Hands on the helm, wind on the skin, a sailor knows when to adjust the steering or the sails by the feel of the boat to stay on course. Feet on the mat, arms raised, knees bent, breath steady, the yogi adjusts the body to go deeper while staying in the true alignment of the pose.
Noticing the energy of the body, just like feeling the movement of the wind, lets us know when to adjust our course of action because it is always the Self that is at the helm.
Develop Mindfulness With Sailing Yoga
Yoga practice can be practiced anywhere or anytime. Even at the helm of a sailboat. Outside the physical need for doing yoga to stay in shape, it also is an exercise in developing mindfulness which helps us stay on course with whatever we do each day.
When we develop mindfulness of our body, actions and thoughts, we notice more fully how we move or feel differently from moment to moment. Through this, we get to know ourselves and deliberately adjust what we think and do from moment to moment.
Change The Way You Perceive Things
Yoga can also change the way we perceive things, what we notice, what we fear or what we embrace with love. Sailing, like yoga, brings with it a need to take notice at every moment. It also forces the sailor to choose how to feel under various conditions – the frustration of no wind, or the fear of overwhelming wind, bow flooding waves or stormy weather.
As beginner yogis most of us probably couldn’t imagine being able to hold a headstand, just as the beginner sailor can’t begin to guess the functions of the numerous “strings” on a boat, much less how to trim the sails or follow a course.
With patience, trials and error, in time, the yogi learns to adjust the mind to allow the body to be open to the pose as a natural next step in their practice. Understanding adjustments, developing strength, understanding the power of Bandhas, let the yogi sail the course to complete the pose perfectly, as they find the halyard within to hoist the legs up to Sirsanana.
Notice The Changes
When we pay attention to how the wind moves and feels as we’re sailing, we choose to trim the sails or change our heading.
When we pay attention to how we think and feel, and can actually control our thoughts and still our mind, that is the beginning of yoga.
Whether one is sailing or holding a yoga pose, more mindfulness is developed each time they step on a mat or a boat – experienced or beginner. Each time it will always be different. All you have to do is adjust.