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Practice Makes . . . A Little Better


Life is like surfing and surfing is like yoga (and hey Joao I am the yoga teacher around here!).

I recently decided to start surfing.  I knew I would find it a challenge.  Whenever I try something new I get the growing drill of put-down in my ears, a shower of shame through my veins and a persistent urge to quit and run.  I used to not even go there and my life receded into a prison of paralysis and addiction.  Now, after many years in recovery, I still get it but I can move through it.  And yoga has been a massive part of learning how to do this.


Somehow growing up I never learned to stick with things that didn’t come easily; I felt an overwhelming sense of humiliation and found ways of avoiding having to feel it.  Some styles of yoga have similarly brought that up in me and while other people may thrive on the challenges they set, I have found growth for me to come through an approach that has met me as an individual and worked with me – therapeutically where needed – to create the space for me to maneuver around my own internal challenges.


A yoga practice has the power to take you on a daily journey to retrieve something you need.  Those daily journeys can build into an excursion arranged for a certain time in your life and these excursions into a lifetime’s pilgrimage.  Learning to stick with a daily journey that was right for me, in which I didn’t continually compare myself to others,  sought out and practiced specifically what I needed at that time and allowed myself to not be very good some days has brought peace, space and transformation that I can’t always believe.


My practice has taught me to persevere and commit to what is good for me.  To recognise and allow my own potential to open and develop and not to try to become what someone else seems to be so well.  It gave me the confidence to try surfing, watch the feelings that came up, take the positive ones home and leave the others behind.  It has helped me detach from and let go of old identities and stories.


Surfing in exchange showed me where I could ask my yoga practice to take me next.  Some patterns and ways of doing things  – distraction, fear or heaviness in the body – don’t have any clear consequences on the mat but put them into action on a board you’re trying to balance and ride on a powerful body of water and they’re oh so real!

Practice makes a little better

Practice makes a little better

Four lessons and I was just starting to stand up more consistently.  It was a challenge and each time I felt an urge not to do it. More powerful now though is the surge of joy at overcoming a challenge and feeling my freedom grow and my light shine stronger. Thank you yoga.  Thank you to all my teachers so far and all that I am still to meet.

Surfing was near Ericeira in Portugal with Na Onda Surf School

Accommodation was right by the beach in the wonderful Helios Bungalows

I feel a surf and yoga retreat forming for 2014 . . . if anyone is interested, get in touch! [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]


  •    Reply

    Great article/blog on the effects of yoga practice and how it has helped in learning new things – specifically surfing!

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