Two weeks from today I will be completing SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) Yoga Teacher Training with Bliss Paddle Yoga in San Diego, CA. I am beyond grateful for this beach getaway and yoga experience — therapy for my body, mind, and spirit! 🌊
“All of us have in our veins the same exact percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean.” ~ John F. Kennedy
There is much we can learn from the ocean as we have a similar inner landscape within us as well.
Like us, the sea is ever-changing. And, like us, the earth’s vast oceans appear at a distance to be stable and homogenous. But beneath the mask of solidity that both we and the sea wear, there lies unpredictability, sensitivity, and power. There is much we can learn from the ocean, representative as it is of our inner landscapes. The rough sounds of the sea’s waves are spiritually soothing, and its salt can purify our physical selves. Yet not everyone has the luxury of living by the shore or even visiting the coastlines where water and land meet. The ocean, however, exists in our conscious minds, put there by images we have seen and descriptions we have read. Wherever we are, we can access that mental image and use it as the starting point from which we can help to heal our emotions by meditating on the sea.
To begin, gather together any ocean artifacts you may have on hand. Seashells, a vial of sand, beach glass, stones rubbed smooth by the pounding surf, or a recording of ocean sounds can help you slip more deeply into this meditation, but they are not necessary. Sit quietly and visualize the ocean in your mind’s eye. Allow all of your senses to participate in your mental journey. Feel the tiny grains of sand beneath your feet and the cool spray of mist. Hear the sea’s rhythmic roar as the waves meet the beach and retreat. Smell the tang of salt in the air. Watch the sun’s rays play over the ocean’s surface, creating shifting spots of teal, cerulean, cobalt, and green. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins or whales frolicking in the waves — they are there to assist you. Spend a few minutes drinking in the ocean’s beauty and appreciating its vast splendor.
Once you are fully engaged with the setting before you, visualize yourself sitting on the beach, facing the ocean, and watching the waves advance and retreat. As each new wave of seawater approaches, imagine it carrying healing energy toward you. Just as the ocean’s tides sweep the shores free of detritus [debris], restoring balance, so can the waves in our mind’s eye cleanse our souls of what no longer serves us. ~ Waves of Healing, by Madisyn Taylor
Our intention for this week is to feel more peaceful, centered, light, and carefree — renewed in our body, mind, and spirit — as if we have spent the day at a beautiful beach. In Yoga Nidra we practice the fifth limb of yoga, PRATYAHARA, which means sense withdrawal. It is the ability to turn our attention inward, so we are focusing on our center, internalizing the benefits of our yoga practice. It can also be described as drawing the senses closer internally. Feeling our senses, observing them, and gazing at the mystery of everything inside ourselves — with love and compassion — rather than with lack and judgement. As we touch that open presence, we touch our deepest source of strength, and are renewed.
What helps you feel peaceful, renewed, and balanced?
Make this a priority, and create a personal intention around this idea.
Cease striving, and know ALL things are working together for good. Allow yourself to trust, have faith, and fully let go of stress, tension, and anxiety. Everything is happening exactly as it is supposed to, with hidden blessings you will soon understand. ❤️
Imagery Script: The Beach
For a few moments allow yourself to take several nice, long, deep breaths. Notice the cool air coming in, filling your lungs, and the soothing warm air going out. Just let all your thoughts float away as you bring your attention to your breathing… in and out.
You might mentally scan your body and notice if you’re holding any tension in your muscles. If you are, just gently let all that tension melt away with every out breath. Bring your attention to your breathing, in and out… in and out… let yourself feel more and more comfortable right where you are.
In your mind’s eye you see yourself descending down a long, narrow, wooden stairway towards a beautiful, inviting beach. Your bare feet feel the rough weathered steps, and with each step, you feel more and more tension gently melting away from your body.
As you continue down the stairway, you notice how the bright white sand stretches down the shoreline as far as you can see. The ocean is a deep shade of blue with the fine white crests of the waves sweeping towards the shore. You reach the end of the stairway and step down, sinking into the warm soothing sand. As you rub the sand lightly between your toes, a soothing sensation of relaxation gently melts through your entire body. The roaring sounds of the sea’s surf, the waves crashing over each other, calms your mind and allows you to feel even more relaxed.
You begin walking slowly towards the edge of the water and notice the warm sun on your face and shoulders. The salty smell of the sea air invigorates you, and you take in a deep breath… breathe slowly out… and feel more relaxed and refreshed. Finally, you reach the water’s edge and you gladly invite the waves to flow over your toes and ankles. You watch the waves glide smoothly towards you, gently sweeping around your feet, and the trails of sea water that flow slowly back out again. The cool water feels soft and comforting as you enjoy a few moments allowing yourself to gaze out on the far reaching horizon. Overhead, you notice two seagulls gracefully soaring high above the ocean waters, and you can hear their soft cries becoming faint as they glide away. And all of these sights, sounds, and sensations allow you to let go and relax more and more.
After a moment, you begin strolling down the beach at the water’s edge. You feel a cool gentle breeze pressing lightly against your back, and with every step you feel yourself relaxing more and more. As you walk down the beach you notice the details of sights and sounds around you, and soothing sensations of the sun, the breeze, and the sand below your feet.
As you continue your leisurely walk down the beach, you notice a colorful beach chair resting in a nice peaceful spot where the powdery soft sand lies undisturbed. You approach this comfortable looking beach chair, then you sit down, lie back, and settle in. No one to be. Nothing to do.
Your heart, soul, and intuition are illuminated…
The sun (Son) reflects deep truths…
Listen now to the messages within…
Whole-heartedly trust this inner guidance.
Be encouraged and inspired.
You take in a long deep breath, breathe slowly out, and feel even more relaxed and comfortable resting in your chair. For a few moments more, let yourself enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful day on the beach. And, when you feel ready, you can gently bring your attention back to the room, still letting yourself feel nice and comfortable right where you are. ☀️
(Adapted from American Holistic Nurses Association: Guided Imagery)
Heaven by C. JoyBell C.
The sun has an ocean.
An ocean so deep, vast and blue.
And on these eternal waters I float.
And while I float, I can hear the seagulls nearby.
Heaven has come down to earth for me.