“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy
There’s something about water that draws us in. The vista of a lake; the intimacy of a pond. Even a puddle can entice the temptation to connect with water. We have water features incorporated into landscape designs, swimming pools and jetted spas. So it’s no surprise that a barrier island, with six miles of white sand beaches, enveloped by the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is a popular destination.
People come to our island home for respite, relaxation and vacation, but it’s the water and the beaches that magnetize the soul. The calming rhythm of gentle waves; the cascade of sand between your toes; and sunsets that explode color and emotion that no photograph can fully convey. To me, there is no better place to feel at one with nature, and Mother Earth, and be grateful to my very core that I am alive in the moment. And no location could be a better partner for the peace-seeking practice of yoga.
On Sunday, October 30th, Marco Island Yoga held its second Beach Yoga Event at South Beach in an act of gratitude for the opportunity to share our passion for the mind/body connection in this incredible location. With the support of Katie O’Hara at the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce and Samantha Malloy from the City of Marco Island, we have raised nearly $1,000 this year. The proceeds are used to educate our community and visitors of the importance of good beach stewardship. Our first two events this year inspired practiced yogis, regular beach class patrons, and individuals brand new to yoga to commence on the mat for a shared practice and expression of gratitude. From an instructor’s point of view, it’s both humbling and inspiring to reach out to a diverse mix of like-minded spirits and connect through the power of yoga. But more important, it is crucial to draw attention to the fact that as humans we are all visitors to this pristine paradise, and we must continue to protect and respect the beach home of its natural inhabitants.
Using some of the proceeds of our beach fundraiser, the local Beach Advisory Committee put together a pamphlet to distribute locally with “Eight Ways You Can Help Love Our Beach.” Here they are:
Never, ever litter. And if you see litter on the beach, pick it up.
Share the beach with wildlife. The beach is home to many protected species, including turtles and shorebirds who rest and nest near the water. Never disturb or feed the wildlife.
Before you leave, level the sand. If you build a sandcastle or dig a hole for an umbrella, fill the spaces and knock down the sandy towers that can be dangerous obstacles for wildlife and for people who walk the beach.
Never remove live shells. Even the smallest seashell can be home to an equally tiny critter.
Keep off the dunes. The grassy borders between the beach and the buildings are home to native plants and other wildlife, and also function as an erosion protection barrier.
Leave your pooch at home. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches of Marco Island. And bicycles must stay in the designated bike racks at the beach entrances.
Never bring glass to the beach. Broken glass is a danger to both humans and wildlife.
Join in a beach clean up. Each month the Beach Advisory Committee holds a beach clean up. Everyone is welcome, no experience necessary.
There is something about water that is mesmerizing. For me, it quiets my mind and fills my senses with a powerful potion of calm. I can sit in the sand and stare out at the Gulf without tiring of the sight, sound, smell and feel of its majesty. And as I attempt to contain the sensation of serenity it provides, I vow to continue to show my gratitude through my words and my actions.
Thank you to everyone who joined Marco Island Yoga through your efforts, your practice and your donations. Together we showed our gratitude and respect for this beautiful beach, its inhabitants and its visitors.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.