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Surf Into Yoga: Rochelle Ballard

Words from Rochelle Ballard. Originally published in The Current.

When I was a young girl growing up on Kauai, life was simple and pretty sweet. My biggest adversity was being caucasian, a racial minority in Hawaii. Other than feeling some insecurities and inferiority at times, I was in an environment where the world was my oyster in a small shell. As kids we grew up playing in the tropical jungles of our backyards and riding our bikes to the beach to surf and play when school was out.

Around that time, my next door neighbor was a yoga teacher and a massage therapist. One day, at 16, I experienced my first surfing injury; I fell awkwardly on a wave, felt a pinch in my muscles and pain shot through my body, which shortened my breath and restricted my back and neck.  

The next day, I walked next door to my neighbor’s house to see what she could do to get rid of the pain and limitations I was feeling. She massaged me, shared some yoga postures, and most importantly, taught me about my breath and how to use it with awareness.  

A couple years went by, and by that time I was out of high school and decided that I wanted to be a wellness facilitator. I immediately returned to my next door neighbor to learn more about Yoga and massage training courses. I also learned from some great teachers in Hanalei, those who taught me deep tissue, lomi lomi, and sports massage.  

As I continued developing my skills as a wellness facilitator, I set out on the World Professional Surfing Tour to pursue my dreams of becoming a world class surfer and traveling the world, in search of the best waves and cultural experiences. During the first few years of my professional surfing career, I split my time between competing and practicing bodywork on the most elite male surfers on tour.  

After a fews years, I decided to further focus on my surfing career, applying my learnings and experience with wellness into my own progression of athleticism. Yoga became an integral part of program, as it enabled me to focus my mind and body, calm my peaking adrenaline, fears, anticipations, and disappointments.  My breath work and the sequences of Ashtanga, Hatha, and Pranayama, brought my mind and body into each present moment. As a professional athlete, the demands of travel, pressure of competition, and constant body exertion continued to draw me into a deeper practice of yoga. I remember taking classes whenever I had the opportunity, but it was my personal practice, listening to my body, exercises with breath, and dedication to trusting my instincts that grew my experience with yoga.  

By the end of 2006, I had been on the world championship surfing tour for 17 years. It was then that I decided to retire, and when it became time to change career gears, I chose to refocus my energy on wellness, including practicing massage again.  

From here, it was a natural step for me to document my practice in the form of an instructional yoga video inspired by surfing. Throughout my surf career, I’d made surf videos with my sponsors and ex husband. I’d also devoted time to give back to the sport and to the younger generations. This came naturally to me, so I surrounded myself with a team to execute the project. John Roderick, Chanelle Sladics, Leah Dawson, Jianca Lazarus, and my brother Hoku Gordines all contributed to creating the first Surf Into Yoga project. Jack Johnson, Donavon Frankenreiter, John Swift, and Kai Walsh, all surf friends, gifted their music to the project as well. The visual imagery of this film, the beautiful blue waters and waves of Hawaii, Indonesia and Micronesia, established the surfing inspiration and brought a dynamic feeling to the video. The beauty of the island elements – white sand beaches, black lava rocks, and lush tropical environments were captured in all instructional sequences. This was intentional – we wanted to give people from all over the world, from cities, rural towns, and inland locations an opportunity to experience the serenity and feel the aloha of these places.

This project was only the beginning of Surf Into Yoga. From the video concept stemmed a lifestyle business that at its core is an integration of surfing and yoga. Today, I’ve molded my two greatest passions together in synchronicity, and every day I get to share my experiences with my clients – the adversity of competing, stories from traveling the world, learning to be the most dynamic athlete I could be, focusing on preventing injury, and recovering from injury.  Surf Into Yoga is my way of giving back to the world, one person at a time, with exclusive attention. My business clientele extends to my visiting and resident clients, friends, family, the youth and non-profit groups for at risk kids and the less privileged.

Each day, it is my pledge to continue dedicating my life to my passion for surfing and wellness and I do this with aloha in my heart and a continued inspiration to share and learn.

Aloha.

SURF! Join Rochelle Ballard and the Yoga Trade Founders March 23-30, 2019 at the Yoga Farm, Costa Rica for a week of SURF COACHING, Yoga, and Sustainable Living!!!

https://www.yogafarmcostarica.org/surf-with-rochelle-ballard-and-yoga-trade/

 

 

Rochelle Ballard’s integrative Surf Into Yoga approach to wellness is born out of the knowledge and abilities acquired over 20 years of athletic triumph, injury, recovery, and victory. In the last 10 years she has apprenticed with facilitators and healer’s in the practice of Lomi Lomi, Chi Nei Sang, Polarity, Deep Tissue, Aroma touch Essential Oils, and Reflexology. Rochelle believes that healing comes from within one’s own desires to allow for change and growth. The best form of healing comes from joy, laughter and gratitude. Through forgiveness, prayer and meditation we are able to accept and acknowledge. By changing our habits, ways of thinking, eating, and movement, we are able to create long lasting dynamic physical changes.

surfintoyoga.com

@surfintoyoga

 

This piece was originally published in THE CURRENT by Yoga Trade. You can download it here:

https://yogatrade.com/the-current/

 

A Yoga and Surfing Adventure Story

I have always shared a sentiment with close friends about how yoga and surfing simultaneously saved and ruined my ‘life’. A shift in perspective changes it all into a grand adventure story.

Back in 2014, I had every ‘thing’. Great job, beautiful house and loving relationship. At the age of 25, I was set…..Well, so, that’s what everyone thought. Living in the big city, I would find myself craving to be out in nature and next to the sea. As I talked with friends and family they said, “Jodi, C’mon, you need to be realistic.” – As a dreamer, this word killed me. – I believe people telling me to be realistic pushed me further to listen to that little voice inside. My intuition was telling me to search for something real. With no clue what I was looking for, I knew I had to follow that feeling. At the time I kept contemplating, do I give up my love for my dream, or give up my dream for love?

I opted for the first one.

To say it was easy would be a lie. With many tears shed and a heavy heart, I was on my way, soon realising that less was more. I was struggling with my health at the time due to irregular eating, sleeping and flying patterns. A trusted friend had approached me and told me a surf camp in Sri Lanka was looking for a yoga instructor. Having already trained as a yoga teacher the previous year, I decided to take the next step. After some serious soul searching and contemplation, I quit my air hostessing job of five years and jumped on the opportunity. My next chapter began.

Guiding yoga classes in the mornings and having all day to surf in the tropical waters of Sri Lanka made me realise that I was on the right track. I found a peace and serenity, which further fuelled my desire to follow this new lifestyle. After five months, the season was coming to an end and I was not sure what was in store next…The security of my old life had given way to something far more unpredictable. Scary yes, but what would an adventure be without such feelings?

One thing was for sure. I knew I wanted to continue this path of sharing my love for yoga. The UK was calling as I had a magical crew of friends down in Cornwall that I had met many moons ago in Costa Rica, so over the pond I hopped. Sharing my yoga classes on the golden sands of the Atlantic coast was nothing but fresh and invigorating. This is where I met my current partner who shares my passion for surfing, camping, nature and adventure.

We planned a ‘trip of a lifetime’.

Travelling down the coast of Central America. Starting in LA and making our way down to Costa Rica over four months on a shoestring budget. Always remembering less was more. My dream had become my reality, with meeting so many authentic characters and sharing it all with my partner in crime.

Having spent another lush summer in the UK, fast forward to where I am now – the in-house yoga instructor at Surf Star Morocco – A surf camp that embodies their love for the surf, nature and life. It’s The enchanting Morrocan land of the right-hand point breaks. My daily routine consists of guiding a morning flow to wake the surfers up to hit the waves all day then taking them through a yin/restorative class in the evenings to rejuvenate their bodies & minds for the following day. I am currently in sync with mama nature, rising with the sun and tucked in by 8 pm most nights. Fuelling my body with the fresh food made with love that the camp prepares daily. So, the moral of my story is create your own reality and don’t listen to others when they tell you that you need to be “realistic”. As for me, there is nothing more real than feeling the wind on my face and the waves on my toes. Listen to your intuition and follow your dharma & remember that the best ‘things’ in life are not ‘things’.

Knowing that the path of Yoga has brought me around the world, from teaching on an eco-farm in Costa Rica to the sublime Moroccan coastline. It has physically opened me up and mentally allowed me to overcome insecurities & vulnerabilities of being open to love as it’s all around us and within each and everyone one of us. I am forever grateful to be shredding the radical!!!

 

 

 

Jodi is a yogini from Canada that started her adventures into this trade from Yandara, Mexico. She is currently travelling the globe in the pursuit of waves and sharing her path of yoga. You can find her here on FB here:

wavestrengthyoga

 

A Surfin’ Yogi Family

I met the Estes family in Costa Rica when they were a happy family of four. Now a happy family of five, Dustin and Lauren are raising three beautiful daughters, Shaylee, Sunny, and Sage. This is one of the most inspirational families I have known. They are loving, kind, creative, full of spunk, spirited entrepreneurs, and the ultimate freedom chasers! They have dedicated their lives to the ocean and yoga has also played an important role. The first year I met them, I participated in one of their ‘Surfin’ Yogi’ weeks and had a blast. Dustin definitely brings the love and fun into surfing while Lauren brings her innovative simplicity, peace, and holistic wellness to everyone around her. And the kids…well, you just have to meet them! Besides being hilarious, their zeal and imagination is contagious. I still remember two amazing one liners that Dustin called out to me while paddling for waves…”Look where you want to go!” and “Paddle to the peak!” Amazing words for surfers, yogis, and wisdom for life in general. This family is a true example that you can carve your own path and live the life of your dreams, as long as there is love. Here we catch up with Dustin Estes to learn more about this impactful Surfin’ Yogi Family.

Cover Photo:  Angelo Regalbuto

How would your describe your family to someone that has never met any of you?

LOUD. Haha! Definitely different from a lot of families out there. We homeschool (unschool), and travel quite a bit. We own a surf school so summers are SUPER BUSY, and the rest of the year is pretty calm, which I think can be quite different from a lot of families, where summer is their downtime, and the rest of the year is work/busy time. Also, since we own a business together and homeschool, we are always together. It can get pretty trying sometimes but at the end of the day it is pretty special to have so much quality time with each other and our kids, and we are very close because of it.

Can you tell us the story of how you and Lauren met?

When I first moved to St. Augustine my friend and I were eating at the new taco shop in town and Lauren was behind the counter. When we left I told my buddy that the babe behind the counter was “definitely into me.” He said, “No way dude, she was into me.” We were both in love, which I later found out was a common theme when people meet Lauren. I ended up getting a job at the taco shop, probably sub-consciously to win her over. She said she didn’t remember us ever coming in. Haha. I guess she wasn’t into either of us, but I ended up winning her over in the end. We dated for a couple months and went on a trip together to Costa Rica, and when we came home Lauren was pregnant with Shaylee (our oldest), so we decided to make a life together and have never looked back.

What are some of the top values within your family?

Time would probably be number one. We find it super important to spend quality time together. Life is so short that we don’t want to work it away, go on a one week vacation every year, and only see our kids and grandkids over Christmas break. We travel, we surf, we camp, we read together, watch movies together, explore together…really we do everything together as a family.

Also, it is really important to us that our kids learn to treat everyone with kindness and respect. It sounds a little cliche, but especially with the way things have been going on in the country lately, it is really important that they understand that everyone is different, and that is okay, and sometimes just being kind to someone can change their day for the better. I know it does for me all the time!

Why do you feel the ocean is so important for wellness?

Oh my gosh…it is everything to us. It provides us with an income, a hobby, a passion, quality time, etc…It is how I’ve met almost all of my friends and people who are important to me in my life. We have shaped our whole life around the ability to jump in the water and go surfing any given day. I’m so thankful for it on a daily basis.

How has yoga influenced your family?

It definitely plays an important role. Lauren has a pretty regular practice, and honestly it was one of the things that attracted me to her so much at the beginning of our relationship. Just the fact that she was so healthy and calm and kind. And I think she owes a lot of that to her practice. Because things can get so hectic around the house, with work, and homeschooling and just always being on top of each other, it is the one thing where she can go in the other room, and just spend some time practicing yoga and meditating, and it really helps.

Also, on a different note it is how we have connected to some of our best friends in the world. Our Surfin’ Yogis camp in Costa Rica has brought us so many lifelong friendships that I am eternally grateful for.

Why do you believe surfing and yoga go so well together?

I think with both you are trying to find some sort of flow. Whenever I find I’m doing my best surfing I am in a really good flow and connection with the ocean. When I’m not having the best time, it’s typically because I’m in my head and not connecting well. But when I have those days where I’m super in sync with the ocean and the flow, I find my life to go really well and vice versa. While I don’t practice a ton of ‘yoga’, it seems that the people in my life who do are generally in a good state of mind and seem to have good outlooks on life. I find a lot of surfers are similar….and when you combine the two, well you’re just winning! Also, being flexible and strong is so important to surfing, and there are not many things that make you strong and flexible like a good asana practice.

What are other ways you try to bring holistic health and sustainability into your everyday lives?

Lauren is an herbalist, so she is always shoving tinctures and teas down our throats. She has a side business called Tribe Apothecary, where she makes natural “Conscious SunCare” and organic herbal products. Our oldest daughter is the only one of our 3 that has ever been to a doctor. We took her to some check ups with a pediatrician when she was an infant because that’s what we were told to do, but other than that the rare times we get sick Lauren treats us.  That’s not to say there is not a place for going to a medical doctor because there definitely is! We have just been fortunate enough to not have to go down that road.  

Lauren has been vegan since she was 12 years old, and so the girls have been mostly vegan their whole life as well. We have chickens so sometimes they will eat the eggs (from our healthy, happy backyard hens) and when my friends or I catch fish, Sunny and Sage (our younger two) will sometimes eat a little of that. I try to eat consciously, but slip from time to time. We recycle!

Who or what inspires you most right now?

That’s an endless list. I’m super inspired by people who find ways to live a quality life while not giving into the pressure of what our society says is a “good life.”  Also, people who give back unselfishly. That’s a big lesson I’ve been learning lately. I think it was Tony Robbins who said, “If you won’t give away 10 cents out of a dollar, what makes you think you’ll give away a million dollars out of ten million dollars.” I really like that because you don’t have to be, or wait until you are rich to donate time and/or money. Here are some of the people we admire:

Dustin:

Liz Clark – She is just a badass and an awesome role model for Women and everyone.

Kelly Slater – He could just sit back and relax, surf, and do whatever he wants, but he is committed to awareness and sustainability, and I admire the way he lives his life.

Shane Dorian – I’ve never met him, but as far as being a good dad and living life on your own terms there seemingly is no one doing it better.

Pat McMahon – Good friend who always has some interesting thing going on. Whether it’s building a house, making mead, brewing beer, designing a farm, going somewhere epic to surf, making a surf film…I could go on and on and on…Always looking up to this guy.

Walter Coker – A local photographer/writer in my hometown who is super conscious and has kind of seen it all. He is an amazing photographer and is just a legend.

Lauren:

Christie Carr – Christie lives from her heart and is constantly engaged in the activities that matter to her. Her excuses are few and her motivation is abundant!

Aviva Romm –  An herbalist, midwife and author who went through medical school even though she already had a successful practice and 3 children. Now as an M.D. can better influence the medical field through holistic care.  

Stephen Harrod Buhner – Pioneering author, teacher and advocate on heart centered perception and plant intelligence. He gives words to and validates feelings (and truths) that our society does not place enough importance on

Favorite words to live by?

Lauren“Occupy your heart.”  A daily mantra to remember to let the heart guide, not to over think it all, and in try to live in the moment.

Dustin“If you want to change your life, you have to first change yourself.” Just reminds me to get off my ass and do something cool or positive if I’m feeling lazy or unmotivated.

Funniest thing you’ve heard one of the kiddos say this month?

Oh my! Sage (our 4 year old) comes up with great ones daily. Lauren has a video of her on her Instagram telling us why koozies are great, “Cuz they keep your hands warm and your drinks cold.”  Pretty much sums it up.

Anything else you’d like to share…

Come visit us in Costa Rica this winter for our Surfin’ Yogis camps! Also check out tribeapothecary.com for some goodness.

And I would also like to add that there are a million different ways to live your life and raise your kids. The way Lauren and I do it suits us, and isn’t perfect for everyone, and we mess up ALL THE TIME. As long as you love them and show them the respect that you want them to show you in return, then you are doing it right.

Surf with the Estes Family at one of their upcoming weeks at the Yoga Farm, Costa Rica!

 



 

 

Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

5 Soulful Yoga Studios Along the California Coast

I grew up in California. Not on the coast, but in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Maybe this is why I have been so obsessed with the ocean the past 8 years; because it is different, mysterious, alluring. Whatever the case, I have deep gratitude for having the opportunity to explore the ways of the ocean and all of her beauty. In fact, I believe the ocean has been and IS one of my greatest spiritual teachers. Fall is such a special time of year, especially on the California Coast, and inspiration for this article was sparked by my itch to get to the ocean after living at high elevation all summer. An ideal road trip for me includes; visiting friends, surf exploration, day hikes, and taking classes at new and different yoga studios. Some of these towns mentioned below I have lived in, while some I just pass through. All of these studios have touched my heart, have wonderful teachers, and are small studios that are full of SOUL. They are all wonderful places to stop and rejuvenate along or near the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). I highly recommend that next time you are cruising the coast, slow down and make time to take a class at one of these gems.

CALIFORNIA COASTAL STUDIOS…From NORTH to SOUTH:

YOGA TOES, Point Reyes, CA

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This studio is nestled inside of Toby’s Feed Barn in the ridiculously adorable town of Point Reyes Station. It has a warm and welcoming vibe with a great mix of classes. It is the home studio of MC Yogi and his partner Amanda Giacomini. Point Reyes is a glorious town for nature lovers and hip foodies. It has an amazing Farmer’s Market on Saturdays where you can connect with local North Bay Farmers and passionate vendors such as Wild West Ferments. After class, head to the Point Reyes Seashore where you will find an abundance of diverse hikes, beaches, and wildlife.

ENSO, Half Moon Bay, CA

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Enso is a center for yoga and art. Enso is very dear to me as it is the studio that allowed me to really fall in love with yoga. For one year I lived in the area and consistently took classes with amazing teacher, Amy Outman. The studio is located on the coastal trail and has views of the sea. The wood burning stove is magnificent on foggy Half Moon Bay days. The wind and rain are amplified by the tin roof in this 100 year old warehouse structure. It is easy to feel a deep connection with nature while practicing here. They also host an array of community gatherings, art, and music events. Truly a jewel on the coast. After class, visit Raman’s Chai for a cup of goodness.

 

PLEASURE POINT YOGA, Santa Cruz, CA

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Photo: Sawdust Imagery

This is a vibrant, colorful studio on the east side of Santa Cruz. Great local vibes. They have an eclectic mix of classes for all levels. The first word that comes to mind when I think about this studio is: FUN! The studio is walking distance to Pleasure Point surf breaks and many restaurants and shops. Pleasure Point Yoga boasts an amazing lineup of intelligent and compassionate teachers and they frequently feature incredible workshops by international guest teachers. Studio owner, Aimee Joy Nitzberg is a true inspiration.

HARMONY HOUSE YOGA, Pismo Beach, CA

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A heartfelt and cozy studio in downtown Pismo Beach. They offer a variety of classes with a strong emphasis on community. Started by Kelly Metcalf, a traveler, ocean lover, and surfer with strong roots in the area. They also have a really nice boutique with unique yoga and wellness treasures. After class, get a smoothie at Honeymoon Cafe just next door or take a short stroll to the ocean.

YOGA BERGAMOT, Encinitas, CA

(Now GATHER Encinitas)

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Encinitas is known for being a yoga mecca and offers a large variety of yoga studios. This one is a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit! It is a tiny space with a huge heart. One thing that makes this studio so special is their commitment to making yoga accessible to everyone by way of a donation model. Take a class with studio founder Lauren Duke, who is known for her raw disposition and her love of sharing the spirit of yoga. Walking distance to many fun beach breaks, and always amazing weather in sunny San Diego:)

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THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all the committed students, teachers and yoga communities out there. Keep doing what you makes you feel alive and share the love!

NAMASTE.

 

 

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Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

To Stay or To Go

To stay or to go.

 

The travelers dilemma.

 

The two best things I own right now are my single fin surfboard and a half of croissant that I’m saving for lunch. I’m in a dream — I’m so excited about both. So excited in fact, that I changed my ticket back to the states to indulge. Only by a week. I am a gringa, American woman, living a fulfilling life in Costa Rica but also maintaining a job in California. I also live a fulfilling life in Florida. And life is really, really good. I’m connected to all these places for various reasons, all within the realm of my adulthood, my dreams, my capabilities. Granted, one always knows that one can do more: stay put somewhere, have a farm, make a family, start a new career…but is that me talking?

 

The inherent fact of a traveling life is movement, this is just as much a fact for sedentary life. With a traveling life there is so much newness on a daily basis that in comparison to a sedentary life, it seems like there’s more newness, more magic, more to explore. But in reality it’s equal. Thoughts are movement, thoughts provoke emotion which is movement, thoughts provoke emotions which provoke thoughts which provoke movement, desire, escape, expansion, change. This all happens when you sit, too, but in traveling mode we are physically pushing the limits, pushing the mold, knowing that movement equals safety, safety from thought provoking movement in stillness…

 

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As travelers we know that there is always that pull to “get back to reality” get back to where we came from, our jobs, our families, only wishing that we could afford to stay longer, maybe even live the life of traveling as an occupation but nah, that’s so difficult and I need more money to do that…I need permission. So this pull is always with us, this pull is egocentric, this pull is greedy, this pull is society’s voice implanted inside of our heads saying no, sorry, you are a different person. But are you? Are you the person that wants to stay a little longer, do something spontaneous, make “wild” decisions?

 

One day about a year and a half ago, here in Costa Rica, a local friend comes up to me and my girlfriend saying that there is a sea lion on the beach — we were in relative disbelief, how could there possibly be a sea lion here so close to the equator? Where did he or she come from? Is the animal sick? Caught in a storm? We went running down the beach to see the leo marina. When we got to the spot the creature had since disappeared, but in no way did I think the sea lion was imagined. My girlfriend began to tell me about an evolutionary theory that she had read about: where in animal communities it has been noted that there is a tendency for a member of the community to stray away, to go outside of the limits of what is considered normal — and that the actions of this individual is quite possibly the first steps that a species takes as a whole in evolving.

 

The radical individual paves the way for the change, as in how a cell within one’s body eventually multiplies and creates more cells. Maybe sometimes it doesn’t stick, maybe sometimes is takes a few generations, but in general the idea is change from the individual.

 

How inspiring!

 

And yet so alone this sea lion must be…

 

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As time has gone on many people in the area have seen the sea lion, I’ve seen a video taken of it, barking at the videographer and jumping off of rocks into the plentiful ocean. I even think there was a little article written about it in a newspaper. This creature is surviving in an previously unknown land, sustaining and yet completely removed from it’s former community.

 

Does the sea lion want to go back? Can the sea lion go back? Does the sea lion go back, maybe traveling a current and living seasonally?

 

Do You want to go back? Can You go back?

 

In traveling, the world expands. One is put in situations that practically forces absorption, soaking in sights, sounds, cultures, friendships, and through the many journeys you change and become apart of the events as they are apart of you. You survive your surroundings, you are living the travel, and then home is now something different. You see where you came from with different eyes, you realize places are places and things are things. Home is a place as anywhere else is, and things are things as anything is a thing. Time becomes a farce and we recognize the holiness of what is real for each and every one of us.

 

And reality changes. It is not the needs, the musts, the responsibilities; reality is what is.

 

I’ve changed my ticket twice since I’ve been here in Costa Rica for the past month. Deliberation, checking surf reports, talking to friends about work in the states, talking to work about dates … All the while thinking that I need money to be righteous, though knowing I find righteousness in my decisions. So I’ve settled on a date to encompass the next swell and even get to work on a project for a few days at my friends farm within the work time frame that I was told. Well come to find out the swell is late by a few days and the work is early by a few days, so I’m basically missing both! And thus the inspiration for writing this.

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I catch myself jumping quite a bit and as a result I revel in this genuine journey that is completely unique to me. And I love it. I’m not going to change my ticket again. I’m at peace with my decision. Oh the trails and hiccups and cruelty and misjudging! And home! Home is forever calling me back to California, calling me to Florida and then calling me right back to Costa Rica. And through all my evolving I realize there is one true home and it is inside me, wherever I am, making my journeys, experiencing and riding the current. Like the sea lion, living without judging, surviving the moment, finding genuineness in my decision making, finding home within the moment.

 

“Home is where the heart is”. That’s just awesome cause my heart is right here! Right inside of me! Pumping blood and involuntarily allowing me to BE the experience the we call life.

 

Namaste.

 

 

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Abby Tirabassi: born on the gulf coast of Florida, shovel bum in California, surfing in Costa Rica, finding joy daily.

 

IG: @scrambby

 

Featured photos: Megan Kathleen Photography

 

Post Surf Yoga Practice: 10 Poses to Ground and Restore Energy

PHOTOGRAPHY by: Megan McCullor

Surf is incredible. The raw elemental energy of being in the ocean and chasing waves creates a feeling inside like no other. Physically one of the best upper body and abdominal workouts I have ever experienced, plus the rush of adrenaline that comes from riding a wave and harnessing the awesome power of the sea.

So what effect does this have on our bodies?

Spending extended time in an adrenalized state causes the sympathetic nervous system to go into overdrive. This is a necessary function for our survival, our “fight or flight” backwash-surfmode. Air passages dilate and blood vessels contract, providing more oxygen to muscles and blood flow to the heart and lungs. Awareness is heightened and strength and performance increase, all part of our body’s natural functions that get us out of dangerous situations alive…aka beast mode! If we’re lucky enough to be travelling yogis and surfers in this lifetime, chances are we are not often using this function for pure survival; we’re in it just for the thrill of it. Our body’s ability to perform activities like surfing and other high-energy aerobic workouts depend on the sympathetic nervous system. But we need some yin to this yang, to understand that our softer sides play an equally important role in our lives.

Enter the parasympathetic nervous system. Of course our super awesome physical bodies have the natural solution. Sometimes referred to as “rest and digest” mode, the parasympathetic nervous system is the relaxed place in which our bodies can truly rest, restore and rejuvenate all the spent energy that occurs in the opposing state.

So how can we access this cooler, calmer place?

In any style of yoga practice our breath is the primary pillar on which all other elements can balance. Through our breath we can release excess heat and energy. Fresh oxygen is supplied to the blood and tissues and our nervous system responds. By practicing calming, supported, gentle postures in combination with deep cooling breaths we can access this restorative state. Think ujjayi, but without heat and constriction in the throat. Deep sighs through the mouth can be done at times throughout this kind of practice.

Ujjayi = Ocean breath; steady, full and gently audible like rolling waves.

As yogis, we strive for balance in our practice, lives and bodies. Post surf yoga session, my favorite poses are grounding, cooling, supported and opening. There are many poses and sequencing options to create this effect on the body, these are my top 10:

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1. Garudasana (Eagle Pose) – opens upper back, neck and shoulders. Centring, grounding balance poses create acute focus within our practice and help develop ease in balancing on your board.

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2. Supported Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog on the railing) – great shoulder opening stretch without putting pressure on wrists and arms. Helpful in feeling all the actions involved in creating an aligned downward dog, without the challenge of supporting your own weight. Try to connect to externally rotating the upper arms and spreading the shoulder blades, creating space in the upper back.

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3. Supported Side Stretch – move from DD on the railing (a counter top or kitchen table works too!) to turn to the side and press hips away from your supporting hand. Opens side body and outer chain of back muscles, brings spine into its side bending range of motion.

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4. Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose) – grounding and activating for the legs and quads, helpful to feel balanced in a wide stance. Stretches groins and hips.

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5. Prasarita Padotanasana C – opens low back, hamstrings, chest and shoulders. Forward folds are calming and cooling. With an added chest and shoulder opener this is a juicy post surf pose.

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6. Malasana – narrow the stance of your feet and come to a low squat. Stretches the achilles and calves, opens groins and hips.

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7. Supported Matsyandrasana – there’s nothing like a good twist after a surf sesh. This supported version is also calming, and grounding. Allow your weight to soften onto the blocks and hold for 2 mins each side.

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8. Supported Savasana – my favorite chest opening heart lifting supported back bend ever. Completely counter to the movements and actions required for paddling and riding a wave. If you do one pose post surf, let this be it. One block goes directly under the shoulder blades, the other supports the back of the head.

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9. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand or legs up the wall) – this cooling, energy balancing inversion feels amazing on the shoulders and upper back after a day in the waves. Finish your practice with circulating calming energy. Hold for 10-15 deep breath cycles. This can be done supported, with legs up the wall for 2-5 mins.

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10. Savasana – lay it out, splay it out, melt onto your mat like butter on toast. Rest and digest for tomorrow is a new wave.

 

 

Lynn

 

Lynn Alexander is a yogi, surfer and Thai massage practitioner living in Costa Rica. Learn more about Lynn and connect with her directly here:

 www.moderndayoga.com

Lakey Peterson on Yoga & Life

Lakey Peterson is one of the world’s leading female surfers. Beyond being a superior athlete, she also has passionate commitments to community and helping the planet. Here Lakey shares some of her insights on wellness, the environment, and what inspires her most. Thanks for taking time to share and for being YOU Lakey!     

How do you think all athletes can benefit from a yoga practice?

I think yoga is such a great way to slow down your mind. Often times as an athlete you are doing so many things in a day from training, interviews, emails, watching footage, surfing (or whatever sport you do) that you forget to just take a moment and breathe. The mind is so powerful and I find in yoga I always finish a class with a clear head and ready to go again.

Do you have a meditation or visualization practice? How does it help your surfing?

Yes! I think that meditation and visualization are so powerful. Your mind is strong and you have to exercise it like the rest of your body.
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Advice on how to stay grounded and healthy while traveling?

After you fly always do some form of exercise. You need to get your blood pumping and sweat out everything. Also, bring your own food on the plane. I never eat plane food. I bring an avocado, apple, nuts and drink a crazy amount of water.

Any insights on how we can all serve the greater good of humanity and the environment?

We really need to be aware of how much plastic we use. It is the biggest issue in today’s world. Start using your own coffee cup in the morning, bring your own forks and knives so you don’t need to use plastic ones, and try to challenge yourself to not buy anything in plastic at the supermarket. Its nearly impossible but really eye opening. Also, when you are out and about pick up five or more pieces of trash every time. All of these things add up, get involved and spread the word. It’s a team effort!

“We really need to be aware of how much plastic we use.”

Tell us about your vision at The Salty Coconut

Its really been a fun project for me. I just want to inspire people to be healthy! It makes life so much better and brings so much happiness to people. So that’s really why I started it. Right now I am really focused on my surfing career and the last 6 months I have realized how much I want to put all my eggs in that basket. So I am actually at a bit of a standstill with the site, but will be a big focus of mine in the future!
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Who have been your greatest life teachers? What inspires you most?

My mom probably. She has a pretty crazy life story and she is still so strong! She always does the right thing. I really think she has taught me the most in life and inspires me a lot.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’ll be 31! Thats crazy! Haha…By that point, I want to have a family. I still will surf for fun of course and hopefully be involved with the industry in some way. I would love to be working a ton with The Salty Coconut then as well, and hopefully building my business in that way and inspiring others.
Lakey’s interests not only lie with surfing. She is an all-around athlete and deeply committed philanthropist, connected to several non-profits that serve the greater good of humanity and the environment. She has raised funds for H4O (Hands4Others) and lakey5worked hands-on in the implementation of their clean water systems in 3rd-World countries. She sits on the Advisory Board for Ocean Lovers Collective and is a spokesperson for the SCA (Student Conservation Association), which is the largest volunteer organization for students in high school and college, to help keep our national parks and trails pristine. Lakey is also deeply passionate about raising awareness and money for children’s cancer and is connected to several children’s hospitals in Southern California. Lakey also has her own yearly surf contest for young kids in her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. She wanted to be able to give kids a chance to experience the ocean from a young age and have a fun day at the beach with family and friends. Last year, close to 250 kids came to the event, with the goal for more and more to attend each year.

CONNECT WITH LAKEY:

Lakey Peterson

The Salty Coconut

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All Article Photos By:  Willie Kessel Photography

Eco Yoga Surf

I met Natalie many years ago surfing at Pavones in Costa Rica. It was a small, but fun day and I remember we saw some dolphins jumping out of the water and she immediately started paddling over to say hello to them. That image stuck with me of how devoted she was to the ocean and her strong connection with nature. Many moons have passed and I am glad to see she is still living her dream of dancing with the waves and practicing yoga energy activism. Thanks for sharing your time and wisdom Natalie!

Tell us how you believe that ecology, yoga, and surfing are related…

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I’ve always been passionate about all three (eco yoga surf), but as time went on I found ways to intertwine them more intrinsically… practicing yoga outdoors or on my SUP I would able to experience a greater sense of nature… through surfing I would have milliseconds of clarity between the waves and uncover layers of mindful meditation to fleetingly relish in the same peace I found flowing through vinyasa on my mat…  I learned to witness my body and my breath, as much as I would other species like dolphins and whales with a curiosity and wonder that expanded into immense gratitude for being alive on this incredible planet.  Everything is connected and I began to learn this truth through my explorations, internally through yoga and externally through surfing and environmental campaigns around the globe. During my recent permaculture studies I was able to break it down and understand things more pragmatically… the planet is our zone 5, the wilderness and the wild that makes up our global habitat; and our body zone 00 the most intimate space in which we inhabit. Yoga is the permaculture of the heart, the tool to enable us to observe ourselves.  Our task is to stay present and rooted in our body, understand our own mind, “know ourselves” and then we can begin to cultivate our garden, drive our vehicle in the right direction and travel between the zones and the edges of this world as consciously and mindfully as possible. The Yoga Farm in Costa Rica was where I first encountered and truly experienced a strong connection between ecology and yoga; it was a turning point being able to practice and teach yoga in the jungle!

What are some challenges that you face as a traveling yoga teacher?

This year I have gone from Jersey to France, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Bali, India and continue onto Sri Lanka then back to Europe.  My biggest personal issue is how my travel impacts the planet.  I am looking for ways to offset all my flights’ carbon emissions and support tree or mangrove planting projects, yet I am still to find one I truly connect with – any ideas!!?  What I take with me also impacts my travels, in India clothing needs to be light and covered up, where as it was still Autumn in NZ, so making sure I have everything I need yet fit it into one bag can make packing rather challenging.  Being grounded, free and personally sustainable is my main focus this year, which can be hard when living a transient life so I am looking for a base now, somewhere to grow veggies and build a home rather than continually travelling.

Can you share some wisdom of how to “travel lightly”?

“Travel lightly” to me means being aware of any kind of baggage – physical, emotional, nat12mental, spiritual – and avoiding collecting any excess along the way!  Being aware of my inputs and outputs, my out-dated beliefs and moving forward with clarity and compassion.  My way is not the high way and respecting the opposing or differing views I am faced with when visiting other countries and cultures is part of the parcel of conscious travel. I feel very privileged to have opportunities in this life like freedom, health and wealth and I travel to expand my knowledge and learn, but what’s the point in doing so with a closed mind and heart? Leave something positive wherever you go – whether it’s a simple smile, learning a few words of the local language or collecting rubbish off the beach –  leave a legacy you can be proud of.  Do something to connect with the local community; I get so much joy out of the weekly kids club for locals at Soul & Surf.  Sharing experiences of how to travel consciously is integral to making us better at it, I am constantly learning and love hearing about other peoples experiences too.

How do you deal with societal pressures that may come from living an “unconventional” lifestyle?

In the past I have perceived societal pressure as something negative, but through facing my own fears and leaving a home and job, I have realized that this was an imaginary barrier I needed to pass through.  It has taken commitment to a positive and healthy mindset, trust in my own heart and values and belief that I can actually create my own lifestyle to get to the other side.  Finding balance in this world when there are so many messages about what we “should” do, how we “should” behave, how we “should” look… well, it’s tough!  It’s a continual navigation with twists and turns to find truth. How I deal with this, is ocean time; solitude – just a little bit, every day and EFT! It is uplifting to meet others on the same path, in fact it is what gives me more energy to continue to explore; and collaboration is the best!

What does YogaRama mean to you?

YogaRama is the infant I am nurturing right now in the context of starting a business.  YogaRama represents connecting with my own power and energy to find my place in the world, something greater than me.  I love the concept of the marriage of Yoga – the yoking of the body and breath to invite spiritual connection and Rama – the deity representing our highest purpose.  This marriage invokes the responsibility I feel to the planet or a greater force. It is through the heightened awareness of the body and breath (yoga) that we are able to feel deeper into our existence (rama) and notice the connections within everything we experience – the patterns to detail; the macrocosm and the microcosm.  It is being more aware of these connections that allows us to expand on so many levels.

Any advice on how to practice living yoga by answering the call to action?

Be open and receptive to “messages”!  I first shifted into activism because I saw photos of pilot whales being killed and it propelled me into taking part in my first protest.  That led on to years of campaigns; with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Surfers Against Sewage, Surfers for Cetaceans and Women for Whales; where the energy of individuals and collectives would help carry me. However, I would also feel drained so I found my way back to yoga to ask some important questions.  Was I living in tune withnatsea my body, or was I exhausted and fighting, coming up against conflict – internally and externally?  I realized I needed more balance and to heal some past wounds, so had to let go of some commitments. Not long ago I asked the question if I could help the planet through teaching yoga. I believed the answer to be YES! So this has helped draw the three themes of surfing, yoga and permaculture together in my mind.  The final piece in the puzzle is how this will manifest as projects or ventures, I visualize myself and the global surf and yoga community stepping up to the plate of environmental custodians, and I’m excited for how this intention unfolds.  As a surfer I have been exposed to so much devastation but I see the land as where the changes need to happen – our physical practices of dealing with food, waste, shelter and water; our mindsets and resistance to change; our outdated systems and linear economy; our disconnection from nature and our food… all this can truly shift towards something more positive.  And every individual has the power to increase the shift by waking up.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How do you balance “living in the moment” while also having goals and growing as a person?

As humans I think we are becoming very good at manifesting our desires and, seeing our goals accomplished helps to reinforce the strength of the ego mind and self power. I am trying to balance my “I want”s and the “doing” with how that can also serve the planet and my community, and being open rather pushing.  And at every step I take a couple of Natalie Foxmoments to address the why behind any intention.  Being playful, joyful and seeing the humor in my unfolding human drama is absolutely essential, for when things don’t turn out as expected or inevitably go wrong.  Surfing always helps me to bring me back down to Earth. Sometimes you catch the wave, sometimes you fall off and sometimes you get the ride of your life!  Understanding the concept of dharma has helped me to transition into doing something I love as a living… so that it feels like I am actually living and growing with every day.  Teaching yoga and surfing energizes me, it fills me up and so it feels right and necessary to do this as a profession.  I hope to study and practice sustainability on a deeper level and find ways to interlock the practices of permaculture into surf and yoga tourism.  Hmmm…. in 10 years time I hope to have a wonderful, supportive partner, a family I have time to enjoy and connect with, a permaculture property overlooking a point break, a yoga studio, a kitchen to indulge in raw chocolate making and be connected to a conscious community of special humans.

What is your definition of happiness?

I feel like happiness can be fleeting and fickle, and there is almost too much emphasis placed on this one emotion when there is a whole spectrum of incredible flavors of feeling we can experience. What I am more intent on now, is being open to the full range of my emotions, not fleeing from my sadness because I cannot handle it, not running nat10toward ecstasy because feeling pain is so scary.  And not hoping my highs will last forever, because nothing is constant in this world and attaching to happiness is like latching onto an ice sculpture in the sun! In the past I have managed to disconnect from and numb my feelings so now I find happiness in simply feeling!  I now also appreciate the lessons that come from the lows and with that acceptance has come a deeper, more stable sense of happiness.  Perhaps this is more like peace, and peace is something I can’t get enough of! Of course, I do love to be happy and appreciate the things that bring me happiness – peeling left hand point breaks; organically grown veggies straight out the ground; raw chocolate; journaling in nature; laughing with my friends; leopard print yoga pants, spending time with my beloved; crafting, creating and designing; diving deep in the ocean and if I’m lucky, sharing space with other sentient beings, especially cetaceans.

Anything else you would like to share…

Just love, light, gratitude and presence 🙂

Natalie Fox

Natalie Fox is a roving surf and yoga instructor, Roxy fitness ambassador, and cofounder of Women for Whales, originally from the UK. She has travelled to Antarctica with Sea Shepherd to protect minke whales, guided surfing on deserted Panamanian islands and taught yoga in the jungle. She is currently the resident yoga teacher at Soul & Surf Sri Lanka, where you can find her teaching an array of classes from Yin to Vinyasa to Quantum Yoga. You can join Natalie for surfing, yoga and SUP adventures in June on her Portugal retreat with Jennifer Moore. Her online portal is EcoYogaSurf.com.

Photo credits:

Surfing Cover Photo:  Robbie Dark
Yoga, Garden, and Bio Photos: Ilona Henne
Kayak Photo: Hilton Dawe (featuring Lauren Hill of @theseakin)
Sea Shepard Photo: Simon Ager

5 Amazing Destinations for Yoga Surf Adventures

Through out our life travels we all meet people that have that “spark”. We also make pilgrimages to places that really make us feel “alive”. Here are 5 places to enjoy the yoga surf lifestyle while also really tapping into connection.  The magic of these destinations does not solely come from the great waves, awe-inspiring yoga spaces, and culinary delights. What makes these places so amazing is the passion, love, hard work, and commitment you can feel from the people who have started and built these havens. Also, these spots all provide the ability to deeply connect with nature, rich cultures, and Earth’s rhythms. These special places and the sustainability-minded people who created them definitely make the world a better place! Take a personal adventure, make time for a group getaway, or lead a memorable retreat at one of these outstanding and heart-expanding locations:

Wheel pose on the beach beside a red longboard surfboard.

 

ENCANTA LA VIDA – Costa Rica

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If you have ever wanted to visit the rainforest, surf, all while enjoying modern comforts, this is the place! Encanta La Vida is a unique jungle lodge situated on the tip of the Osaencanta2 peninsula in southern Costa Rica. The lodge was started over 20 years ago by the adventurous Brian Daily who started coming to Costa Rica in his high school years and grew up exploring and diving at the Channel Islands off the California coast. This place is a bird and animal lovers paradise as seeing monkeys, toucans, and scarlet macaws can be an everyday occurrence. The lodge can accommodate groups of up to 30, and the dreamy yoga deck is an open air studio situated ocean front over looking the bay of Pan Dulce. There are several surf breaks for all levels within walking distance. Other activities include waterfall hikes, horseback riding, or indulging at the lodge’s natural spa. This part of Costa Rica is truly one of the most amazing places on Earth. Experience the Pura Vida!

 

MATANIVUSI RESORT  –  Fiji

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Brian and Donna McDonald from the Gold Coast, Australia founded this boutique eco fijiyogaresort 11 years ago. It is situated on the “coral coast”, the south side of the main island of Fiji. It is a picturesque setting and how one may dream of island life. The hotel is ocean front facing turquoise lagoon waters. They have just finished building a brand new yoga facility which boasts an indoor yoga space and an outdoor yoga deck underneath an amazing banyan tree. They have been involved with the surf industry their entire lives and are passionate about low impact surf tourism. There is boat only access to the reef breaks, which makes the surfing more appealing to intermediate and advanced surfers. When conditions are right, they take day trips to surf the world class break “Frigates”. Other activities include interacting with local Fijian culture such as kava ceremonies, snorkeling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, or lounging by their pool. They have 12 “bures” and can comfortably accommodate groups of up to 24 people.

 

TOGAT NUSA – Mentawai Islands

togatnusaretreat.com

Looking to really go deep and off the grid? Check out this private tropical island sanctuary in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Surfers John and Ainsley Ocean togat2handcrafted this intimate masterpiece mostly by articles found on the island. The retreat is small and takes up to 8 guests at a time, to really give it that feeling of being “shipwrecked”. The entire island can be circumnavigated by foot in about a half an hour. The white sand beaches and crystal clear water make this place heaven on Earth! The Mentawais are renowned by surfers as being a top notch and consistent wave zone. Most of the waves are reached to by boat and best suited for intermediate to advanced surfers. John and Ainsley are true examples of “living yogis”. Their kindness, compassion, and sustainable living practices, inspire everyone they meet to rise up!

 

SURF MAROC – Morocco

surfmaroc.com

Surf Maroc was founded by two British friends, Ben O’Hara and Ollie Boswell, in 2003. maroc2They built this place on their passion for surf. They have a variety of accommodation options, a hip rooftop yoga pavilion, and numerous world class surf breaks to explore for all levels. The famous “Anchor Point” is very close by. There are several breaks within walking distance, and too many breaks to explore by car. But the main attraction for many that are interested in traveling to Morocco is the CULTURE! Taghazout is a gem on the Moroccan coast. It is a laid back village, with an international vibe, funky cafes, and local Berber crafts. Nearby excursions include wandering the souks (open air marketplaces), visiting a hamman (turkish bath), driving to an inland oasis, or checking out tree climbing goats.

 

NIRVANA SURF YOGA – Panama

nirvanasurfyoga.com

Join Captain Bryan Blaze for a surf and yoga adventure like no other. Sail among the San Blas Islands and Boacs Del Toro in the Caribbean aboard a 52 foot catamaran. Practicenirvana yoga onboard or at one of the remote island stops. Bryan is a third generation sailor who has been captaining for over 12 years. He is super tuned in to this region and can take you to surf, kite surf, SUP, or snorkel at numerous secluded spots. There can be surfing found for all levels. He is available to accommodate 4-12 guests with one or two boats. Visit the island populated by the Kuna people, the indigenous inhabitants of the San Blas Islands. Enjoy the consistent trade winds, the wind in your hair, and adventure at sea!

 

 

See your life as a fabulous adventure and live YOUR best life!

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Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

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