My mind is a storm – an anarchic stream of thoughts going a hundred miles an hour from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep. For many of us, our lives have become so fast-paced and chaotic that we have forgotten how to switch off and take a moment to appreciate the world we live in.
Several of my friends swear by meditation and yoga, frequently encouraging me to make these practices part of my daily routine. So, in the last few years, I have been making an active effort to calm my racing thoughts and have given both a go.
Meditation was a no-go. I truly believe that the practice can provide incredible benefits but it would take me decades to master the art of being still, focused only on my breathing, for an extended period of time – I simply do not have the patience.
Yoga, on the other hand, I can cope with. By focusing on stretching and (desperately) trying to maintain various poses, my mind can take a break from daily stresses and focus on strengthening my body. In my mind, I look like an insta-famous yogi. In reality, I am wobbling all over the place without a hint of elegance or poise.
But you know what, I love it. The relaxation and work-out from yoga really helps to slow (if not stop) my wild thoughts.
After weeks of being hunched over a computer, inputting data for my internship and transcribing countless interviews for my dissertation, my muscles have been crying out for a good stretch. My back, ruined from years of waitressing and my terrible posture, was craving a good yoga sesh.
I am living in the town of Tofino, on Canada’s West Coast, known for its hippie vibes and “surfer dude” population. The town is nestled amongst coastal rainforests and perched right on the beautiful waters of Clayoquot Sound.
I knew that if I was to do yoga here, it could not be inside a yoga studio. So, drawing inspiration from my gorgeous surroundings, and the wonderfully hippie community, I decided to try out something new: beach yoga.
From the moment I stepped onto the cool, damp sand for my class with Coastal Bliss Yoga, I knew I had made the right decision. Feeling the sand between my toes and watching the morning mist dance across Mackenzie Beach, I immediately felt my body begin to relax. There is something unique about yoga on the beach. The calming words from the yoga instructor, which I usually find cheesy, gained meaning with the natural soundtrack of lapping waves and chirping seabirds.
Encouragements from instructors about being grateful, stress-free, and in-tune with the body, often feel abstract to me. However, when you are on a beach at the edge of Canada, in a setting so apart from the locations of all your other stresses, the yoga teachings become easier to absorb. It is not hard to be grateful with the warm sun on your back, the sand between your toes, and an unobscured view of the ocean.
Make sure to try out beach yoga at some point. It may not be easy to truly immerse yourself in the practice while in a sterile, silent room, but beach yoga offers the solution.
Life is pretty good when this is your view as you reach for your toes.
I strolled home after my class with a renewed appreciation for my surroundings and a fresh burst of energy for the rest of my day. Make sure to take the time to strengthen your body and give your mind a well-deserved rest. Spoil yourself with an hour of relaxation, and feel relaxed for hours (if not days) afterwards.
And if the nearest beach is hours away (or if the drizzly British weather just won’t cease), maybe just settle for a lovely wave soundtrack in the comfort of your own living room.
Originally published on The National Student – http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Travel/2018-07-19/the_national_student_microadventure_challenge_beach_yoga.html