The Mindfulness Found on the Water


4 years ago I was in Mexico + noticed a company that would let you try out SUP boards. I've always had this love of surfing, but no skills, so I decided to give it a go. I put my leash on. I grabbed the paddle & started out on my knees. I paddled a bit, stood up & instantly fell off. I got up, stood up, paddled a few times & then the tide pushed me into the rocks, where I fell off again. I stood up, scraped up & paddled towards shore.

A seed was planted, though. Because I've been wanting a board ever since. Last week, my board finally came in the mail. I chose an inflatable one for portability + the convenience of taking it wherever/whenever. I chose it because the workout of inflating it gets my heart rate up & even more stoked to get out on the water to cool off. 

And I'm in love. I got it Friday + have taken it out 3 times so far. As I was paddling around I realized how calm I focused I mindful I was to every single movement. The rhythm of pushing down + back while in your stroke...the way you switch hands + do the same thing on the other side. If I start thinking too much, or overcompensate in any way, I fall in the water.

Like a lot of things in life, we can learn some valuable lessons when learning new skills + intentionally creating space for growth. There are so many parallels between my meditation/mindfulness practice + SUP boarding...

  • You must stay present or you fall. When you stay laser focused + present to each movement you enter a state of relaxing flow. Productivity (speed) increases, stress releases, you only care about the task at hand. Just like in life. When you're present, you're able to focus on whatever task is at hand + to let go of future worries or past regrets. 
  • You must keep your head up + eyes forward. If you look down, or back, or anywhere other than straight ahead, chances are you're going to lose balance, focus + probably fall (or at least wobble a bit). Keeping your eyes set on the bigger picture helps to ensure you're going where you want to be going + let go of the small stuff.
  • Deep breaths keep you calm + stable. Deep breathing helps in so many ways, but I found myself focusing on my horizon while taking deep breaths in + out. Being out on the water, inhaling the fresh air...I could feel my whole body relaxing into a deep state of bliss. It just feels right + natural to be out there, bobbing on the little waves...slowly paddling at my own pace.
  • The let go. No phone. No beeps. No ads. No politics. No responsibilities. No expectations. No stress. No worries. Being out there, I feel instantly taken to a different world where I have nowhere to be + no time to be there. The let go is refreshing + energetically resetting.

Chances are there's something in your life where you enter into a state of flow + relax. If not, I urge you to play + embrace your inner child until you find whatever it is that let's you relax + check out of the world for a bit. I'd also urge you to try out a SUP board if you never have. I knew I'd be getting a good core/stabilizing workout on my board. I didn't know I'd be getting such a great mind workout as well.