KIALOA and 'Elele Evelyn O'Doherty have teamed up to bring you brief highlights of KIALOA paddlers from the East Coast! Tune in weekly to meet more great people who simply enjoy paddling!
Meet Alyson Follenius
1) Where are you from & how do we know one another?
I live on the eastern end of Long Island in East Hampton, NY (born and raised). Ev and I first met years ago at a local yoga studio. I think it was a Kirtan or meditation event. We were reacquainted about 6 years ago when I was working for lululemon athletica and part of my role was forming relationships with local yoga and fitness instructors. We worked together to put on a Summer Solstice SUP yoga event and then we brought her on as a brand ambassador. The rest is history that includes many paddles, events, other adventures and most importantly, friendship.
2) When did you start paddling & What inspired you to start?
I was first introduced to paddling by my sister's friends who had moved back from Hawaii, I don't know, maybe 10 years ago. They gave me a mini lesson and I was hooked. I finally bought my first board maybes 6 or 7 years ago and began paddling regularly. I have always been attracted to the water. As a kid my parents couldn't get me out of the pool or bay. That love lead me to become a swim instructor. Paddling offered a new way to be on/around the water. It offered a new perspective. I vividly remember describing that first experience to people as though I was walking on water. Then my regular paddles became a meditation, if you will. I could take my board out after work and it would be just me, my thoughts and nature. Cliche as it might sound, it's the truth. There are always these incredible moments of clarity and pure bliss when I am out on the water. I call it my "liquid meditation."
3) What are some other activities and favorite things in your life?
HMMMM....There are so many. I love yoga and swimming. So much so that I have been teaching swimming for about 16 years and recently became a certified yoga teacher. As far as other fitness activities, I love strength workouts with kettlebells. Anything strength/functional fitness related really. I have this love/hate/fear relationship with surfing. Ev taught me a few years ago. I love it but got spooked a while back and let that fear hold me back. 2018 is going to be the year I open myself back up to that activity as well. I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews all of whom I love spending time with. I love connecting with and getting to know other people and hearing their stories. My other passion is holistic health and wellness. I am certified as a holistic health coach and enjoy learning new ways to keep our bodies (and minds) strong and healthy so we can continue all of the adventures we love (like paddling to icebergs).
4) What are your words of wisdom?
GRATITUDE. AUTHENTICITY. HONESTY. CONNECTION
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