Several years ago, as I first embarked on my yoga teaching and surfing journey, I traveled to Morocco. It was there that I was fortunate enough to meet this vibrant soul, Chanti Mai. Although we haven’t seen each other in person for years, her spirit still touches my heart and I am often reminded of her authentic smiles of joy. She is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, dancer, adventurer, and a true lover of life! Here she shares one of her latest blogs, “Alive with Bliss”. You can find the original posting here: http://chanti-mai.squarespace.com/blog/2014/5/8/feeling-alive
When I was a teenager my hunger for freedom turned a less innocent and little more. Rollerskating/longboarding came first, and it opened me up to the world of outdoor sports like climbing and surfing, yoga, and a community of like-minded people. For that, yoga have stolen my heart. I was slowly realizing that I could get my adventure kicks by doing something a little more sustainable.
Within all of us lies that craving to get out of the crib, climb up the highest tree, cut class, to run away from our cozy lives and go searching. Searching for simplicity, danger, adventure, moments of clarity and fear, personal limits, and for a quiet that only comes from being far, far away from anything comfortable or familiar.
We are all this way, to varying extents.
Some people can soothe their hunger for adventure easily, satisfied with the yearly camping trip or skiing over Christmas. Then there are others who have to climb, who can’t live in one place for more than a few years, who jump off cliffs into lakes, the ones who swim out past the breakers and float in the sea, just for the reminder that they are small. And then there are others who are in a category all their own the extremely dangerous sport lovers. These are the ones deemed by society as insane, stupid, senseless, and other words that we commonly call people when we just don’t understand them. There have even been laws put in place against some of these activities.
It’s a hard thing for most people to understand: why do some people risk their lives in order to feel alive?
Why do any of us feel this way? Maybe not to the extent of jumping off the side of a cliff with only a parachute in hand, but why do we travel continents away from home, go snowboarding, hike to the top of mountains, contemplate packing up the car and driving off until we’re just a speck on the horizon?
Is normal life just that boring?
Last time I checked, most of our daily lives aren’t boring per se, but at first glance it lacks something that being adventurous gives us: a test.
We, as humans, like to test our limits, our strength, and our bravery. As counterintuitive as it sounds, we often put ourselves in situations that create fear–maybe a lot of fear, maybe just a little. The activity that you’re doing in order to create this doesn’t matter, we all just want a chance to prove to ourselves that we are brave.
And let’s get one thing straight: I don’t think that a base jumper is somehow more brave or more strong than someone who gets sweaty palms from just watching a video of base jumping. That’s not how it goes. The people who appear to be the most daring of us all still have fears that are just as legitimate and hindering as everyone else’s.
One thing I know to be true is that stifling our adventurous side can be unhealthy. Ultimately this means that we aren’t testing ourselves. Some of us have gotten very good at this. So good at it that we’ve stopped being adventurous in all parts of our lives. How many of us are afraid of any risk at all, like dancing in public (or even in front of your own mirror), complimenting someone, trying a new yoga pose, letting go of judgement, speaking up for yourself, or falling in love.
While doing things that push our own personal limits and test our courage can sometimes be deemed as a waste of time (why try a new dish at my favorite restaurant if I know what I like already?), if we don’t act on our innate urge to adventure, we will eventually stop being brave in all aspects of our lives. So whether you’re satisfied with the yearly camping trip or need to climb Half Dome without a rope to get your kicks, do it. Don’t stop.
These things are good for us because they remind us that we are alive, breathing, and strong–something that we often forget. If you’ve lost that feeling, tap back into it. Do something that scares you, that reminds you of your mortality. And no matter how small it may seem, chances are that to someone you a daredevil and doing something amazingly scary.
Remember that you are made of flesh and bones, that you are full of blood and have a heart that beats and can be broken.
This will make us feel alive, something that this world and our lives desperately need. Much love.
Keep up with Chanti here: