I’m often asked “what do you like about Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)?” It is a great question and one that I love as it helps me to move from the passion in my heart, joy in my body and elation in my spirit into the words that express it. To be honest it can be challenging for me to express in words those feelings of heart, body and spirit. Finding those words that might give the person asking me “why” an understanding is often even more challenging when they have never experienced SUP.
Have you ever had that experience? Have you been asked to express something that is so visceral that words can only begin to interpret the experience? Or maybe it is being so kinesthetic that we are less verbal and visual in our experiences and that makes it a difficult task to bring words to it.
I feel my experiences more than see or hear them. My spirit is right there with me on the board, cheering me on to embrace the beauty, to challenge the skills of the body and mind, and to care for the environment around me.
There is such a deep sense of honor that I feel when I’m standing on the water, gliding across her, or riding her forces in waves and currents. I respect all that power that Mother Nature has and feel privileged to harness it in such a loving experience. To catch the wind on my back on a downwind ride, while feeling a wave pulling me through the water is amazing. No ride at Disney compares to it for me.
Digging in when I’m challenged by wind, current, or the miles I’m putting in sparks the warrior spirit in me. I feel the “I can do this” spirit strong in me at those points, and the rush of that spirit kicks up something long-lasting in me. Hours after I have paddled, my energy and spirit continues to soar even though it would make sense that I would be feeling tired after the exertion of the ride.
Spending all that time on the water has raised my consciousness about what a gift our waterways and oceans are. It seems to be a gift that many take for granted. The lack of consciousness in others concerns me, as over the years of being out on the water, sailing or paddling, I have seen a tremendous decrease in the health of the waters I paddle. I do what I can in clearing the trash and plastic I find while on the water or along the shoreline. At the same time I look for ways to raise others consciousness about the gifts we will miss if we don’t start taking care of our seas, rivers, and lakes. We live in an ecosystem that is all about connection. If one part becomes “sick” it affects the rest of the system. Your litter does make a difference, so dispose of it properly, use less plastic and spread the word! Clean water to enjoy recreationally is something I hope to pass down for many generations.
My yoga practice off the mat is ever present for me on the board. Starting with the breath, always the breath, I am connected to the waves, the stroke and the wind through my breath. Of course the agility, balance and strength I have from my yoga practice is an asset but it is the spirit and mind’s practice that I feel alive during a paddle. Being present on the board is an aptitude I recognize I have gained over the years of practicing yoga. Then there is the mindfulness that slips off the yoga mat and rides with me on the board. It is the mindfulness that helps me keep a clear mind and uplifted spirit, not to mention the cheerleading I get in being mindful each moment. If I start to feel a bit of lagging in my physical or mental experience it is in that mindful moment I switch gears, dig in and look at ways to be uplifted.
Often how I answer that question about why I like SUP is usually this; “It is the closest I’ll every get to walking on water.” The elation I get when I go places I have never been to by boat before(sailing or other) is irreplaceable. The inner goddess of adventure is enlivened every time I get on my board on a new waterway, or go to discover new places. For me that is the spark that keeps on giving! I am like the character Forrest Gump, I want to just keep on going! See you around that next island.
posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016. follow responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.