WLCA: Surrendering to the Flow with Gerry Lopez
Gerry Lopez, also known as “Mr. Pipeline," is a renowned surfer, actor, and yogi — and he is sitting just four feet in front of me. His long, salt and pepper hair is tied into a neat ponytail at the nape of his neck, and he has a broad smile that is absolutely infectious. His tanned skin and easygoing demeanor give him away as a surfer; the fact that he is sitting comfortably in lotus pose gives him away as a yogi (the actor in him is yet to be seen, however!). His Speakeasy talk, “Surf Realization”, is about to begin: a glimpse into the parallels between surfing, yoga and life.
Gerry, who started surfing at age 10 and practicing yoga at age 20, began by sharing that “like yin and yang, yoga and surfing totally complement each other in ways that I’m still discovering.” I loved that despite his wealth of talent and experience, he is able to remain humble and open to all of the lessons that life has to offer. What he did speak to, however, was the importance of cultivating the art of attention — of being present in the moment and responding appropriately, of being fully aware and spontaneous. He reminded us that in the water and on the mat, continuously coming back to the foundation of the breath and going with the flow is how we begin to find our freedom and connect with our inner selves. That amidst all the waves that come and go, simply staying present is an excellent intention to have.
Gerry also emphasized the value of living a life in harmony with nature and the lessons and benefits that can be gleaned from doing so. To illustrate his point, he educated us on the origin of ocean waves. Indeed, the water itself isn’t moving; rather, the water is a conduit for the wind energy that moves through the water. Similarly, in the practice of yoga, it’s not just about the physical expression of the poses; it’s about moving in a way that feels good in the body.
Of all the gems that Gerry shared, my favorite part of the talk was when he spoke of the meaning behind the Hawaiian greeting “Aloha:" a message of love and the key word of universal hospitality and fellowship, a fitting summation of the Wanderlust experience. As the wild ride that is Wanderlust California begins to draw to its eventual close, I bid Aloha to all my fellow Wanderlusters near and far — sending out love from Squaw Valley and beyond, and may we all practice going with the flow and living our lives with the spirit of Aloha.
~ Julia Lee is a Toronto-based yoga teacher, writer, life coach and Reiki healer whose mission is to help others light up their lives by tapping in to all of their boundless potential. Julia blogs regularly for DoYouYoga and KharmaKhare, and has also been featured in Elephant Journal. Find out more about Julia at www.julialee.ca, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @julialeeyoga.