Wow what an amazing last 6 months its been!
As I begin to re-mould my future I thought it would be nice to take some time to reflect on my last 6 months, my dreams for the future and my reasons for making the changes to come.
My original vision for waSUP Yoga & Fitness was to operate from East Gippsland for 5-6 months of the year. I would then relocate myself and the business somewhere warmer over the winter period, I just hadn't worked out where! Another key feature of the plan was a few months off each year to travel and immerse in my own yoga practice, this is really important to me - as much as I love being a teacher I love being a student even more.
Over the last 6 months I've often had people asking me 'why are you here in East Gippsland?'.
The truth is I'm not 100% sure, I came here on a temporary secondment as an engineer around 4 years ago and never found my way back to the city. When I was training for triathlon and adventure racing this place was heaven on earth, for me the training grounds simply didn't get any better and there was no shortage of inspiring people to train with. I loved being so close the forest, mountains, ocean and lakes.
My vision for waSUP was to share the beauty of this area with others, along with my passion for yoga and stand up paddling. If you have ever experienced the beauty of a sunrise/sunset on the Gippsland Lakes on a still morning then you know exactly what I'm talking about! Perhaps I was a little naive when it came to the weather, being an optimist I thought I'd roll on back here in October and mother nature would be turning up the heat and we'd get lots of nice calm days with little wind through to April. I couldn't have been more wrong!
With that said though, even if we'd just experienced the best summer ever and I'd been super busy taking paddling lessons for the last 4 months, I have no doubt I would still find myself in this very position - looking for change. I never planned on staying here through winter, I'm just not a cold weather person, my family is very much the same, they all live in the warmer parts of Oz.
Through lot's of self enquiry and reflection I've become very clear on one thing:
Sunshine + Warm Weather + Time in Water + Inspiring Yoga + Connection with likeminded people = A super awesome version of Mandy!
If I were to stay here I feel that I would be cheating myself of true and lasting happiness.
It's been extremely difficult to replicate my magic formula since returning to East Gippsland in September, it's all come together here only once, just last week while on a yoga retreat. I had the wonderful opportunity to take super inspiring yoga classes as a student, was surrounded by a group of likeminded souls and we had a magical warm day that began watching the sunrise and involved sharing yoga and SUP - all the magic ingredients. Where did that leave me, dropping my phone in the lake, backing my car into a tree - but feeling higher and more on top of the world that I have since returning from Bali (where my magic formula was frequently coming into play).
Another important thing that I've come to realise is that the man of my dreams hasn't arrived on my door because I haven't been ready to invite him in. For as long as I can remember I haven't lived in the same house for more than 15 months! I wasn't ready to settle, I found myself constantly searching for that something else. I now have a job (if you could call it that) that I truly love, something that I'm really passionate about, that aspect of my search is done. waSUP Yoga & Fitness is exactly what I need to be doing, it's just not here in this location.
I'm ready to settle now, I'm done with all the moving about and searching for something that has been within me all along. It's time for me to find a place that I can call home, somewhere that the ingredients for my magic formula are abundant. That's not to say that I'm done with travelling, that will always be part of who I am. It would however be nice to feel so connected to a place that I don't need to pack everything up into boxes and storage every time I take a trip for fear that I may not return.
I'm so grateful for all the amazing years that I've had here in East Gippsland. I've learnt and grown so much during my time here. I've been so extremely fortunate to make some really good friends who I'm sure will be part of my life for many years to come - I will forever be thankful for the important role that each of you have played in my life.
I can't thank those of you who supported me in getting waSUP Yoga & Fitness up and running here enough. I feel like it's come such a long way in a short space of time and has so much potential, I would love to pick you all up and take you with me, then life would indeed be perfect!
It's really hard for me to walk away from all we have created, our classes shared and chats afterwards are memories that I will treasure forever. Watching you all grow, improve your self awareness and develop more comfort in the postures has been such a treat, I will really miss your smiling faces and the light hearted play time in classes. It's truly been such a joy sharing yoga and Stand Up Paddling with each and every one of you.
For those of you who have been attending land classes my hope is that you continue to incorporate yoga into your life, it truly is a beautiful transformational practice. If ever get stuck I'm only and email or phone call away and I'd love to hear from you. I'm currently trying to arrange for another teacher to take at least one Yoga for Athletes and Foundations class each week so will keep you all posted on how I go with that.
So what's next for me and waSUP, well here is the plan:
- Classes finish on the 10th of April
- Camel Trek and Yoga Retreat (13th - 17th April)
We still have a few spots if you'd like to join me for one last hurrah - outback style!
- Drive north in search of new home (surf, practice yoga, visit friends/family, relax & restore)
- Yoga Teacher Training in India (June and July)
- Quality family time in Bali with lots of surfing and yoga (August and September)
- Put down some roots somewhere and start again :)
We can never know what the future holds although I can say with certainty that East Gippsland and all of you will always hold a place in my heart. Without a doubt I'll be back for holidays and won't rule out a return at some point in my life. In the short term though it's time for me to explore somewhere new, drop the fear of commitment , live in alignment with my greatest potential and begin to lay down some foundations. Scary I know but that's also what makes it so exciting!!!
Let's make this last month one to remember, I so can't wait to see all your smiling faces again next week.
Peace out yogis
I'm constantly learning from nature and so often when spending time in the outdoors I have those ah ha moments, only today it was more like, 'shit Mandy and you trying to get yourself hurt, where on earth is your head???'....then a few minutes later came the ah ha.
I came back to running around six weeks ago, after pretty much stopping for around a year. When I came back to running (after practicing yoga consistently for that year) I was feeling it in a way I'd never felt it before. I wasn't listening to big beats matching my rhythm to the sound coming through my headphones, I was running to the beat of my own internal drum noticing the little subtleties like how my feet would make contact with the earth, the sounds this made as the little rocks were squashed and pushed back with my weight/momentum, how the wind would create ripples on the river and how it felt on my skin and how the muscles in my legs were engaging, I was very much running in the present moment.
During my last few runs I've just come to realise that I've started to stray away from running in the moment. Today I went out for a run with the primary goal of stopping the millions of thoughts racing through my mind, this was a strategy I used for many years, run really fast so I can't physically think about anything other than breathing and keeping the forward momentum going.
But then mother nature decided to send me a nice little lesson and ah ha moment, as she always does when I need it most.
As I started to build up a rhythm my mind racing off to a far away place, I very nearly stepped on a rather large snake, one that I absolutely should have seen well before my foot was anywhere near it!!! The funny thing is this has happened twice in two days!! Last night on a cruisy ride with a friend out in the bush we did the exact same thing, got caught up in conversation and then as her foot pretty much passed over the top of a snake we realised what had happened.
After the snake scared the crap out of me today my next reaction was fear, I was thinking about how I could avoid it from happening again, I would run home along the road I thought...then logic kicked in...what a stupid idea the road surface is hard, there is lots of traffic and it's nowhere near as pretty....would I never run along the river again in the chance that I come across a snake???
Then came the ahh ha moment, what if I simply focus on being in the moment, take the headphones out and re-connect with all that is around me, that surely would minimise the chance of scaring the crap out of a poor unsuspecting snake again?
So that's the strategy I took for the remainder of my run, I began to notice the many really small reptilian like creatures along the trail basking in the sun, how unusually green the grass is for this time of year, the marks that bikes (or snakes) have made in the gravel, and then the mind got quiet..
Today that beautiful snake reminded that there is so much beauty in the present moment and very little to be gained from trying to escape it....it can in fact be dangerous. Running hard doesn't stop my mind from racing, it just temporarily silences it, then when the run is over the busy mind returns. Becoming truly present, living in the moment is what brings clarity and peace.
A great lesson learned from a reptile I once feared more than any other, somehow the fear seems to have subsided, perhaps because I now see that it was me crashing through their home without warning..