Yoga and some sand

“Being on a beach with over a 100 yogis chanting Om creates such an amazing feeling of connection and oneness and love! Wow! Namaste xo” This was my Facebook post on Friday morning after a beach yoga class.  A class I take every summer, yet this one had “record breaking attendance” with 122 people.    It truly was an amazing experience from beginning to end, and when we completed our practice with the universal sound of peace the vibrations moved through my entire being.  I felt a beautiful sense of harmony and community and it moved my soul.  As I headed home, walking along the ocean, I began pondering the four yoga practices I had done on the beach that week- 3 alone and 1 with a group- and wondered if the group class with over 100 yogis, male and female, all ages, shapes and sizes, made me feel more connected because of the class size, or was it the energy of the full moon, perhaps my mood at that moment, or the fact that in the past year my perception of community and connection has been brought to heightened awareness and appreciation.

Yoga on the beach is one of my top 10 favorite joys in life.  Practicing in Mother Nature’s beautiful seaside playground reminds me of how blessed I am to be alive at that moment.   My senses are simultaneous stimulated and I am in awe of the beauty around me.  My practice always goes into a deeper level as I turn inward and remain present, grateful, and at peace at my favorite yoga studio.

Every time I vacation at the beach, I unroll my mat as close to the ocean as possible, soak in the sun, sand, sounds and sights of the oceans, and allow the salt air to work its magic.  All my practices through the years brought me the feeling of joy and inner peace. My body has always felt rejuvenated and my soul feels one with nature and the universe.  This last group class, however, really made me feel pure love for others.  Of course, I love individuals but this love was different, even different from other classes I have taken on and off the beach.  There was something about all the elements working together on that beautiful, sunny, breezy morning that allowed me to feel this deep sense of love and belonging.

I began my morning watching a gorgeous sunrise, and while witnessing the beauty and thinking of our precious life, I felt the presence of my deceased grandfather when a cardinal flew up to me and sat on my chair.  Writing about it still brings me chills.  Leaving for the beach, I already had a feeling of peace and gratitude within me.  Walking along the warm ocean on a perfect morning helped energize my body, and the anticipation of knowing I get to be a student and practice with other yogis made me excited.  (While doing my own beach practice, on other gorgeous mornings I lead myself in a wonderful, detoxifying flow, but sometimes I just like to follow.)  Walking up to a sea of mats, beach towels, and smiling faces brought a smile to my face.  Then hearing Teri, the amazing yoga instructor, applaud us by saying “Showing up is the hardest pose, so when you come to class I appreciate how it’s not always easy to get there” I felt an immediate connection and gratitude to everyone there.  When Teri shared that our practice will focus on affirmations, I was so thankful that I choose that day to wake up early to do yoga with a group.  The practice focused on moon salutations-which I love- while affirming we are strong, we are love, we are calm.  It made each inhale deeper, each exhale freeing, each pose stronger, and each rest fulfilling.  At the end of our very long savasana, where Teri and her assistants pushed down gently on our chests, we all sat up, and prepared to chant Om.  At the moment, I was happy, at peace, refreshed, complete, but when we chanted Om while looking out at the ocean, smelling the salt air, with the sun shining on our bodies, I felt united with everyone on that beach.  We were all in harmony with each other, connected, and feeling love.

Thinking back I attribute that amazing class to everything working in harmony that morning.  However, I definitely feel it is because of my past year being an intern at Sangha Space that I am more aware of what it means to be in a community, thus appreciating it more.  That experience would not have been as powerful if it weren’t for Lori, and the Sangha Space family.  They believe in connection through movement and foster the feeling of love and belonging.  The word sangha itself means gathering or community.  By being part of this beautiful, loving community, I am allowing myself to be more open to experiencing connections with others and grateful for all communities I am part of.  My experience on the beach, and my experience at Sangha Space has opened my world up to so much more possibilities and connections.  It truly is amazing!  Feeling connected, allows me to feel joy and love, which allows me to feel gratitude.  What a beautiful gift!

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