April 26, 2010

Echo The Dolphin, Echo's of Sharks.

As I look down the barrel of my final week here many emotions surface. One of them is and has been fear. As a yoga teacher in the making, or a yoga teacher already being, fear is part of our vocabulary to overcome. One of the fears I overcame today was that of swimming with sharks. My teacher Michaelle, Cree, her boyfriend Kabien, Heidi and myself along with Captain Brad (who was awesome, thanks Brad) took a boat to the Nepali Coast today. Wow. Just getting into the water and going out into the bay in the very small, but humble vessel had me worry about the ocean, the great unknown, right?

That quickly passed but as we talked about swimming with dolphins my fear of sharks showed up, it was right there. 'To get into the ocean, not near a beach and swim in it!? Really!??' It just scares me. So, of course we're about an hour into the trip, about 8:00 am and a huge pod of dolphins are swimming our way. Everyone gets so excited, Heidi is freaking out ecstatic. I'm the last one in the ocean. I almost didn't make it in. I actually thought for a second, "it's not a big deal to swim with them, I can see them fine from right here and this alone is amazing."

But one of my mantras of late has been "go towards the fear." Once I brought that into my being, well-that was it. I couldn't let this opportunity go by. Brad dug out the last pair of goggles sans snorkel and I could only do what there was to do: jump in. Once I was in, fear left and the excitement of experiencing a new opportunity came over me in, well-a wave. It was amazing. I mean, first of all- the sharks.Tthere were no sharks of course or I would be talking about that WAY along time ago. But of course the presence of them was there, but only for a minute, and it wasn't fear. I was more like a peaceful awareness. 'The sharks have the WHOLE ocean to swim in and it's not like every time I get into the water they will be there.' That was one thought. The other was, 'sharks don't like to eat people,' and it's true, they don't. I have a myriad of information on this which I won't tell you about now, but ask me later because it's super interesting. 

Looking under the Persian Blue waters and seeing Blue Dophins play and make their way along the coast was as connected to the ocean and its' life I have ever been a part of. Well, second best. Diving the Great Barrier Reef 25 feet under takes the cake. But this experience was different. It was more raw. It was about me swimming in the ocean with the newly discovered fear of sharks that I noticed since coming to Hawaii. There were only 6 of us and no gear, no guns or spears to protect us. It was us and them: them being the everything else that exists in marine life. This pod of dolphins was huge. Maybe 50 dolphins coming in droves of 10 and 12 at a time. It was a rare encounter, one only hopes for. I can still see them swimming together so gracefully together, so peaceful. The sharks in my mind have left. And I can fully own that my relationship with the ocean has forever transformed. 

Fitting too, because on this last week of yoga teacher training a transformational experience occurred as only they can when practicing yoga. Yoga happens off the mat, not just in the studio. Take what you learn in class or in any arena of practice you gain spirituality in, and take it out into the world. For yourself and others.

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