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Miller, "but surfing provided me with an experience of'yoga.' Once I began to practiceyoga, 1 recognized that same kind of'in the moment' flow of awareness."

In yoga, we observe and even move the unseen waves of energy within us, known asprana, or"life force." In surfing, we feel the external wave energy that we're tapping in to during yoga practice.

Whether or not you learn to surf, the metaphor is an apt one for leading a yogic life. Rack in the 1960s, there was a poster of Swami Satchidananda, founder of Integral Yoga, in a full, flowing white robe and white beard surfing a Hawaiian wave. It read: "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf." The saying speaks to a key yogic teaching about the mind: While you may not be able to calm your mind into permanent and utter stillness, you can learn to relate to the endless waves of thought in a more free and skillful way in order to surf them with grace.

Surfing can teach yogis to accept both the good and the bad waves by seeing them as impermanent. We all have ongoing waves of thought, experience, and emotion—waves of joy and sorrow, fear and love. They're constant. Yet there is an ingrained tendency to think that the "deep" part of ourselves, the part we feel after, say, a great yoga class or a sunset surf in Bali, is accessible only during the good waves; and we hold such a strong bias for having these experiences that the rest of life —the less beautiful waves—can become drudgery.

In surfing, you learn that even the less-than-pcrfcct waves are composed of the same substance, the same beautiful saltwater, as the perfect ones, and they can be experienced just as fully. After years of practice and learning how waves form, the skilled surfer knows that even the wild, stormy, or mundane one can be enjoyed. Surfing, like yoga, is a challenge worth meeting day after day after day, no matter the conditions. +

Jaimal Togis is the author of Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea. Find him at jaimalyogis.com.

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