Last week, I was lucky enough to find myself on the beach with a free half hour in which to practice yoga. I've done yoga on the beach before: on a towel, on a surfboard, or straight up on the dry sand. But, I was in the mood to try something different.
This time I stepped to edge of the waves, the place where earth meets ocean and stood in mountain pose. My toes crossed the line between the watery mix and the damp sand drying out from the last wave. Naively, I didn't think it would make much of a difference other than some shifting sand and a splashy chaturanga dandasana if the timing was right.
Then I started moving.
The sand started shifting underneath me a lot faster than I had imagined. Initially, I had a spark of fear and considered scooting away from the water a little bit. But just as quickly it occurred to me how perfect it felt to be attempting to do postures I'd been practicing for almost 13 years on earth that wouldn't hold still. As I tried to root myself into plank, the ocean would steal the sand from between my fingers and I would sink down, until I was left grasping for grounding. The only way to allow more earth to fill in the space was to release my grip and let more wet sand flow into the void. Every time I lifted my leg in downward facing dog to step it forward into warrior, there was a ditch where my foot had been, and when I stepped back, it was full of fresh sand.
As I moved through my flow, I was reminded of how that practice mirrored so much about my life the past fews years. Maybe some of yours as well. How even the simplest actions can feel so much more difficult and challenging when the ground on which we stand is moving out from under us and we can't quite keep up. How much more tiring it is to do even the things we do every day when we don't feel grounded. How much we like to grasp onto things when what we really need is to release them.
It was one of the most invigorating solo flows I have felt in a long time. I felt places of weakness in my body I don't find in regular practice. The shift I experienced was my mirror for life, as always. The water and sand and shifting earth brought awareness to the places where I lack strength, and exposed areas that need my attention; not just physically but also mentally, emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually.
So as we move further into summer, no matter what our challenges are, the nature of what we face, or where we are practicing our yoga, may we all allow ourselves to feel our weaknesses.
Let's lean into challenge and release what is not needed to allow the new to flow in.
During uncertainty capital T Truth can be found. Peace and rootedness is anchored within even when the ground may be constantly shifting underneath.
About the author:
Amanda Dees is a mother, dance teacher, yoga instructor, and dreamer. Her classes offer heart and hope wrapped inside a steady physical practice. Take class with her online with Practice Everywhere or in-studio at Honest Soul Yoga in Northern Virginia.