.”

Her student, Tina Kirby, agrees.

“It helps with balance especially with tree pose. It’s amazing the difference it makes and it’s fun,” Kirby said.

“When we teach a class of a bunch of girlfriends, everyone is laughing because it is so challenging. They are really surprised by how hard it is ... everyone just kinda ends up rolling around on the floor a little bit,” Jex said.

“We also do some Pilates stuff on the boards. We do sun salutations, standing poses and balance work. It really helps the regular practice.”

Balance, she notes, can be tricky for anyone. But that tends to compound when one ages.

“As we age, we start to lose some of that ability to balance. We aren’t practicing it that much. So this helps by working those tiny muscles that help maintain balance,” Jex said. “The body wants to maintain homeostasis but we have to help it a little bit and that just gets more important as we age.”

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