Yoga Practice

Beach Yoga: Learning About Myself from a Stranger

Let’s back up just a bit. I practice yoga at home, using online videos (almost entirely Bad Yogi), DVDs, or a little freestyle of my own. On occasion I may have a friend join me, but for the most part the only people I see practicing are the ones on my screen. I have never been to a live class.

Beach Yoga Lady: A Bad Yogi Like Me?

While on a recent vacation, I came across a lady practicing yoga on the beach. My first thought was simple…”Cool, I get to see someone practicing on the beach! I wonder if she’s a Bad Yogi like me.” It was such a simple, happy, non-judgmental thought. I even considered going over and asking her if she was a Bad Yogi, but I wouldn’t dare interrupt her flow.  If only my thoughts had stopped there.

We set up our spot on the beach not far from where she was practicing. While enjoying beach time with the family, I couldn’t help but glance her way. Then it happened. I started comparing her ability to mine. Quite smugly, if I’m being honest. Even my husband made the comment that she must have been a newbie because he’s seen me do those same poses effortlessly. For a moment, I felt good, and my nose flew just a little higher in the air. Not very Bad Yogi of me, was it?

…And There It Was

Next came the “You have GOT to be kidding me! You’re having your guy take pictures. Here we go; here comes another perfect Instagram photo. Oh PLEASE, I know the truth, lady. I just watched you try to get into that pose four, I repeat FOUR times. Get over it!” At this point I actually felt irritation. There I was on a populated beach, watching all these other people watch this chick practice yoga without a care in the world. How dare she, how dare she do something I can’t. …and there it was.

I turned away from her and walked down to the water with my son and niece. While these two beautiful children played in the water at my feet, I focused on the horizon and breathed. Such beauty to see, hear and feel; the sky with the lovely white clouds floating by, the waves gently crashing around my legs, children’s laughter as they played. In those moments I allowed myself to just be, to just feel and in that very moment I understood. It wasn’t her, it was me.

Hey, yogis! Can you think of a time a stranger inspired or taught you something? Tell us below!

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  1. Avatar

    Megan Reddix

    December 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Oh how I love this! This happened to me in the park last summer. It was before I went on my binge of loving and practicing outdoor yoga. Actually, it’s what spurred my love affair with public yoga. There was this woman, very effortlessly comfortable even if she toppled over. He boyfriend snapped her pic and they laughed and my husband caught me watching them. He said, “you have a lot more balance than her.” I couldn’t respond. My thoughts were how graceful she looked as she fell, but my husband (who watches me practice daily) decided to infer that I am better than her. I was taken aback, and slowly found the words “yoga isn’t about who is better or more graceful. It’s about finding yourself, and finding your own practice.” My husband gave his little “that makes sense” face and shrugged but I felt like a weight was lifted. And so my outdoor, public practice began.

  2. Pála Margrét Gunnarsdóttir

    Pála Margrét Gunnarsdóttir

    December 10, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    This one is so beautiful! 🙂

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