Yoga in New Places: Summer 2013

In the past month, I was blessed to be able to practice yoga in a gorgeous vineyard, on the enchanted deep blue seas, and on a tranquil peaceful beach. To be able to take my yoga practice out of the comforts of four walls, and be immersed in in three beautiful and diverse natural settings is truly spiritual.

Any time I practice yoga in a location other than my home, I am full of both excitement and humility. Being taken out of my comfort zone, and submerged in a setting that I can’t control (i.e. bees, rocky waters…) reminds me of my place on this Earth and with Mother Nature.

Yoga in a vineyard is an enjoyment I discovered a couple years ago. Out in Chester County amongst the beautiful landscape, and practicing yoga in picturesque vineyards is my ultimate “Sunday Funday”.   The class is taught by an incredibly sweet instructor and followed by wine, cheese, and chocolate pairings. It is one of the best combinations I can think of for a Sunday afternoon with loved ones. The charming setting is full of love and fun. ( I even celebrated my birthday there last OctoberJ) Of course, you have to look past the ants crawling on your mat or the bees buzzing in your face, which briefly takes you out of the Zen moment. But then are reminded that they too, are part of the Earth and embrace them with love. Doing Tree Pose on the bumpy grass, while gazing at the glorious trees, with arms strongly pointing to the sky, like the trees’ branches, a connection to the universe is made. In the spring, you hear all the birds joyously chirping, and in the fall, you see all the leaves magnificently changing colors. Doing a forward bend and looking under my legs at the stunning backdrop of beauty is a visual I will never forget. My senses come alive every time I am there.

Practicing yoga on a cruise ship in the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean was an experience that is hard to put into words.   All week I had anticipated how amazing it would be, and on the last day of our voyage, the day of my yoga session, it happened to be the only day with unsettling weather.   With stormy waters and the boat rocking, I was both excited and apprehensive. Taught by a young man named Dragos, with a heavy Romanian accent, I knew this would be an adventure like no other.   Doing poses such as plank or downward dog stirred up a little bit of nausea, and falling out of warrior pose brought some laughter yet frustration. However, each time I arose and saw the gorgeous sapphire colored ocean, I was transcended and overwhelmed with gratitude. My ego disappeared the moment the practice began and I felt so appreciative, not only for yoga, but of my life. Side stretches took on a new meaning as I was reaching for the rocky waters. Twists became even more exhilarating as I was ringing out my vacation’s toxins in the middle of the most healing natural environment-the salt water.   At the end of the session, when Dragos smiled, thanked us, and said “Namaste”, I felt my soul within his soul. It was magical.

It is on the beach, however, that I feel most at home. With the sand between my toes, the waves crashing on the shoreline, and the seagulls flying under the beautiful blue sky, no other feeling can quite compare to the bliss of yoga on the beach. Beach yoga has been a joy for several summers now. As I get further into my practice, and am more aware of my connection to the universe, I truly feel one with the world. All five senses come alive at once as I gaze at the beautiful water, listen to the waves crashing, smell the salt air, feel the sun on my skin, and taste the sand in my mouth- it is intoxicating. Proud Warrior becomes more than a pose, it is a statement. Mountain pose is ever so calming as I stare at the breathtaking view of the ocean. Relaxation pose is my favorite moment of calm and gratitude. As I let thoughts pass by, like the sailboats in the ocean, I hear, smell, and feel all of nature’s elements around me. At the moment, I am thankful for everything the world brings to me. To practice yoga in my most favorite environment, the beach, is a gift. To be able to share this ultimate joy with my mom and sisters made it perfection.

I love yoga. I love what it does for my soul. I love how I feel during the practice, and especially afterwards. I love when I am able to take this passion and share it with Mother Nature. This past month, I was blessed by brining my practice outside my home and into the beautiful natural surroundings. Despite the sand in my mouth, the boat’s constant sway, and the bees buzzing in my face, I had an unbelievable experience. It is a gift for which I am most thankful. I am thankful for my life, for my love of yoga, and for this beautiful place we call Mother Earth.

Wherever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see. You are one with everything. That is truer than I can say, and more true than you can hear.”
~Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi

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