Yoga Evolution

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Royal Dancer balance position

In the last year, yoga has come to mean more to me than simply a way to exercise or a way to de-stress. It has become a grounding point for me. The lessons we learn on the mat carry over into life off the mat. The muscle memory we learn in yoga help us when pursuing sports and allows us to perform better, physically. The calming breathing techniques keep us calm in the midst of the crises that bombard our day. Are their times I practice a nice, loud lion’s breath exhale? Admittedly, only in certain company (or no company)! But, it’s the consistent practice and the experience that can keep you as cool as Patrick Swayze in the midst of a massive, ugly bar fight, Roadhouse style.

I have praised the youtube yogi sensation, Yoga with Adriene in a previous blog post. I still follow her and highly recommend her to anyone who is interested in yoga – whether a brand new yogi or an expeirenced one. She is professional, fun, and free. It’s hard to find the time to get out of the house and get to a yoga class. Parents need to take care of their bodies, minds, and souls. We have an incredible job of raising our youngsters, and raising them well. This is perfect!

Right now, I am following Adriene’s new series, True. I love that her dog, Benji, is just hanging out in the video with her. Usually, I have my dog, likewise, sleeping nearby, a little 2-year-old cat rolling around next to me, trying to attack my arms or my mat, and my 3 year old occasionally taking breaks from playing legos and jumping next to me on the carpet wanting to do “his exercise and his yoga.” His downward dog is solid. And what better way can I teach my kiddo a healthy lifestyle than by living it and being an example to him from the get-go?

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My short board praying for bigger waves. Shaped by famous board shaper Ricky Carroll at my friend Cliff Millender’s old surf shop back in da day. B-day gift from my husband seven years ago who bought it from Cliff.

We’re in surf season around here in the northern gulf. Winter/spring kicks up some good storms and some nice waves. Hurricane season will, too, but we don’t have to fear the weather channel right now. I’m a longboard girl, mostly because I started surfing later in life, and I live in Florida, but I’ve ridden my short board, and while I don’t really shred and won’t be trying as a wild card in any major surf competitions at the age of 41, surfing is something I can do the rest of my life, unlike other sports. And yoga supports my surf addiction, love for kayaking, as well as my newfound love for paddle boarding. Yoga helps my balance. I remember to lift up from my center and correct the alignment of my core while paddling. I can control my surfboard and my paddle board better because of my yoga practice and muscle memory. I can run around and play with my son, Mac. I throw a football better! I can help my husband move a piece of moderately heavy furniture. I no longer suffering from lower back issues, like I used to. None of us is getting younger, but we can feel younger in our bodies through the practice of yoga.

Whatever your workout regimen, work in a little yoga. You will not regret it.

Namaste,

J.

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Gulf Coast Surfing

Yes. Yes, you can surf the gulf coast.

I started surfing when I was 30 years old on the East Coast of Florida, Cocoa Beach. I was living in Orlando, 45 minutes from Cocoa Beach, single, and ready to take charge of my life in a brand new way after some personal discoveries. Surfing had been a lifelong dream and taking action was a result of inner change.

For the first time in my life, I now live two minutes from the beach. Two minutes! I still can’t believe it. It’s the result of ten years of hard work and sacrifice by my husband. I am thrilled to live closer to the water, knowing I have more of an opportunity to play on the water. Before we moved over here, I figured I’d get to surf occasionally, when there was a storm in the gulf. In the meantime, I’d learn to paddle board, and I’d body board, play and swim. It’s the ocean – my place of peace on this earth.

My dad grew up in Tallahassee, and I used to hear him tell stories of surfing in the ’60s on the gulf coast. It was always fascinating to me – a dream world of adventure and fun. There was the most exciting story about a shark. Dad was out surfing, and all of a sudden all of his buddies on shore were jumping around and waving at him to come in. He turned and saw the shark and never paddled so hard in his life to get into shore. We talked about surfing together, but being two hours away from the nearest surf ¬†spot before the internet existed made surfing more difficult. Dad taught me how to swim and how to body surf and ride waves; he gave me a strong foundation. He also was thrilled when I started surfing. Unfortunately, he only saw me surf on video since he was in the last years of fighting cancer and we lived 4 hours from each other. That video was of me surfing waves at Big Island, Hawaii. Pretty epic.

Thanks to my friend, Cliff Millender, I surfed the panhandle gulf years before I moved here, but it was when I came up from Orlando and a bunch of us piled in the car and drove together from Tallahassee. The first time I surfed the gulf, it was different surf than East Coast and what I was used to. The waves were more mush than even the east coast. Cliff’s so good, he got barreled several times because he’d been surfing for 12 years or more at the time and got outside to the cleaner waves. I’d been surfing less than a year, then, and I was happy to ride the wash.¬†

A beautiful thing: living here, having the ability to view the beach daily, I know how wrong I was. Again. This place has frequent and decent surf, and I don’t have to wait for storms. With the jetties around, there is almost always a place to catch a wave.


So, if you love to surf and you want to make your home in a beautiful area of the country, don’t forget about Florida’s gulf coast. Pristine, crystal water, friendly folks, and nice waves.

Aloha.