Bruce in kayak.

"We specialize in small group travel, which minimizes environmental impact, increases safety standards and allows for personalized, enriching and authentic experiences."

— Bruce Smith, founder and owner, Seascape Kayak Tours Inc.

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Posts Tagged ‘yoga and kayaking’

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.

The Seascape shop converts into a lovely yoga space.

THE SEASCAPE SHOP CONVERTS TO A LOVELY YOGA SPACE

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.

Paddling with a partner in a stable tandem kayak makes for a relaxing trip, even in fog or rain.

PADDLING IN SEASCAPE'S RAIN GEAR MAKES FOR A COMFORTABLE TRIP IN ANY CONDITIONS.

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.

The first Ebb and Flow group enjoying the Bay of Fundy sunshine.

THE FIRST EBB AND FLOW GROUP ENJOYING FUNDY SUN.

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.


Union of earth, sea, sky and spiritApril 19th, 2009

Today’s blog comes from Laurice D. Nemetz, MA, ADTR, E-RYT, LCAT, who works as a yoga teacher and dance/movement therapist throughout Westchester County in New York. Lauri was the instructor on our recent El Espiritu del Mar, Seacape’s pilot yoga and paddling trip. We are planning future yoga and sea kayaking trips with her in both Canada (July) and Costa Rica (next January and May).

Palm practiceLAURI LEADS HER STUDENTS ON THE COSTA RICA PADDLING TRIP IN GENTLE PRACTICE UNDER THE PALM TREES AFTER KAYAKING.

 

Since returning to the states from Costa Rica, I’ve experienced hail in New York, hugged my boys countless times, have seen many, many students, worked in several therapeutic settings and led my college class of movement and anatomy students through the BODIES exhibit in NYC. 

 

As your guest blogger, I wanted to share a few of my reflections on the trip from the yogic perspective. Like Bruce, I never take for granted the work we get to do, or where we get to share that. As a yoga teacher just outside of the big city of New York, I am near lovely trees and the deep blue Hudson River, but I also spend quite a bit of time in the city itself, both teaching and taking classes. I have enjoyed many an inversion in the studios of New York, but I also enjoyed the experience of my own practice on the sandy shores of Costa Rica, looking at the ocean and sky together reversed.  

 

TEACHING YOGAAFTER A LONG PADDLE, LAURI GUIDES THE GROUP IN EXERCISES THAT WORK OPPOSING MUSCLES FROM THOSE USED IN KAYAKING.

 

When I teach yoga, I consider myself a guide. I share my knowledge and can point towards a path, but ultimately the work is self-initiated. Each person on this trip made such lovely positive changes and I believe that those changes ripple into all life. It is my privilege to teach yoga and share its wonderful gifts. The environment of Costa Rica allowed for this process to be quite deep and meaningful.

 

Kayaking is about connection as well. Whenever I am on the water I gain a sense of how small we are, but also how connected we are to everything else. That is the essence of yoga practice – the idea of union, of linking one thing to another. What we do to any other creature and to the environment matters deeply. When someone leaves a piece of trash, it may not seem like a large amount in the grand scheme of things, but that garbage can multiply and turn a beautiful beach into something else. However, I’m an optimist by nature, and I feel that while life isn’t always easy, our own ease can create something beautiful in an ocean far away.

 

HeadstandLAURI ENGAGING IN HER PRIVATE YOGA PRACTICE ON PLAYA QUESERA IN CURU WILDLIFE REFUGE, BASECAMP FOR THE PADDLING TRIP.

 

The Costa Rican days were full of brilliant sunshine, wildlife and colors, but I also enjoyed the Costa Rican nights. I loved watching the stars, so bright and beautiful, and the last morning of our camping, I woke up watching the stars before greeting the day with an extra early morning yoga practice. 

 

As many of you know, the constellation Orion, known as the Huntsman, is easy to spot in the evening sky, whether in New York, or far south in Costa Rica. For years, I carried a favorite poem about the constellation with me, a small part which l give to you here: 

 

The choice is always ours. Then, let me choose

The longest art, the hard Promethean way

Cherishingly to tend and feed and fan

That inward fire, whose small precarious flame,

Kindled or quenched, creates

The noble or the ignoble men we are,

The worlds we live in and the very fates,

Our bright or muddy star.

Up from among the emblems of the wind

Into its heart of power,

The Huntsman climbs, and all his living stars

Are bright, and all are mine.

From "Orion"

by Aldous Huxley, 1931

 

 

Shanti (Peace),

Lauri