We stayed at Sion Surf Camp, a super laid back spot in Ahangama. It sits across from Devil's Rock and a famous surf break. Every morning, the crew of "real" surfers would line up along the rocks' edge and survey their Lover, the powerful and generous Ocean. I would stand behind them and watch their passion while trying to understand the jargon and make sense of the terrifying waves.
I've never been a great swimmer and my experience with the ocean is generally just dipping in to cool off after baking myself on the beach. Nonetheless, I was in Sri Lanka with clean surf breaks and patient instructors, so I gave it a shot. I started out by telling my instructor that I'm afraid of waves and a half hour later looked him straight in the eyes and said "I'm not even having fun." I expect he probably deals with stubborn learners often, because he laughed me off and helped to push me into the next wave. Lo and behold, when I accepted guidance and stopped trying to figure it all out on my own, I caught the wave AND stood up to ride the whitewater all the way toward shore.
Surfing over the next 2 weeks offered lesson after lesson. Just the same way we learn something about ourselves or our relationship to the world when we step on our yoga mats, surfing offers us the opportunity to learn something about the "real world". One of the most profound yet basic lessons I learned was the value of reading a situation and then adjusting accordingly. I would pop up onto my longboard and feel it wobble as my feet weren't in quite the right spot, so I'd jump off and call it a wash. After exhausting myself this way for a few runs, I realized that I could walk on the board. When I didn't land the way I needed, I could adjust and rebalance in order to ride it out.
How often do you try something new, whether it's an activity or a relationship, and find that it's not working out quite right? Do you abandon ship? Hopefully, you adjust and attempt to find an approach that feels true and stable. When we step into Warrior II, it's a process of finding the foot placement, wiggling our shoulders over our hips, engaging the core, and then stabilizing our legs. It's a natural part of surfing/yoga/life. We can't possibly expect to have things perfect at the start (or ever), but we can certainly adjust to make things feel steady.
Like the practice of yoga, surfing is a lifelong practice. Every wave is unique and the board you ride it on requires different strategy. Every day we come to our yoga mats, our bodies and minds are in a unique state and must be accounted for. Just as we practice yoga on our mats and surfing on our boards, these are all efforts to carry the lessons we learn in to our everyday lives.