Sunday, November 6, 2011
Being Here Now
I've made it a point not to criticize my surfing and I've grown a lot from giving up the habit of saying "I suck." However, the truth has been that I've watched many a beginner - man, woman and child - stand up on their board their first time out, when it took me more than a year to do the same. So, even though I gave up saying "I suck," I still couldn't help noticing and then scratching my head in puzzlement.
But, eventually, I was standing - not as much as I'd like, but standing nonetheless - and figuring out what I had been doing wrong that I now was doing right. From the beginning, it was clear that it had to do with my legs and how I placed my weight backwards, instead of forwards. Next it became clear that - due to many years of ballet plies - I wasn't squatting properly.
And then - with the help of a friend who is a seasoned yoga instructor - I got the guidance I'd been seeking. Sonya showed me how to properly distribute my weight and build up the leg muscles that had been long overlooked in my ballet and yoga training. After less than a week of practicing the exercises she gave me, I can already feel certain muscles strengthening and certain tendons lengthening.
Aside from its potential for altering my stance on a surfboard, this new posture is altering my stance in the world and the very way I relate to the ground beneath my feet. For as long as I can remember, I have rarely felt "connected" to the earth. Instead, I've felt spacey and as if I might float away. Since I've been focusing on strengthening my adductor muscles and turning my feet straight ahead of me - instead of balletically outwards - I feel more grounded and HERE.
Again and again, surfing teaches me not to underestimate the degree to which our bodily experiences impact our experience of life in general. Our body is not separate from our mind and not separate from our spirit, so how our bodies feel - limber, tight, stressed, relaxed, strong, weak, turned inward, turned outward - has a profound affect on how we feel psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Though the connection may not always be as apparent as it's been for me recently, it's always there.
If you pay attention.