Updated: Jul 31, 2019
When the waves are a little too big
We like to look at surfing as just fun and game, and believe me, it is so much fun! Pinky promise. But let us be honest, there can be a whole lot of fear involved, at least at one point or another, when the waves get a little too big.
Fear is something absolutely natural. It is an instinct. An instinct that helps us evaluate danger, respond to it, and basically manage to survive. This goes for surfing as well as for life in general. Unfortunately, our little monkey mind can trick us into seeing danger in places or situations where there actually is none. Does it make it unreal? Definitely not. As long as we interpret it to present danger, it will feel real. But it is worth taking a closer look into it to check if what makes us anxious is actually a threat that we are being exposed to, or simply the unknown. And what might be lying underneath it all.
Pushing through the fear
Phrases like “you don’t need to be afraid” or “push through that fear” are probably well-intended and meant to motivate, but when you are really afraid of something deep down, they will most likely not help you overcome that fear. They can sometimes even make it worse.
I remember experiencing a really bad wipe out in Portugal. The waves and sets had been much bigger than what I felt safe with, but I decided to push through my comfort zone. My arms and back were tired from paddling, and I was pretty anxious and hesitant to pick a wave. When I eventually did, I wiped out immediately and got pulled under. It felt super heavy and I battled to get back to the surface. Once I managed, I saw the next wave rolling up, leaving me only a second to catch a breath before I got pulled under again. That went on for a few more, and my whole body was taken over by fear.
When I finally made it to the beach, I sat down and started crying. One of the surf teachers came to check up on me. He told me to relax, and then also to go straight back in again. No wrong advice, but not the right thing at that moment for me. The impact had been so strong that I was having a hard time breathing. I had tensed up so much, that my body was tight as can be. And the fear had crept into my bones.
They say to get back up when you fall. I full-heartedly agree. But I will also tell to take your time. To rest for a moment, or a while. To find your breath again. This is where yoga enters the stage. My yoga practice, the work I do with and for my body and my breath, has helped me connect on a deeper level with both, but also comprehend more of how everything is connected, what I need in certain situations, and how to provide for myself in better, more serving ways.
Not only did I learn to prepare my body (as well as my mind and soul) before and in between surf sessions, but also how to care for it after a wipe out. To be honest with myself, to trust my intuition, as well as to call out my own bullshit.
Enjoy the ride
Everything in life comes and goes, just like the waves in the ocean do, just like our in- and exhale does. Both, yoga and surfing, have taught me how to let go and embrace this fascinating, sometimes scary, yet always beautiful, messy journey called life. They have helped me to accept better that nothing is for ever, that the only constant thing is change. And they continue to do so. They continue to help me face my fears, they grant me release and offer themselves to me as a retreat when the waves of life get a little too big. They help me grow and keep teaching me to enjoy the ride rather than being afraid of the next wave.
Do I still experience fear? Oh believe me, I do. But many things that I used to be afraid of do not present the same sense of danger anymore. I have found tools how to work with and through them. I hope that you will also find the courage to embrace your fears and let the joy in that life has in stock for you. Just remember, in the water as in life, take it one wave at the time.
Aloha & Much Love, Cory
Cory is a German / US American yoga teacher, breath coach and Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Nui practitioner with a deep passion for the ocean, music, travel and trauma work. She calls many places her home. Currently she is commuting between Morocco and Germany.
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This fall she is offering two very special journeys in cooperation with Wave Gypsy Surf & Yoga in Tamraght.
SALT AND SUGAR, a surf and yoga trip for soul surfers, October 1-8, 2019, and
THE HEALING JOURNEY, a deep journey into healing and growth, November 12-26, 2019.
All details can be found at www.ruhepol-linden.de
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