Yoga with Kerry

My lessons on the wave by Kerry

Posted by Kerry Turner on Saturday, April 11, 2015

My lessons on the wave

One of the adventures I embarked on during my holiday was surfing. Now surfing is one of those sports that is constantly challenging and always humbling for me! I have “surfed” around the world, and every time I attempt to surf I return back to the state of absolute beginner. Maybe its because no matter where you surf, the waves are always changing, the weather is always changing and your level for adaption and fear is always changing., or maybe its just me and all in my head. Surfing is not like any other sport I have ever tried. Most sports (think running, biking, tennis, skiing, paddling) are accessible to everyone in some way, everyone can try it and be a beginner rather easily and have relative success. The challenge in most sports often lies in getting stronger, faster etc. However, not in surfing. Surfing requires something special. Something beyond regular sport, beyond fitness, beyond skill, beyond passion. Surfing to me is the epitome of Yoga- balancing the ability to let go with the ability to maintain strength in quality of mind and body. You see, each time I went to paddle for a wave, I doubted myself, then I doubted the safety of the wave or the ground beneath the wave. Along with self-doubt was this fear, a fear of letting go into the unknown, letting go of trying to have some semblance of control. A wave would start to pick me up, carry me forward and I would be paddling furiously, at that moment where you get up or pull back, I would feel fear come over me and pull back (or nosedive and cartwheel down the wave). It was this fear of not knowing what the wave was capable of, where it is going to send my board and I, where I was going to land. All these unknowns freaked me out, made me tense in fear and be unsuccessful in catching a wave.

On the rare moments that I did get up on my board and “surf a wave” was when I paddled with strength and patience in both body and mind. And then I combined that strength with this split moment where I absolutely let go into the wave and allowed the wave to pick me up and take me on a journey. This amazing place, often referred to as “being in the zone” or “in the moment” allowed me to get up and ride this wave. And oh, what a glorious feeling it was to ride a wave!

Sometimes, however, the opposite happened, I wasn’t paying attention, or I was busy chatting to someone, or in the wrong place in the line-up and then with my energy scattered I would try to paddle for the wave, and end up cartwheeling down the face, or getting swallowed up by the wave and tossed around a bit. Always humbling, often disorienting, and sometimes downright scary and painful.

So to surf, and to practice yoga, it is not with a spacey, ambivalent attitude, it’s with a balance of focused awareness and letting go at the exact same moment. It’s creating an environment where you can be completely in the moment with integrity and grace.

These are foundational elements of any balanced yoga practice: effort and ease (Sukha and Shira). I look forward to sharing and guiding you on your journey of practicing the balance of effort and ease on your mat at Yoga! Namaste  

Tags: yoga  surfing  "yoga and surf"  "letting go"