I am an Island girl through and through. I was raised in Puerto Rico surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever laid eyes on. Weekends with the family were spent at the beach. It didn’t matter what kind of activity we were doing, the ocean was always our backdrop. Whether we were riding our 4-wheelers in sand dunes, going fishing or crashing waves in my step dad’s boat, the beach was always our final destination.
Those are the best memories of my childhood, so when I decided to leave home at 23 years old I knew that I could only feel truly happy if I had a piece of home with me, the beach. So I ended up in a little piece of paradise known as San Diego, California. It was also in California that I found my second love, yoga.
I got into yoga out of curiosity. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was yearning for some peace and acceptance in my life. Not the kind of acceptance one seeks from their parents or their boss, but the kind of acceptance that can only come from oneself. You see, just like the ocean had nourished me physically and emotionally in my youth, I found solace and refuge in my yoga practice.
Most importantly it had brought me to a place of non-judgment and unconditional self-acceptance. I know many surfers can relate to this sort of religious experience, when they surf it is a time to be whole and free. Unfortunately for me surfing had never been my forté, so keeping my feet on the ground was the way to go.
Through yoga I found a code of morals that include non-violence, truthfulness, abstention of theft, compassion and kindness. This is not to say I had no moral compass before finding yoga, but it put my morals to the test. I could not call myself a yogi without embracing and living these principles and extending them into every aspect of my life. Treating myself, others and the environment with the same kindness and compassion became not only a principle, but a way of life.
And trust me when I say, it takes determination and work to shed many years of apathy, especially towards our environment. It’s not that my parents didn’t care about nature, but I don’t think they ever thought about it as one in communion with us. So as I move forward in life as a yogi, I strive to marry my two loves… for the experience of one, exalts the other.
How about you? How do you live your life as a yogi?