YOGI CORNER: SURFING BEYOND THE MAT
The journey of life is a lot like the sport of surfing. From the time we are born to even our early teens, the concept of surfing through the early stages of life is pretty easy. Our surf route in the early stages of life for most of us is planned out and protected by our families and communities, so the idea of weathering 100 percent impact of the unexpected tidal waves and storms is far and few. Therefore, most of us are able to coast pretty easily through a planned surf route and can withstand the waves of academics, health, family, social settings, while managing our mind to stay rooted to our surf board so you won’t fall or slip along the way!
In essence, the surfboard represents our core being of who we are and how we evolve. From the moment we are born and all the way up to being a teen we rely on others and learn about life through our direct interactions with our family, school, and community. As life progresses into young adulthood, we are eager and ready to ride that first big wave. This first wave prepares us for each bigger wave that supersedes the next.
The first wave for many including myself was a scary experience. I can remember it quite vividly. It was August of 1999 , I left a familiar and safe environment to go into a new unchartered territory of water, Miami of Ohio. The feeling I had that day still seems fresh in my mind. I felt as if I was lost at sea, not knowing what I should do next, who I should talk to, how I was going to organize my school days, and yes how I would fit in all of my extra circular activities with fitness as always being my number 1! After I had said goodbye to my dad who did such a nice job of setting me up in my dorm, my body immediately became frozen , my fear paralyzed me so bad that I felt as if I was sinking deeper in water. It was almost as if I needed someone to throw me a buoy to save me from drowning. Shortly after feeling frozen, isolation infiltrated my mind, because my sense of fear trickled to my surfboard(core/internal being). Deep down inside I knew who I was at the core, but being in a new environment that brought new changes and unexpected struggles caused me to react and sink into a negative thought system. I knew no one, except my roommate who I spoke to briefly once on the phone prior to going up. The dorm room felt rather cold, gloomy, and cramped, even though the girls in hall seemed friendly. The feeling of fear was at the pit of my stomach and it became so overwhelming that it resulted in my surfboard stalling in the water, and not moving forward for about a week. I was sad, anxious, and of course full of worry about stuff I had no control over and these were people and outcomes. People in terms of being deemed “popular” and the idea of having a non-stop packed social life, while the outcome component entailed maintaining those former honor roll high school grades.
If I had pause button to dissect this past wave, and make it relatable to the journey of life for everyone who is currently reading this and has ever experienced a wave, storm, or even standstill current, the notion of the surfboard (core) should never change. After practicing yoga over the past ten years I fully grasp this concept and try to apply it to my life when I’m dealing with change, both positive and negative. This notion means as we age we take on different roles whether it’s a mother, entrepreneur, caretaker, husband, gaining wealth, losing money, suffering illness, going through a divorce, experiencing grief, losing love ones, achieving success, and reaching milestones, the one thing that is still the same and should be constant is our core from our early years. Yoga has taught me over the years to go on a journey of discovering thy self without taking into account the past, self criticism, defining roles, material wealth, career, and external beauty. It allows one to dig and scratch beyond the surface and isolate all external factors that society stresses one must have in order to be happy. As humans for us to be in this “Yoga Surfing Zone” 95 percent of the time we need to be aware of life’s waves, go with the flow of the wave or storm, and possibly readjust the sequence of our lives to come back to balance and internal harmony. Next time a wave comes your way here are a few steps to get you back surfing smoothly on to the next wave of your life !
1) COMMITMENT TO PRACTICE YOGA PRINCIPALS (See below for the ten principals taken from http://www.jackiedumaine.com/yoga-code/ten-sacred-secrets/)
2) BE AWARE OF THE CHANGE
Don’t fight the flow of the wave or change, but be present and aware and learn how to adjust the sequence of life in order to flow
3) FACE YOUR FEARS
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is when transformation occurs in a positive way
4) TAKE ACTION
Redefine yourself in positive terms after accepting the change and set goals or have a plan in place to help you become balanced on your surfboard (core).
Both yoga and surfing require concentration and focus. It’s so important to have a calm and focused state of mind where you have no mind chatter or negative thoughts. The more you practice meditation the more you are open to allowing change into your life and the more you can allow your mind to get in sync with your breath.
The 10 Universal Principles
Kindness and Compassion
Towards yourself and others in words, thoughts and actions.
Living in integrity. Speaking your truth, being authentic. Not lying to yourself or others.
Taking only what is yours. Not stealing opportunities from yourself or others.
Non-Excess or Moderation
Embracing life’s pleasures without reckless abandon. Seeing the Divine in everything.
Not defining yourself by your possessions. Letting go of the need to control thoughts, people, outcomes.
Purity and Simplicity
In all things: Body, Mind, Spirit & Surroundings
Finding the joy and happiness with where you are and with what you have in this exact moment.
Burning Commitment, Self-Discipline
Embracing the struggles that help you grow. The determination to go on when faced with obstacles and challenges.
Observing your actions, your ego and continuously seeking out opportunities to learn about your Self.
10. Ishvara Pranidhana
Acknowledging that there is a Divine force at work and having faith that it will lead you on the right path. Learning to live in the “Flow” of life rather than fighting against the current.
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