I’ve been wanting to go do paddle-board yoga since I learned there was such a thing, and yesterday I got my chance. I met my new friend Jennie on the inlet in Port Solerno and we started our journey. We detoured off the big river to a small, one person at a time path through the man-groves. We got through and she said,”I didn’t want to scare you, but sometimes we see a bobcat through that path.”
We ended up on a slow-moving, secluded river, where we did some vinyasa yoga. If you ever did yoga before, imagine doing it with an unstable grounding, a board that kept ending up over at the side of the river, oh, and slippery legs. I think it was really great though because she stressed how you just have to give up the idea of “perfect”. Also, the flow of the river was a constant reminder of allowing myself to let go.
At the end of the river we ended up at a beach reserve. We dropped off our boards and did a small barefoot hike (making sure not to step on the little crabs) to the beach. The cool thing about this beach is that you can’t get to it by car, you have to go by paddle-board/kayak/canoe, and I don’t think a lot of people know about it bc it was empty despite being a beautiful Saturday.
There we meditated. I’m horrible at meditation because I’m constantly planning things. I kept reminding myself to concentrate on the sound of the seagulls and the ocean crashing, but I kept sneaking peaks at her to see if it was over. With relief I finally saw her get up. I went into the water to some of the sand off me. When I got back she said, “I didn’t want to scare you, but all those birds means that there’s a lot of fish, which means there’s probably sharks right there.”
Then we paddled for little while longer and I really focused on listening to her story and found her to be a really remarkable person. She’s had every job from bank clerk to actor, but got into yoga as a way of healing herself from the pull of depression. She now owns a studio in Jensen Beach and spends her Fridays teaching a class to at risk girls.
As we started through the next small mangrove path (about 5 feet across), I saw what I thought (or hoped) were inch in diameter, black crabs crawling in the trees. At one point my board deceived me and I crashed into the thick of it, and I realized with horror, that they were spiders. It got worse. We came up to a part of the path where there were 2 HUGE webs 4 feet over the water across the path. In each web were the biggest spiders I had ever seen. First I got as low as possible on the board and sputtered a bunch of hysterical “ahhh, um uhhhs” as I attempted to stop my board from moving forward. Then I started crying. Then as I started going under, the bigger of the 2 started moving! That’s when I started screaming and crying. I made it through the rest of the path shaking, and she congratulated me on my bravery. Then she said, “I didn’t want to scare you, but we think those spiders are maybe poisonous.”
3.5 hours later we ended up back to our cars. I was so proud of my body for not failing me on the journey, and my ability to preserver through my fears. I felt empowered by her story and the real connection, my inner peace and ability to let go. I knew exactly what she meant when she said yoga is her church, gym and therapist.