Bali :: Awaken your Spirit

Tracks - - Rapture -

Surf­ing is many things to many peo­ple. Sport, art form, hobby, even, for some, a spir­i­tual prac­tice. If that last one sounds a bit flaky con­sider the words of Hawai­ian leg­end Gerry Lopez. "Whether any surfer wants to ad­mit it or not, I think we've all had mo­ments like look­ing at nice waves com­ing through the line-up maybe, only for a mo­ment, feel­ing that we are in the pres­ence of some­thing holy. There is a spir­i­tual-ness when you ac­tu­ally get in har­mony with some­thing as nat­u­ral as the waves and the ocean, and yeah, it is def­i­nitely a reli­gious ex­pe­ri­ence," he told Surf + Abide re­cently. Lopez wor­ships in what he calls the Church of the Open Sky and feels the pres­ence of a higher be­ing when he's in the ocean or the moun­tains or in­ter­act­ing with na­ture. A de­voted yoga prac­ti­tioner he is a Guru in the lit­eral San­skrit sense of the word, "a teacher, guide, ex­pert or mas­ter" in at least three fields: yoga, surf­ing and shap­ing. In keep­ing with his gen­er­ous na­ture Lopez hap­pily shares his ex­per­tise. If you can't make his yoga class in Ore­gon, he leads an­nual yoga re­treats in Bali and Hawaii. Tracks were lucky enough to at­tend the re­treat at Uluwatu Surf Vil­las last year and left re­ju­ve­nated and in­spired. Like surf­ing, yoga is many things to many peo­ple. Surfers can ben­e­fit in a myr­iad of ways. It keeps you flex­i­ble, strength­ens your core and gives you the breath­ing tech­niques and mind­set to re­main calm in big waves. If you want to take it fur­ther the phi­los­o­phy and spir­i­tual side awaits. As Gerry told Tracks: "Yoga is an on-go­ing rev­o­lu­tion. It's not about per­fect­ing the poses. There's a dif­fer­ence be­tween try­ing to per­fect some­thing and mas­ter­ing it. You're here to ex­pe­ri­ence the process of it. To get to know your­self, what you're re­ally like in­side. This is what we hope to gain in yoga – to de­velop a sen­si­tiv­ity to our­selves. And be able to go in­side our­selves when we want at our own will and find our true self which re­ally has it all to­gether, hon­estly. It's our outer self that is all screwed up."

LOPEZ ABOUT TO DE­SCEND THE ULUS CLIFFS WITH ONE OF HIS OWN SHAPES. YOGA HAS HELPED PRE­SERVE GERRY'S MALLEABLE LIMBS AND GEN­UINE SMILE. PHO­TOS: OWERS

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