Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it”- William Feather. “Stop and smell the roses” - My Grandma (and probably everyone else’s grandma). “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. The quotes can go on and on. The wisdom being passed down from generations, yet it is still so hard for us to follow this wise advice. Our modern day lives are often a ticking time bomb of stress and anxiety, where these great quotes are being replaced with things like “the struggle is real”. Finding that perfect balance between taking care of life’s demands and taking care of ourselves sometimes IS a real struggle but allowing ourselves the opportunity to step out of the rat race even for an hour can have lasting benefits that trickle down to all elements of our lives.
While there is a multitude of ways for us to facilitate a meaningful reconnection with life’s glory - including all the food, fun, and stimulation Long Beach Island has to offer each summer - choosing to start with YOU is an incredible way to cultivate our mindfulness and connection with all life has to offer on the deepest of levels.
This summer, while on Long Beach Island, consider investing a little time in growing meaningful happiness from the inside out and a great way to do so is to re-connect with nature. Nature will quiet your mind, open your heart and permeate your body with a sense of ease. You’ll feel a living connection with life around you, giving you the capacity to awaken, heal, transform and improve your quality of life.
For some this connection with nature can be as simple as a morning stroll on the beach or watching the sunset over Barnegat Bay, for others we can take it a step further and truly integrate and embrace life’s ups and downs with each passing wave. Standup Paddleboard Yoga, often times referred to as SUP Yoga, helps us metaphorically and physically rise to the occasion. From the moment you step onto the board you find yourself stepping into to a beautiful dance with nature; tuning into all the qualities mama earth has to offer.
Sometimes we need a real challenge to stay in the present moment and balancing on a floating board will do just that! The postures that you have consistently nailed on your land-based practice are compromised on the board and your focus becomes hyper-attuned.
Your technique becomes refined as you equalize your weight and adapt your balance over your board and these lessons can be brought back to not just your studio practice but also to life’s challenges reminding us to find the balance in all aspects of our worlds.
Our Ujjayi Pranayama, sometimes referred to as Oceanic Breath, can be synched to the sound of the lapping waves over your board. This natural binaural rhythm helps you tune into the most important aspect of yoga and life: your breath.
It’s empowering! The focus on our body and how we relate to the unpredictable nature of the waters below helps us challenge and overcome our fears and self-doubt and helps us realize that even when we fall, we still have the ability to not just survive but thrive. When we fall in we climb back up and try again. This, in itself, is a life lesson.
We are reminded to find the softness. By locking out or being rigid, our world’s shrink, but when we can approach each movement with more space, softness and compassion, we are able to expand our worlds with the perfect balance of effort and ease. We are able to find the balance in being calmly active and actively calm.
Each lesson we learn on our board becomes the greatest metaphor for our lives: Lessons that apply to how we treat our fellow humans, the earth and ourselves. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”. By taking the time to not just step outside but to truly immerse ourselves in nature, we have the profound opportunity to recognize the depth and breathe of our worlds and the incredible gifts that lie right in front of us while here on Long Beach Island and each and every day of our lives.
- Katie Ribsam is a soul-searching, sun loving, yogi residing here in beautiful Long Beach Island. You can find Katie teaching yoga at one of her two LBI yoga studios, Yoga Bohemia– one located in North Beach Haven and the other located in Surf City- teaching SUP Yoga on the Barnegat Bay or soaking up the sun at one of our stunning beaches. For more information on Katie and her practice go to yogabohemianj.com.