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2012/04/14 von Marilou Lavallée

Marilou Nº 5: "Stay present!"

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Marilou took some yoga-teaching-classes in Arizona and shares how it influenced her attitude towards life and being a professional kiteboarder.

I believe life is there to experiment with things. I've been practising yoga „on and off“ for years and just recently decided to explore this Yoga path more intensively. I therefore flew to Arizona, United States to a tiny city called Sedona.
I especially chose this place to be surrounded by an environment that is totally different from our kiting scene. It‘s very dry, there‘s no water... actually, it‘s desert all around you plus you are in the centre of many Vortex/enormous mountains and pretty close to the famous Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

After completion of this one month program, which included an enormous amount of hours practising yoga postures, various lectures, ayurvedic classes (ayurveda is an ancient healing art, that‘s still very popular in India), meditation and personal cleanses using specific diet, medicinal herbs and other cleanses you then obtain your accreditation to be a Yoga teacher. Since the structure of the program is very intense (4h30 am til 20h30 pm) it demands a lot of self-discipline.

There would be so much to say about this journey, it was a real blessing!

My strongest lesson was: stay present! Present in the choices you do and present in the moment you‘re in. I learned to balance 3 things: body, mind and heart. I experimented with deeper breathing and have seen a major change and influence on me. I also discovered how powerful it is to give less power to your mind - it reveals itself to be quiet handy!

I'm sharing this, because if I push my learning further I feel it has a direct link to my lifestyle and the way I kitesurf or can kitesurf. I had a few injuries in the past and noticed that every accident happened when I was not focused, not concentrated, not in the moment and especially not breathing carefully.

I have learned in yoga to keep hardcore poses for a very long time (some of which I was sure there was no way my body could do that), but with the guiding of our teachers we all made it.

The only point of focus was our breath and that the whole time. Of course our mind went crazy. We where not allowed to move any part of our body, plus it was also hurting...  My brain was telling me everything from at first «This is sooo boring!», then « You should just stop!» or « I am sure you can move, no one will really care...» and finally « I am so tired, this really hurts! I CAN'T do it anymore!

At the end of the exercise, you actually realize that it was by no means ‘too much’ for your body. The pain is fading away and the only thing that was getting crazy was your mind... in fact your body can do much more than what your mind is telling you.

The whole objective was to learn to shut your mind down and only breath with awareness, which protects you from any sort of injuries.

I have realized that even while kitesurfing my mind was tricking me quite often. «Just go for it, no matter what...

I am lucky enough to be part of an amazing team of CORE riders, where I am free of pressure. I am the one pushing myself hard, never the guys. Over the years, I've learned so much from them, especially from Beany in terms of staying balanced on the water.

Yes, you heared right, Beany, the hardcore kitelooper. I got so many good hints from him, if only I would have understood them completely. It is only now that I am seeing the bigger picture.

It's only today, after a few knee injuries and this truly intensive yoga experience, that I am starting to understand how he can do those insane kiteloops and still be in one piece after all. If you carefully look at his practice, you will notice how grounded and always focused he is before, during and after. It is not rare to see him meditating before a kite or photo session.

Just watch him and you will learn not just how to kitesurf and do those insane kiteloops, but how to be in the moment. This is the key to improvement in life and in kitesurfing! The best reminder ever, as I have a tendency to forget and ‘over do’ stuff.

By being more „present“ in your session you can actually do more. Listen to what your body and mind are telling you and trace the difference between both in order to know how to choose. The experience became my teacher.

And now, if I look out of the window I can see all those colorful flowers, I hear the birds and the monkeys in the tree beside the house and from the top of the mountain you have an incredible view of the Playa Venao bay with it‘s consistent wave and (not the least) I have been hearing this offshore wind calling me for a while.

It is time to go down the road and see if this spot can be a new kitesurfing experience as well! This paradise and this home of mine for a few weeks is called Panama. Thanks to the universe, everything feels at peace!


Marilou :)