Ebb and FlowSeptember 21st, 2009
Today’s blog and accompanying photography are by Laurice D. Nemetz, who works as a yoga teacher and dance/movement therapist throughout Westchester County in New York. Lauri was the instructor on El Espiritu del Mar, Seacape’s pilot yoga and paddling trip in Costa Rica, and on Ebb and Flow, the first yoga/kayak combo on Deer Island in the Bay of Fundy. We are planning yoga and sea kayaking trips with her for 2010: January 9-17 and May 14-22 in Costa Rica, and August 6-9 in New Brunswick.
Held in the lovely waters off of Deer Island earlier this summer, the Ebb and Flow trip was our second yoga and sea kayaking collaboration, the first having been El Espiritu del Mar, set in Costa Rica. Our summer group consisted of an Ossining, New York contingent that I pulled up to Canada (Beth, Steve, Tony and Eve) and a return yoga and kayak participant, Wendy, from Lakeland, Ontario. For those of you familiar with Bruce’s shop, the space was opened up even more to allow us to use it as a yoga studio morning and night.
Our weather brought some challenges as we had a cool and wet beginning of the trip, much like our past spring up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Our Friday evening began with many of the group happily eating the wonderful local food, but wondering where the island began or finished in the thick, wet fog. A leap of faith to come to a new place and to trust the environment around.
I began each morning sweeping the floors meticulously in the shop (we are barefoot!) and laying out yoga straps and mats. As everyone arrived I guided each of the group in working through the tightness of travel, and returning at the end of the day to balance paddling muscles.
Our first paddle was assisted by the ever lovely Guy who, like Bruce, instills a sense of calm on the waters. We layered in wool hats, fisherman rain hats, fleece layers, more waterproof layers and then organized ourselves into the kayaks in the pouring rain.
Bruce thinks I bring rain to the island, but truly, all my paddles around Deer Island have been 50/50 – either misty rain or glowing sunshine. I like the contrast quite a bit, as there is something so magical about approaching the zen-like scribbles of the fishing weirs as they rise up like calligraphy out of the fog and the rain. It is truly about letting go. Although Guy and Bruce know exactly where we are, and I’m gaining a sense of direction around the Bay of Fundy, in fog there is both sensory quiet and heightened awareness all at the same time.
In our final relaxation in yoga, in savasana, we experience quite the same thing. It is active relaxation – letting go of thoughts, worries and of all concerns, but being awake to the present moment. I think that is why so many of us found yoga or “yuj” – the sense of union – whether on the water or in a yoga pose. When we are connected, we are aware of the environment around us and our “regular” concerns become small.
Sunday, appropriately named, did bring in brilliant sunshine, and we saw this magical world again in a different way with the vast expanses of land and sea around us. We discussed the concept of “santosha” or contentment, of riding the waves of everything. Like a paddle over rough waters, we do quite a lot better when we let ourselves be content; it isn’t about denying our ups and downs, but being at one with the ride. When we respond thoughtfully to the world around us, the paddle is indeed sweet.