Being fortunate to live and work at the beach in the summer does not go without some element of suffering and disconnect. Each summer I take my integrative wellness practice and yoga classes to my back deck on Fire Island, a barefoot, car-free community. I break away from acupuncture and treat clients using the meridian based practices of Yin yoga and Thai massage. It is a dreamy experience as I slow down and tune in to the rhythm of beach life. It is a dream come truefor my 10 year daughter as she rides off barefoot and bikini clad for hours at a time without any communication between us. This freedom takes me back to my childhood summers.
When I brought my work out here a few years ago, I thought this would be the perfect place to find my voice and teach intuitively. I found so much more.
I spent 5 weeks teaching a one-hour Yin/Yang Yoga class, sprinkled with bits of Chinese medicine wisdom and dharma. Yin Yoga has become my full body medicine wheel and as students learn to slow down and tether to their breath, body sensations, feelings and emotions, a different type of calm comes to the experience. This month I have chosen the mantra - “This moment is like this.” Being fully present lends a certain confidence to one’s ability to remain in the moment, rather than anticipating what the next moment might bring. With practice, it becomes evident that fear, suffering, and anxiety can be felt in a more inclusive way, thus losing the control they once had over our experience.
While the gifts are plenty at the edge of the ocean, they are equally plenty when we can fully know our experience of suffering. The medicine wheel of Yin Yoga has shaped a better understanding for me of my body, my mind, my reactivity. The confidence I have gained in trusting that and including all mental states, body sensations, and emotions in my yoga practice has strengthened a foundation of non-reactivity that not only informs my teaching but also plays a huge role I’m my parenting style and relationships with others.
This present moment mantra has become my closest ally of late, reminding me of the impermanence of all things and the beautiful gifts that come when you look to each moment, whether pleasant or unpleasant, with a sliver of gratefulness, these gifts of mindfulness are endless and when you are able to embrace life just as it is, you ignite that fire of insight. Authenticity and awareness shine through opening us to a fuller, richer, more vital life experience.