Sunday, August 22, 2010

Take a ride with the ocean swells

Moving with strength and gentleness, ocean swells often travel thousands of nautical miles before reaching the shore. They are initially generated by wind, but as the storm dies down the waves lose their breaking tops and often combine to form swells that carry a calm, powerful energy on their journey.

Water is not compressible, so swells contain the energy that was created from the original storm. As part of the vast ocean, swells are stable and move in groups. They have different heights, depths, and different periods (time between the wave crests). The longer the period, the more speed and energy the swells carry and the larger the breaking wave will be when it reaches the shore. Swells coming from different directions are constantly joining together or canceling each other out. When swells get close to land in shallow water, the energy of the swell shifts and it becomes a breaking wave as it rolls into the shore.

When we watch the ocean with the swells rolling on the surface, we can feel their calming influence. Their magnitude, vastness and continuous motion are soothing to our nature. We somehow begin to feel part of this energy.

In a way, our breath is like the swells on the ocean. Yoga helps us to slow down and focus on our breath. It rises and falls like the swells moving on water. Breathing slowly and evenly, with more space between our breaths, gives us more energy and more benefits. As we practice yoga, we want to move with our breath. Just as a swell is a transference of energy across water, our breath transfers energy in our body. When a swell gets close to shore, the swell gets slowed down by ocean bottom and sends energy upwards causing the swell to get taller, and form a breaking wave. The same type of energy transfer happens in yoga when we firm our muscles and hug our arms and legs inward. We get an upward lift of energy and our body actually lifts upward.

If you close your eyes and visualize the ocean with its waves and swells, you can begin to feel the pulsation and movement of the ocean energy in your body. Sometimes we loose sight of this intimate connection. That leads to feeling alone and unsupported. But when we come back to this connection, it leads us to the place where we already are; part of the magic, mystery and abundance of the natural world around and within us.

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