Yoga, Surfing, Mindfulness & Motherhood on Canada's Atlantic Coast
This next spotlight brings us to Canada's Atlantic Coast to the province of Nova Scotia where we catch up with Rachel, a yoga and mindfulness teacher, cold water surfer, and mother. We dive in to her story and how yoga and surfing have kept her balanced and energized through motherhood and the busyness of life.
Q. What got you into surfing?
Rachel - I have always been drawn to the ocean but it wasn’t until I was teaching yoga in El Salvador in 2014 that I really experienced my first taste of surf community and I was hooked.
Q. Where’s your favorite spot to go?
Rachel - There are so many great spots on Canada's Atlantic Coast. Often a trek, sometimes skunked, sometimes magic.
Q. How does a morning surf affect your mood and mindset for the rest of the day?
Rachel - Getting out for a morning surf really sets the tone for the day. Something about the energy of the water and the colours at that time of day are always uplifting, energizing, and almost gives me a space to breathe before responding or reacting. Built in moving meditation.
Q. How does practicing both yoga and surfing benefit the other and make you a better surfer and yogi?
Rachel - Yoga and Surf as life practices are such a perfect compliment to each other. Yoga invites me into the present, giving a sense of sustainability and longevity in my surfing as far as strength, balance and mobility are concerned. In the present anything is possible, so I practice not getting too attached to a clumsy session or progression even, knowing it’s all always changing anyway. A yogic mindset in surfing brings trust in myself, trust in the journey and space to listen through the busyness of life or the lineup. Can I honour my energy that day? Can I sit with the discomfort of video analysis and the long slow learning curve that is growth? It’s truly all an opportunity and invitation inward, opening to the journey and being a forever student is a gift.
Q. How do you balance motherhood, life's busyness, and finding time to surf
Rachel - Honestly after a concussion and ruptured eardrum in fall 2021 that had me out of the water healing for months. I’m just so grateful for any chance to surf. When you think about it, to have that connection to the water at all is so special. Though finding time and lining up life with uncertain swells can be tricky. I’m also really lucky that my daughter loves the beach too, so my partner and I can often take turns surfing and building sandcastles.
Q. What is it like sharing your passion for surfing and the ocean with your daughter?
Rachel - Its exciting! She will be 3 this fall so she’s really coming into her own. Getting excited to watch surf and doing her pop up. I hope to splash around with her more once the ocean warms up at bit here. I didn’t grow up with the ocean close so, seeing the magic it brings to her childhood is a treasure in my eyes.
Q. What does community mean to you and how has surfing and the ocean shaped your community?
Rachel - Community is everything. We moved here weeks before the world shut down in 2020. I was pregnant, couldn’t see my family. It was countless blessings in disguise as I look back and see the connections and chosen family we established but still such an intense time. The surf community in Nova Scotia is so special. Respectful of each other, encouraging of progression and play.
Q. Do you have any tips for mothers of young kids trying to make time to surf?
Rachel - Trust the process! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t get in for a surf regularly or sessions are short. Your body still remembers. Your babies will grow. Integrating it all takes time and balance is a constant journey. You will still progress. It does get easier! My surfing is way better now after postpartum than it ever was before! I think the limited time to surf forced me to dig into those sessions, it made me hungrier and coming back after baby gives you a beautiful space for self reflection. Learning to listen to your body and honour your journey, an awareness I feel could benefit every surfer!
Photography // Karl Funk @funkmasterphoto
To learn more about Rachel and her yoga and mindfulness retreats, check out her website Luminous And Wild. She is currently taking signups for her Surf + Yoga Retreat in El Salvador November 11-17, 2023. Be sure to check it out and signup if you are interested.