Bali :: Awaken your Spirit
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