I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. ~ Maya Angelou
When I lived in Iowa I taught my first yoga classes. Our studio was in a city recreational building, much like our YMCA here. Interest in yoga was just beginning to blossom in my Iowa hometown, and like many, I was inspired by the potential “work out” I might receive through yoga, while completely oblivious to the spiritual aspects of the practice.
I’ve heard it said that when you begin to instruct a class, no matter what your training is, you have to stink at it before you can shine. Looking back I realize that I put forth my best effort at that time, but I’m pretty sure I stunk. However, when it came to bringing awareness inside and creating a calm atmosphere, at least I was on the right track. I remember having students settle in to their mats with their eyes closed and I would tell them to visualize being on a beautiful beach. I suggested they imagine the sound of the waves against the shore, and the smell of salt air. Just to be fair, that little visualization took quite a bit of imagination when you realize that our mats lay on a wooden floorin rural Iowa, where the temperature hovered around freezing and the only sounds from outside were the howling of a frigid winter wind.
Fast forward to the present and here we are, practicing yoga on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The sound of the surf, the smell of salty air, and the warmth of the sun are integrated into each yoga practice. We are truly one with our world when we lay our mats in the sand and stand in Tadasana facing the Gulf of Mexico. Studio yoga certainly has its benefits, but yoga on the beach is an experience in the wonders of the world around us. One moment in time. One being on the mat. One full connection to the Earth. One breath at a time. We see dolphin playing, we watch storm clouds gather. We shake sand from our faces and caterpillars from our mats. We see the full moon set; we feel the sun rise. Night after night we experience sunsets over the Gulf horizon that take our breath away. And during each beach practice, we experience long moments of gratitude for where we are standing and breathing and listening and looking.
So, in the spirit of giving, and with hearts full of gratitude, my fellow instructors and I would like to give back to our beautiful beach studio. OnSunday, January 3rd we are hosting a Yoga Event at the South Beach access. All proceeds for the day will go to the local Beach Advisory Committee to be used to educate children in our community of the importance of beach stewardship. We plan to have a group yoga practice that will be friendly to beginners, to practiced yogis, and to everyone in between. Families and children, accompanied by adults, are encouraged to join us. There will be activities for any young people not interested in yoga and you’ll have the opportunity to meet the members of the local Beach Advisory Committee who work to keep our beach clean and safe for all creatures who live on it, and all humans who visit.
Please join us on January 3 at 9:00 AM. We will set up just south of the South Beach Access. Bring a yoga mat, or a beach towel. Bring your family and your friends. Bring your open mind, your grateful heart, and your donation to the Beach Advisory Committee. You will leave with sand in your pockets, kindness in your heart and peace at your very core.
Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.