My soul had spo­ken and it was time to lis­ten

Surf Girl - - Liz Checking The Anchor -

They say travel is the best way to feed your soul. And what­ever feeds your soul, feeds your body and your mind. There’s no bet­ter feel­ing than that of feel­ing con­nected – with our­selves, peo­ple and the world around us. It can be like surf­ing the long­est, smoothest wave of your life, or fi­nally re­leas­ing a long sigh of re­lief in a yoga class. Maybe it’s as sim­ple as shar­ing a laugh with your old­est, dear­est friend. What­ever it is, it’s through this mind­body-soul con­nec­tion that we tend to be our fullest, bright­est selves.

At the be­gin­ning of this year my life was a crazy roller coaster of ca­reer first, self later. I got caught up in the ex­cite­ment of the ev­ery­day grind and hus­tle, say­ing yes to any and ev­ery op­por­tu­nity that came my way. Although it was fun at times, I soon got run­down and ex­hausted. I was out­putting so much en­ergy into oth­ers and my tasks that I had com­pletely tuned out of my­self and what I ac­tu­ally wanted: to feel con­nected.

So I went to Sri Lanka to re­con­nect. Some­times get­ting away and do­ing what’s right for you – in other words, putting up the stop signs for ev­ery­one else and be­ing a lit­tle self­ish about it all – can be just the right medicine. Sun­shine and waves were on the menu, so who was I to dis­agree? I made my­self a pri­or­ity. I put down the to-do list, crossed out the cal­en­dar, and booked my flight. My soul had spo­ken and it was time to lis­ten. The prom­ise of ad­ven­ture, waves, Ayurveda meals and yoga was wait­ing for me.

Sea, surf and sun

Sit­ting on my board in the mid­dle of the ocean, look­ing out upon the end­less coast­line of palm trees, I de­cided that Sri Lanka was in­deed mag­i­cal, and that I’d made the right choice to get away from it all and recharge. This teardrop shaped is­land in the heart of the In­dian ocean has a lot to of­fer in terms of ad­ven­ture, well­ness and – most im­por­tantly – waves. The South West and South­ern prov­ince of Sri Lanka are home to some of the is­land’s most beau­ti­ful beaches, which are blessed with mel­low, for­giv­ing waves.

Sri Lanka is an ideal des­ti­na­tion if you’re a be­gin­ner or in­ter­me­di­ate look­ing to work on your tech­nique. Although there are plenty of breaks to suit ev­ery level from bar­rel rid­ers to foam board­ers, the waves give you enough time to fully un­der­stand what you’re do­ing and where you want to go. They crum­ble with an ease that makes you want to dance along your long­board and tip­toe into the hang ten stance (if you’re lucky enough to be that good).

From the amaz­ing lo­cal food to the re­ju­ve­nat­ing yoga and peel­ing long­board waves, Sri Lanka has a won­der­ful sense of time­less­ness to it. It’ll make you want to throw your watch away and run bare­foot with the dogs, or trail along the empty train tracks at sun­set to catch the golden light be­tween the palm trees.

The pur­ple sky at dawn, mixed with the heady hu­mid­ity of the salty air, was my wakeup call ev­ery morn­ing. What a mag­i­cal feel­ing it was, hit­ting the bath-like tem­per­a­ture of the ocean and basking in the morn­ing sun­light, catch­ing wave af­ter wave with not a worry in the world. The feel­ing of free­dom soaked it­self into my skin like the taste of salt on my lips.

When’s the last time you made you a pri­or­ity?

Sri Lanka is buzzing with a slow, is­land en­ergy. The sim­ple things be­come so much more mean­ing­ful, like a smile from the lo­cal food truck owner, or a kid play­ing with a wornout soc­cer ball. Tuk-tuk driv­ers line the streets, wait­ing to pop your board on the roof and whisk you away to the next se­cret break. There are plenty of hid­den gems to ex­plore – you just have to ask around.

Yoga, Ayurveda and soul food

Yoga for me goes way fur­ther than just a phys­i­cal stretch. It has al­ways been my big­gest source of con­nec­tion to my­self and the way I live my life. Yoga in Sri Lanka is deeply rooted in the tra­di­tional prac­tice. There are many forms of yoga to choose from, from ‘in­vig­o­rat­ing vinyasa’, which is per­fect in the morn­ing, to ‘restora­tive yoga’ ses­sions, ideal post surf and dur­ing the evening. What­ever you choose, link­ing breath to move­ment and tun­ing into your body is a great step to­wards be­ing more mind­ful. Be­sides, I needed a good stretch to smooth out those sore surf muscles.

Feed your soul, feed your body, right? Ev­ery­thing from the yoga prac­tices, to mas­sages and the meals in­clude Ayurvedic heal­ing spices, herbs and es­sen­tial oils. Ayurveda is an an­cient form of heal­ing that can range from the food you eat to the stuff you scrub on your body. Ev­ery oil or herb has a pur­pose, based on your dosha or body type. This type of holis­tic heal­ing is pro­motes heal­ing from the in­side out.

Heal, flour­ish and thrive

Although short, my stay was as re­ju­ve­nat­ing as it was im­pact­ful.

I had 10 days to im­merse my­self in a new cul­ture, to get frus­trated (air­ports and for­eign cities will do that to you), elated, amazed, re­laxed and eu­phoric. All spec­trums of my emo­tional com­pass were there for me to eat-surf-yoga my way through. Some­times you need just need to get out of your com­fort zone to get back into it. Shake it up and get all the kinks out.

The truth is, life hap­pens. It can take over and we for­get to do the lit­tle things we en­joy the most be­cause they’re seen as self­ish – the self-care stuff we leave for the end of our to-do list. The lit­tle treats like a fan­tas­tic home-cooked meal or mak­ing time for that surf or yoga ses­sion in the morn­ing. Maybe it’s as sim­ple as a bub­ble bath and a co­conut a scented can­dle at the end of the day, or as ex­trav­a­gant as your next surf trip to

Sri Lanka.

I like to think we’re all in­nately at­tracted to what makes us feel grounded and con­nected. As if feel­ing the earth (or ocean) be­neath us sends that jolt of en­ergy through our spine. That’s how I like to feel, in tune with what is go­ing on in­ter­nally, so I can live fully, ex­ter­nally. When’s the last time you made you a pri­or­ity?

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