“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
I love this quote by Bruce Lee, it speaks volumes and I believe catches the essence of water. Water is the most adaptable element. It changes depending on the situation and its surroundings, accepts and embraces the circumstance and the environment, isn’t afraid to change shape and adapt.
Water teaches us to be to be flexible and live in the moment. Water doesn’t try to control the uncontrollable, it rather surrenders and allowing the transformation to happen. A river surrenders to the Earth’s gravity and becomes a waterfall, ocean surrenders to the wind and creates waves, a lake surrenders to cold air and becomes ice, or the sun’s fire and becomes vapour. It teaches us we can’t grow, discover, transform and move forward if we’re standing in one place refusing any change.
Water is patient and always finds her way through the smallest cracks. It doesn’t anticipate or plan, it sees the opening and goes through it. It doesn’t question, it trusts and follows. It teaches us that everything is intertwined, interconnected and co-dependent and there is nothing we can control but is ourselves, how well we can adapt to external and internal circumstance and how much faith to find small openings and keep on flowing trusting that life will show us the way, and how fearless we are in following our path non knowing where it may lead us.
Water is about adaptability, spontaneity and living in the moment. And often, in order to connect to these qualities, we need to let go of the comforts and do something that challenges us, something which we can’t control even if we want to, something that will allow our creativity and spontaneity to take hold of our body, mind and heart. That can be moving spontaneously on the mat allowing the free flow of creative to move us, but it can be dancing or any form of exploration which will allow us to tap into the unknown and be ok with it, let go of any control (mind) and surrender to the (body) experience.
For me surfing and being in the ocean has been such an exploration of my inner world. It has taught me so much about myself, about mindfulness and being in my body rather than in my mind, following rather than taking control. Because out there, there is nothing you can control, you need to observe, surrender and follow.
To me, Mother Nature is the greatest teacher. She holds so much wisdom and so many lessons. Reconnecting and tuning into this wisdom is a most intimate yoga practice. Standing barefoot on the beach, listening to the waves meeting the shore is a meditation. And surfing is my practice of surrender. Ocean humbles me; Its power, depth, vastness, the unknown and uncontrollable.
Yoga is a path to liberation. A path of awakening, surrender, and living our essence. There are many obstacles along the way, but if we’re willing to learn, the teachings and tools to overcome them are everywhere. We all seek freedom our own way, all we need to do is keep on walking with a light step, clear intention and a fearless, open heart.