Yoga on the beach comes with some difficulties.
I wandered down to the beach right before sunset, not sure what we were filing down the hill for, but knowing the sun over the waters of Playa Guiones is remarkable and a necessity for each day at Blue Spirit Resort. When I arrived, Tommy Rosen was organizing the retreat members along the beach for a class.
He led us through a few sun breaths, warriors and a sweet triangle right in the sand. I always find beach yoga a bit messy. It’s difficult to push into the outside of your back foot when that action moves the sand. There is little grounding in wide leg poses, but rather, a fluidity. So I took the opportunity to rise up, lifting up from the sand through my core to open into the poses.
We were, after all, headed for a Kundalini moment.
Inhale—reach up, exhale—swing your arms down and around. Vinyasa between ardha-uttanasana (standing half forward bend) and uttanasana (standing forward bend). This practice is said to clear the energy surrounding our physical body so our inner light might shine brighter. Bright and refreshed, we sat on the sand and shook our arms and hands, Tommy smiling the entire time, looking thrilled to be here and with us.
Ah, sweet life.
After a beautiful cleansing practice, we settled into what was meant to be a gorgeous moment of meditation on the beach, at sunset, being led by our happy teacher. But wait, there were bugs. Mosquitoes. Lots of them. Sitting on the sand, my skin began to crawl. I could not sit still, I couldn’t close my eyes. I swatted, I smacked, I shook. Removing the bugs one by one, getting bitten once or twice. All the while the tide was rushing in, getting closer and closer, inches from my sarong. I worried for a moment what my teacher might think—that I am distracted, that I can’t meditate, that like some of my students in meditation, I am refusing to close my eyes.
So, I reviewed my choices: let the bugs bite, or continue to wiggle. Close my eyes and worry, or open them and watch the water. I opted for the latter in both instances. I came to terms with my wiggling, no longer thinking of how I “should” be still. I opened my eyes and watched each wave as it magically moved in and out.
The effect was tremendous. Although seemingly a bit torturous (always my chosen path to enlightenment), it did exactly what we were aiming to do—breathe and be present, for this moment, for this sunset, with ourselves. I was aware of every inch of my body, each breath and the exact location of each wave coming in towards me. Similar to meditating in New York City with sirens blaring, my mind did not have a chance to wander to the past or future, but had to be perfectly present, enjoying the singular moment with my yoga family on the shores of the pacific.
The sun set, we exhaled, we were one.
Corti Cooper is a yogini and a designer, a traveler of the world, and a determined seeker of learning. Through art and yoga, Corti explores the planes of reality, deconstructs the rhetoric of cultures and looks for the essence of happiness. Here are a few of her adventures, out of context, out of bounds, for humans. When home, Corti runs a small design studio, and teaches vinyasa flow yoga in the well-manicured and always mannerly, Connecticut USA. Her personal practice consists of breath work and a daily walking meditation with her sweet pup, Amarella.