Surfing and Yoga

This morning at yoga we had a new teacher, as a mater of fact we’ll have new teachers for the next 3 classes.  2 of the owners (which include Pat) of Octopus’ Garden are on a retreat to Mexico starting today.  I would have loved to have joined them there were spaces available, however, budget constraints rear its ugly head, once again! Sigh! oh well maybe next year.  The place they’re going to looks beautiful and they have surfing as well as yoga so the incentive for me is huge.

My husband thought I was crazy. I am terrified of Great White Sharks, or “white sharks” as the surfer dudes call them, seriously terrified of them, I have dreams where they’re attacking me.  So when I took up surfing a few years ago he thought I was nuts!

I had watched the documentary “Step into Liquid” which was quickly followed by “Riding Giants” and I was hooked – not only do I love surf docs, I decided that I HAD to learn to do this.  My mother had just died, I had just turned 40 and needed an adventure.

I started exploring surf/yoga retreats for women, I thought a bonding experience with women would be great. A lot of the surf vacations are geared to men and that party lifestyle .  I found one in Bali that looked amazing but then my husband for the 1st time ever pulled a “your not going there” thing on me… before you get all up in arms it wasn’t that he didn’t want me to go – he just didn’t want me to go to Bali – apparently there have been some bombing of clubs with Americans in it and since Canadians seem to be the equivalent to Americans in a number of places he was concerned for my safety.  My research bunny started looking for something different for me.  He found Me-Shell of Swellwomen in Maui, Hawaii.

It is amazing to me how similar yoga is to surfing.  There is the obvious, the stance on a surf board, you pop up and land in a “vera B” or warrior 2 type stance.  Then there’s the breath, Ujjayi breathing, in the back of the throat, if it’s done right it should sound like the ocean, waves coming in and out.  Last there’s the feeling, the mellow energized feel of surfing, coming out of the ocean is very close to the relaxed feel after a really great yoga class.

Now, I’m not saying that they are the same, just similar, they’re great to do together since they seem to compliment each other.  In  yoga you’re supposed to be concentrating on you on your mat, in surfing, you get to bond with the other surfers however it’s still just you on your board (or in my case me on my board, then quickly in the water!).

The last day that we were surfing in Maui one of the girls told us she thought she saw something moving under us…..not what you want to hear in the land of Tiger sharks!  But there were no incidents except for the unconfirmed sighting.

I do get asked a lot if I’m afraid of the sharks while I’m surfing and for some reason I’m not.  When I was in Brazil I saw that they had “the biggest” White shark ever spotted in the area stuffed, in a town not to far from where I was.  When I asked my friend, he laughed at me – I’m sure that was just to make me feel comfortable and I did threaten that if I lost a toe I would be back to haunt him!

The Swellwomen experience was amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Bonding with the other “surfer chicks” was wonderful, I still keep in touch with some of them.  The yoga classes keep you flexible and stretched out so that you hardly notice the bruises you get from the board and the sore muscles you never knew you had. The combination makes you feel confident and strong.

I’m saving up to go on another surf / yoga retreat.  Right now I have to live vicariously, I have few ways of doing this. The 1st  is a yoga for surfers DVD that I’m trying to do – lots of push ups (pop up in surfing)!  The 2nd is doing yoga at the cottage with the ocean, where I can pretend, of course, swimming at the pool.  None of these are perfect solutions, but until I can move to a beach where I can surf daily they will have to do.

In my office, I have a vision board and the centre picture is this beautiful surfer chick hanging 5 going down the front of a wave, the sun is slanting across the sky, it looks like the end of the day. Her arms are out, balancing, if you look quickly at the picture you can’t even see the board, it  looks like she’s sliding down the wave.  I guess she’s sticking to The Surfer’s Code and catching her wave to the shore.

Surf’s up!


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