July 15, 2020

On the Beach with Yoga Upstairs


Images from Sri’s beach class. One photo shows a dolphin from a pod that stayed close to shore all throughout the practice. The class did Dolphin pose to salute them.



Dolphins were gliding up and back a small stretch of the Pacific Coast near Point Dume in Malibu when I joined the two-leggeds in the sandy foreground for Yoga On The Beach with Sri Hari Moss. This would be an experiment of a group activity in COVID times.

A couple dozen masked people were unfurling their mats and towels at least six feet apart from each other. The morning mist and ocean breezes kept the fresh air gently moving.  Nature’s big studio gave us room to stretch and connect without touching.

Sri’s voice was sometimes muffled because of his mask, but he led by visual example, and his soothing voice was usually heard for verbal guidance as we stretched to warm up.  He had us do poses in connection with the ocean we could hear and see—Boat Pose, Dolphin Pose, and Fish Pose. He adapted his routine to the advantages of forgiving sand, not counting on a fixed foundation.

He let us all feel comfortable stepping out to avoid poses we weren’t ready for or to enjoy the dolphins. But he didn’t bore those who wanted to do headstands and be warriors in the winds.

It was luscious at the end, lying in the sand on our backs, eyes closed with the music of the sea and feeling coddled by sand.

From the beginning of humankind, the world has been full of disease — of the body, mind, and soul.  And so much of our lives in modern times is full of the stresses of dis-ease. For centuries, “disease” meant lack of ease, before becoming a medical term.

Yoga is a beautiful opportunity to find ease and to feel ease. Kinks and cricks in the body can dissolve. Unconsciously clenched jaws and knotted muscles can relax. Persevering worries that can poison seem to evaporate. And with the right community, there is a gentle joy in being with others who want ease, not disease; “Namaste,” not negativity. Taking good care of self, deep breathing, meditation, connecting in spirit to nature, to others, to divinity can all ease the mind and spirit.

Many people remained after the outdoor class, talking about how good it felt to move, and enjoying seeing human beings against a real backdrop of nature’s beauty, not one of the imposed ones on visual conferencing programs.

You could see people’s eyes crinkled in the corners and knew that underneath those masks were some lovely smiles… smiles being one of the best beach poses for ease, not disease.

To wellness and wellbeing amidst the wonders.    Lisa Sonne


Sri is one of the great teachers at YogaUpstairs.com in Agoura Hills, now offering classes online.  You can see more of Lisa Sonne’s writing at LisaSonne.com

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