Guest Scribe Nadia Bonenfant: Your Breath is a Wave
I love the North Shore. I get to lead some amazing surf and SUP yoga retreats on the coast of Haleiwa and am consistently amazed at the power of the ocean, the land and it’s traditions.
One of my favorite practices in Hawaii is SUP yoga. I find myself wanting to be on my floating mat because I love that we can pick a spectacular spot, drop anchor and flow into practice. Oahu and its ocean have a humbling and powerful energy that radiate strongly all around us.
Being out on a board is the best way to feel connected and immersed into this energy, into the vibration of Hawaii, into Mana.
Mana – the breath of the land and the sea. A strong and magical place to connect into and a place that I feel is also part of our energetical ecosystem, our Chakras. I think that anyone who’s been on the North Shore can attest to having felt this subtle energy, like a soft tidal current or an offshore breeze. Much like O’ahu being one complex Chakra itself.
Chakras are subtle centers of energy located within the cerebrospinal system. Specific sounds given to each Chakra energize each of the specific centers. Much like a wave, your breath rises, peaks and dissolves. Why not deepen your experience and add a sound, a bija mantra, a sound that flows with breath and energizes you from the inside out while on your SUP?
Bija is the Sanskrit word used to speak of the sound essence of the Chakra (bija = seed). Like the natural elements around us, Chakras vibrate at different frequencies. Sound is vibration and so tapping into the sound of the waves or the wind in the river valley where we practice SUP yoga, allows us to become part of the vibrational environment. Eventually the practice of chanting bija mantras, give us the opportunity of amplifying our connection to the surroundings we immerse ourselves into, while we practice on water.
HEART + THROAT: BLUE AND GREEN: OCEAN AND HAWAIIAN MOUNTAINS
Next time you are out for a SUP Yoga practice, explore with the following bijas to enrich your connection to your inner self and to the natural beauty around you. Focus on only two Chakras at the beginning to make sure you keep a relaxed flow when on your board. As your SUP yoga practice deepens, start to add bijas for other Chakras until you chant all seven sounds through your SUP yoga session.
HEART- Bring your awareness to the heart chakra – color green – color of life, nature and fertility and filled with compassion and self-love. Connecting to the heart – Anahata, bring the sound YAM into your exhale and notice change or what this experience is bringing forth. From the heart, feel your fears slowly melt away and your confidence grow. The heart Chakra, green in color, also connects to the heartbeat of the Hawaiian land. Abundant and lush and in consistent growth. Repeat the bija YAM three times and then keep on flowing from the space of your opened heart.
THROAT- As you keep moving through your floating practice, tap into the color of the ocean. Blue. The throat Chakra – Vishuddha. Speaking your truth, your opinions, opening your communication center and your place of creativity. The bija sound used for the throat Chakra is HAM. Now focus your gaze out into the great blue ocean and bring its color into the throat Chakra. As you feel blue radiating from the throat, bring the sound HAM into your exhale. Repeat three times and let your light and truth be brought forth. Let your voice be heard and float onto the ocean. Allow yourself as you HAM to let your opinions and views be softly released.
Working with the sounds of the heart and throat Chakras is a great first step into developing a nature based practice that allow you to directly connect to Mana. At the end of your SUP yoga session, gaze into the horizon, finding the line between sky and sea and let all of the ocean’s energy be drawn into your inhale. As you become part of the environment, release your OM, dedicating it to peace, humbleness and balance. Balance of life, of trusting the process and of feeling how the grandness of the ocean brings your whole life into perspective.
~Nadia Bonenfant, founder of JUNA Yoga Retreats, is an Experienced and Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Has been teaching yoga for over a decade and has 15 + years of outdoor guiding experience all over the planet. A mother, skier, surfer and yoga teacher, she loves her life of discovery, connection and abundance. Her classes are informed by her teacher Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow approach. She grew up sailing aboard the Junasika with her three siblings and feels fuelled by a sense of adventure and connection to our ecosystems. Learn more about Nadia here and sign up for one of her Wanderlust SUP classes!