Practicing Center in Surfing Sand

As yogis and humans, like it or not, we are always practicing finding center.  Soulfully and neurologically, both consciously and unconsciously we strive to keep some grasp on that grounding sensation of being that balances and holds us together as the world shifts around and through us. Today, my center was tested; not so much in the spiritual soulful way but in reality, really biomechanically physically tested.

 I found myself on a remote island in southern Thailand, and decided it was a good day to practice yoga with the surf. I situated myself right at that ever changing boundary of sand and sea…. right on the edge.  I felt the tide creep in, the bubbles caress my toes, and the sand beneath me shift with every passing wave. I inhaled, exhaled, and found my Tadasana …… and lost it…. and found it…. and lost it….

Whoahh! ….. Crazy! I was dizzy! I grounded my feet, spread my toes, and pressed all four corners of my feet into the sand only to find myself in the next instant gripping with my toes and fearfully holding onto the world with all my might. The harder I tried to find and maintain balance, pressing into the shifting earth attempting to gain control; the less control I had. In human nature, I fought to hold onto my world as my world threw me off balance. I began to feel brittle, frustrated, helpless and lifeless. My skin closed in. My breath stopped. I strained to keep some sense of center. Again and again, I fell against my will.

 Now, as a rule of my practice, if it stops feeling good, I stop doing it! Falling continually out of balance does not feel good…. at least it did not in that moment; so   I stepped aside, sat down in the wet sand, and allowed myself a moment of contemplation.

 My mind wandered to the principles of LIFEYOGA, and some crazy thoughts about the causal forces of center. I began thinking in a very literal way about how the physical body is able to simply stand in this world. “Why do we stand? What causes the body to be able to stand on a beach of shifting sand? Where does the energy to stand come from? What is “energy” and how does this energy move through the neurological system to tell the body to stand up and the feet to ground down?  How does the nervous system perceive standing, grounding and feeling of center? Finally, how does this perception affect one’s ability to stand in shifting sand?”

Now, crazy yogi that I am, I probably sat there for countless minutes contemplating my contemplations. I won’t bore you with the gory anatomical and neurological complexities that passed through my mind in those moments, but I will tell you this….

Just as the sun was setting, I gave it up. I stood up and faced the ocean. I took in a deep breath of salty air. The sun dropped as I watched the rolling waves crash on the shore and I smiled at the beautiful light as it played with the little bubbles that caressed my toes, and then…….

Suddenly….I felt myself in Tadasana, released….just being a human being standing, centered on the earth. There in release and the perception of it against all odds, I stood…. strong and powerful. Magically I grew strong out of the ever changing sands of the world until…..


I noticed how cool my Tadasana was and immediately toppled over into the surf !!!

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