Mindfulness: Life with Purpose

Sometimes a message just hits home – for me it was a yoga class about 2 years ago. A quote, right timing and a curiosity for “present moment awareness” set me on an adventure I called “Power of Presence SUP,” meditations to hear while paddling. It’s funny – once you become aware, the signs, lessons, energy and path that’s right seem to open wide.

Often on a long paddle the rhythm of the water and the movement set my mind adrift. Other times, it sets my mind on fire. After a fantastic TEDx Women Bend conference last week – it was on fire! Stories are me! And this was a day of harnessing our own story, beginning with, “What is life asking me to do now?” Through exploration of inspiration, intuition and insight we can create the story (and the path) that’s right for us, right now.

Our story can begin much like the conference began – with poetics of authenticity. Krayna Castelbaum dazzled us with poetry selections that left me with this message, “A new beginning of the heart is waiting for you to be ready to emerge.” That’s solid enough to grapple and gnaw on for a 4-5 mile paddle on a sunny day.laird-hamilton-quote

fogturnOr maybe when the surf looks daunting the phrase she shared, “Learn to find ease in risk,” could be very valuable.

Poetry. I haven’t really immersed in the rhythm and wisdom, rhyme and heart of poetry for a long while. My poetry is in the water, waves, currents and wind.

I am inspired to give time to poetry, to the bold words of others stoked on life lived boldly and with heart. Thank you Krayna for sharing. And the next time I get crushed by a shorebreak and finally grab my board to paddle out again I can be grateful with these words resonating, “Courage kindled and you stepped out eyes young again.” jaws-ed1

Mindfulness, meditation and the gift of poetry on the water.

 

Power of Presence: SUP and Meditation

As more and more attention is given to the practice of meditation, we come to realize where the magic begins. The power within meditation begins with breath awareness. Have you had that moment in a yoga class when you follow a breath all the way to an open heart – and that still moment at the top – then followed the exhale with full awareness? That’s just one opportunity for the power of presence.

SUP Meditation: Presence on the water

Traditional meditation practiced while seated provides a rich opportunity to calm our mind-body and bring a new mindful presence and balance to life.  For those of us who find a sense of meditative calm while on the water, a unique practice called “Power of Presence SUP” or P2SUP can allow us to meditate while enjoying our favorite pasttime. cropped-p2sup_logo_v2_vert_250-300x300

It’s easy to head out for a paddle and become scatter-brained and defocused. Thoughts of work/relationship/life problems, busy-ness and plans chatter through our mind. With P2SUP guided meditations, anyone can enjoy a mindful and present meditation practice while standup paddling – from the very first session. (Learn more here)

Have you ever started out on a paddle ready for calm and realize you’ve got a monkey-mind along for the ride? The monkey mind bounces around from one thing to another. It is as if we are on an out of control horse, heading to the nearest cliff.  Our senses and emotions become reactive, not reflective.

 

Breathing Meditation: Enjoy a P2SUP experience (give us 15 minutes)

pc201522The goal of meditation is to diminish the self into focus and mindfulness so we can be free, compassionate (with ourselves and others) and discover stress-free calm.

 

SUP has a great effect to calm the mind. Even while paddling our ability to pay attention is sometimes degraded by the fast pace of our modern world. Before a training paddle, or one that is simply being out on the water, taking time to pay attention and practice a p2SUP meditation is the key to this end. Our sport provides us with many opportunities to meditate. p2SUP can be your guide as you develop your own practice over time.

Explore More:

We invite you to Live Presence and Share Presence.

Introduction to P2SUP

The Basics of P2SUP

How Do I Begin?

Why Walk On Water?

7 Reasons to P2SUP

The Birth of P2SUP

Explore, “All SUP is Yoga.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day: SUP Magic

The day before we planned to head off on a 3-day camping trip – a trip with rain predicted at 90% the entire time (and 50 degrees) – I took a yoga class. This was not just any yoga class. It was the noon “Rejuv” taught by the brilliant, cool and gifted Cynthia LaRoche (GrooveYogaBend).  As she does so well, Cynthia led us through our restorative poses with wisdom and humor. Somewhere in the midst of it all she said something to the effect, “let what you don’t like be the teacher.” That was not the theme of the class, or even a large part of the message – but that is what resonated for me. clear4

I was going in to three days of camping in the rain with an attitude as bleak as the weather report.  For the most part, i do not like rain. Give me those blue sky days any time.  I was the prime example of what Sorine Cerin (Wisdom Collection: The Book of Wisdom) said, “Rain drops are not the ones who bring the clouds.”

clear5It was time for me to switch gears, be grateful for the opportunity of three days with friends, in the outdoors and in an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It was time for me to be open, to learn from what I basically did not believe that I liked.

Dana Arcuri says it so well, “The more you are grateful for what you have the more you can live fully in the present.”  That is my life journey, so practicing gratefulness and celebrating the present moment whatever it might be became my roadmap for the weekend. clear-lake-spring

What a gift!  In a 43 degree drizzle I dropped my husband and two buddies off to play golf and headed to Clear Lake, OR for a morning of paddling.  The experience was beyond expectation (what a truth) and a powerful lesson.

As Louise Erdich said, “I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms.”  From the light mist that welcomed my first paddle stroke, to the chilly downpour mid-paddle. Solitude and stillness, lush greens and every imaginable blue created magic.clear2

And guess what. The sun actually came out!

This post is a re-post of my story originally on my “Power of Presence” blog – meditations for SUP and Walking. Much mahalo to KIALOA and Sweet Waterwear for supporting P2SUP from the beginning.

Enjoy the video of the experience here: If you want to enjoy our P2Walk meditation, “Walk with Gratitude” explore this link.

Kialoa Paddles: Po’okela, Laulima and Malama

Over the years Elder SUP has shared stories about people, places and events. We have enjoyed adventures and “talked story” with some incredible athletes and SUP-pers. For me, each outing on the water was powered by one KIALOA paddle or another – from the Gerry Lopez designed Hulu GL race and surf, to the Tiare adjustable (designed specifically for women) and many more. Recently, as we developed the “Power of Presence SUP” (P2SUP) program of guided meditation for SUP, we needed great boards to share with participants. Fortunately, our timing coincided exactly with KIALOA Paddles’ launch of two great new inflatable boards. (Spoiler Alert: One of the coolest videos you will see is at the end of this article)

KIALOA has built innovative Outrigger, Dragon and SUP paddles for over 24 years. Their mission, according to Jim MIller, KIALOA’s director of new business development, has expanded as ,”producing the best products for paddlers through innovative design, selective materials and a lean manufacturing process.” This summer they unveiled the inflatable Waikiki and Napali which join the initial soft top Aloha.

clinic5As we build our newest business here at Elder SUP we looked for sponsor support from companies with a mission and culture aligned with ours. We were fortunate to have the support of Sweet Waterwear – and KIALOA Paddles. We admire and respect the way KIALOA employees live like they paddle following the guiding principles of their core values: Po’okela (excellence), Laulima (teamwork), and Malama (stewardship). We aspire to have these same qualities drive our decisions and actions as we grow P2SUP.  Just as the KIALOA team appreciate those who have helped them along the way, we appreciate KIALOA and wish them all the best.

julia1stMeanwhile, it’s time to get out on the water on our 12’6″ infalatable KIALOA Napali. My favorite young paddling buddy, Julia, joins me on the Aloha soft top. We are out to have some “clean up the river” fun. IMG_2856[1]

This article would not be complete without a story from KIALOA’s own, Meg Chun. Here is the story that goes with this amazing video example of the spirit that drives the people and the company.

TEAM KIALOA 2015 from FocalBoxProductions on Vimeo.

Butterflies, Big SUP Event and Breath

Anticipation or fear of the "what if" in an event might de-rail our joy and anticipation

Anticipation or fear of the “what if” in an event might de-rail our joy and anticipation

Each day we have a choice as to how to spend our time and energy.  Often our time is planned so that we can fulfill responsibilities and carve space for our “my time.” When we choose to include a SUP event as part of our practice, we set goals and design a training plan. It seems clear and straight-forward, right?

There’s always something that comes up – our time can get segmented, pulled in many directions and we might procrastinate away some paddle opportunities because of (fill in the blank).

We might spend the months before an event we registered for with great anticipation and excitement being influenced by less than confident thoughts or fears,  It might not be a lack of time, focus or discipline that de-rails our intention. We might simply need a reminder  to inhabit each moment, rather than being led around by our thoughts and focus on our fears.

Training to the next level is attainable when we are present - and aware of our breath

Training to the next level is attainable when we are present – and aware of our breath

Framing an event as an opportunity to “learn” rather than being forced into expectation or agenda can be refreshing.  Yes, when we stay in our comfort zone or wander away from challenges it is much easier to live in the moment. The real opportunity for learning or growth comes when you reach and stretch, when outcomes could be way different from what we would have chosen or preferred.

Plan a training session, plan something that will lead you toward your goals and set out to do it. During that session be aware, be present. Do you want to flee when things get tough? Do you fear you can’t complete a speed, a distance or a challenge? Notice when fear takes over your ability to be present.

One of the best tools that can help us stay more present is our breath.  When we are stressed or in our fears, our focus is most certainly not on breathing.  We often hold our breath when we get anxious or frustrated.

Take a moment to return to your breath and awareness when needed

Take a moment to return to your breath and awareness when needed

It is fine to interrupt a training session and bring your attention or focus back to your breath. Something happens when you consciously bring your awareness to each and every breath.   This has an amazing way of shifting our energy and bringing it into the present…even if that moment is very challenging.  You may still feel your fear or whatever it is that took you out of the present, but you are taking action to return to being calm, strong and present.

You will discover what you need in order to focus on your breath. You will develop a stronger mind-body connection. One way might be to close your eyes and shift your attention to your inhale and exhale.  Allow them both to lengthen.  Keep your focus there for as little as 20 or 30 seconds and see how that changes your energy.  Many of the POWER OF PRESENCE SUP (P2SUP) audio programs provide a meditation designed to hone your skills for being present and focusing on breath.  These are powerful tools for both training, competing and – life.

Image by Melanie Weidner (http://www.listenforjoy.com/)

Image by Melanie Weidner (http://www.listenforjoy.com/)

Be Present and Breathe

The abundance of SUP Yoga classes provides a wonderful opportunity to take your yoga practice outside, beyond the walls of your studio – and possibly beyond the walls of what you think you may be able to achieve in your practice.

SUP yoga is asana practiced on 10- to 12-foot-long boards in an ocean bay, a glassy lake, even a slow-moving river. Water-loving yogis have embraced SUP yoga as a practice that brings a sense of joyful freedom to an otherwise earth-bound yoga practice.

In Power of Presence SUP (P2SUP) our mission is to connect a physical practice, standup paddling, to a non-physical practice that can guide you toward cultivating true presence.

In the Western world many think of yoga as purely a physical practice, or a fitness routine.  The word “yoga” has many definitions, among them “to come together,” “to unite,” and “to tie the strands of the mind together.”  In The Heart of Yoga, TKV Desikachar (son of renowned yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer, and scholar, Tiramulai Krishnamacharya) discusses the physical and non-physical aspects of yoga, which we use to cultivate true presence.  By focusing inwardly and connecting breath with movement, we unite our mind, body, and breath.

P2SUP can guide you to be more present with your moment-to-moment experience.  Rather than getting lost in thought or exertion, you will begin to experience SUP as a moving meditation more fully.

zenP2SUP will guide your training so you will be able to focus on the breath. Without a certain level of awareness, your mind will follow thoughts around haphazardly as you paddle. It’s through the breath that we cultivate our ability to stay present.   P2SUP can elevate your paddling experience. Too often we are on auto-pilot. P2SUP will cultivate your ability focus your awareness.

When your awareness is not powered by “presence,” you miss out on many important and helpful messages from the body, because you aren’t “here” to receive them. Presence and breath are the core components of P2SUP. If you want to learn more, CONTACT US here.

 

All SUP is Yoga

In the moment with Amber Patrick, owner of Groove Yoga Bend (http://www.grooveyogabend.com/)

In the moment with Amber Patrick, owner of Groove Yoga Bend (http://www.grooveyogabend.com/)

Yoga is meant to meet your needs day by day and moment by moment. Practice should reflect what you are trying to bring into balance at the time whether it is body, mind or spirit.

If you’ve spent the day staring at the computer, your body may yearn for an energizing, active practice. If you’ve spent the day hiking, you may decide a soft, restorative practice is in order.

Grace and balamce with Gillian Gibree, owner of Paddle Into Fitness http://paddleintofitness.com/

Grace and balance with Gillian Gibree, owner of Paddle Into Fitness http://paddleintofitness.com/

As a standup paddler, you are likely familiar with the fast-growing practice of SUP Yoga.  Practicing poses while on a standup board is art in action.

In the truest sense of “yoga practice,” a different approach is also possible. Once you SUP, your body, mind and spirit are connected like never before. The paddling stroke delivers a rhythmic burst of exercise endorphins and release of adrenaline.  As water flows by beneath your board, tickling your toes, the nervous system calms down. Subtle demands for balance and being centered call for constant adjustments. Many call SUP a great core exercise. In fact, it is a practice that can soothe you to your core existence. All SUP can be practiced in a manner that delivers many benefits of yoga even if you never execute a downward dog or Uttanasana (forward bend).

Have you ever been practicing stillness while in Child’s Pose as your mind raced, thoughts tumbled or an achy “this or that” distracted? Have you ever experienced an instructor whose voice led you through a guided path to calming, focus, and a quiet meditative state? If so, you have a solid understanding of what Power of Presence SUP (P2SUP) can provide.

Imagine yourself standing on your SUP board, paddle in hand, ready for a paddle across a lake, up a river, through ocean ripples or a glassy bay. Imagine being able to put your earphones on and connecting that ordinary paddle to a powerful mind-spirit guided practice. If this sounds intriguing, simply fill out our CONTACT form, ask your questions and join in.