The life of a Yogi on the Islands
My yogi toes are happiest traveling from the beach to yoga (or vice versa). I always track sand into the studio and it happily decorates my mat. As I stretch back into downward facing dog I feel the dry salt water begin to stretch against my skin. My body, already feeling a warm radiance from a day in the sun, begins to warm internally as we flow through surya namaskars.
This is a day in the life when you practice and teach yoga in Hawaii. My go-to beach, yoga studio, surf break, and favorite juice spot are all within a 5 mile radius of one another. I transition from one to the next with ease (which explains the sandy feet). If I pass on a studio practice to engage in my own self practice, I head straight to the park. I unroll my mat under the endless line of palm trees and meditate, practice my sequencing, and study up on philosophy. I relax. I let my body be my guide and not my mind. Time slows down. It helps that after 6 years of living on the islands, I have embraced "Hawaiian time," which is a phrase usually spoken when you're running late. Hawaiian time also embodies the idea of not rushing. You'll get there when you get there. While it may drive mainlanders crazy, Hawaiian time is practiced on all islands and I would guess heavily linked with our low stress levels (Hawaiian time + an abundance of yoga of course!)
Tuning into the breath and becoming present in the moment is easier when you hear waves crashing, birds chirping and trees swaying. Letting go of your worries becomes more manageable when you're in Trikonasa staring at the ocean. This may sound like an advertisement for Hawaii but trust me, it's real life and the islands need no help in selling themselves.
Mana (Hawaiian word for spiritual power or energy) is pulsing with life and provides inspiration on the daily. The landscape of the islands is unlike anywhere I have lived and there are simply not enough words to describe it's brilliance. Merely looking to the Ko'olau mountain ranges or immersing myself in the warm Pacific reminds me of the interconnectedness that exists between nature and humanity. It creates an immediate sense of peace and is the quickest way to align myself to divine creation.
Yoga and Hawaii are a natural pairing with both emphasizing slowing down and being present in the moment. The culture here revolves around quality of life and personal wellbeing as opposed to what you do and how much money you make. My personal wellbeing mirrors that statement. I am happiest when practicing yoga (on and off the mat), surrounded by my extended ohana (family) that support me on my path and purpose. Little by little, we work to uncover the enlightenment that is already there and to surrender to the quality of each moment and see it directly and clearly. We find content in the transitory world by engaging in the little things that bring us joy; sandy toes on a yoga mat, a fresh squeezed green juice after class, or catching a party wave with two of your soul sisters. I begin each day with a HUGE thank you to the Universe in leading me to the islands. Hawaii is where I found yoga, and where I continue to uncover more of myself.
Leslie Schipper is a free-spirited, wanderlusting yogini living a life of love and blessings. Falling in love with yoga from day one, Leslie felt a deep purpose to share the practice and benefits of connection to the mind, body, and breath. She completed her 200 hour teacher training from Open Space Yoga in Honolulu and is excited to share her passion and knowledge of the sacred tradition. Her ambition is to inspire, give thanks perpetually, and continue globe trotting- sharing aloha and yoga wherever her feet find her. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and visit her website for more Hawaiian fun.
Image via: @bohoyogini