By: Eoin Finn, yogi, surfer and blissologist, who teaches his unique, transformative, alignment-based Blissology Yoga all over the world; www.blissology.com.
The ultimate wave: a yoga, ecology, surf lifestyle
My good friend Jamal yogis interviewed me for a yoga journal article on yoga and surfing. They only ran a photo and not any of the interview, but when you tap into your life’s passion the answers to his questions came flowing out. I wrote 5 pages of responses. There were 12 questions in total. Here are the answers to 4 of them.
Incidentally, you should check out Jamail’s work as well: ‘The saltwater Buddha’, is a great memoir of how surfing and Buddhism shaped a zesty life philosophy that led to many intriguing adventures. it’s a great read. check out his website too: www.jaimalyogis.com/
1.) How did you start doing yoga and surfing? Which came first, etc?
What’s cool for me is that I learned both in the same year, 1987, my first year of university. I was a philosophy student minoring in comparative religions captivated by eastern philosophy. I had gone to the east coast of Canada because I had already been to the West Coast for high school. I had heard about the surf there and was adamant to see it for myself. I fell in love with both. My first 3 months of school, I decided to pay “tent” and not rent and lived above Lawrencetown Beach 30 minutes outside Halifax, taking in the Indian summer mornings and riding waves by afternoon, or whenever I could fit it around my classes.
I was journaling this winter about how good it feels to realize that the path I am on now fueled by my passion for Yoga, Ecology and Surf is a natural extension of what was deep in my heart as teenager. I have definitely taken to heart the “Follow Your Bliss” philosophy of my hero Joseph Campbell.
2.) How have the two come to blend for you, if at all?
Yoga and surfing for me are both about the feeling of interconnectedness that so many mystics describe.
The yoga path is about going inwards, retreating from the world to the still place deep within, a place that when you get there, eventually connects us to the network that binds all of us.
The surfing journey is about reaching outwards and embracing the world. Taking in deeply how the moon affects the tides, the patterns of light on the water, looking at weather systems from New Zealand, Japan or Alaska that will soon affect the swells on our beaches, the animals swimming beneath you. If you allow them to, they profoundly open you up to that same powerful feeling of deep connection with all beings that we experience on the yoga path. It’s the same destination, just a really different way of getting there. Each path enhancing the other.
3.) Has surfing affected your yoga practice and your teaching? If so, how? And feel free to speak spiritually, physically, psychologically?
Absolutely. My life mission is about taking in the energy of beautiful, natural places and radiating it out as positive energy. That is the fuel for what I am channeling in a yoga class. We are talk so much about interconnection in yoga, but surfing gives me that first hand experience of it, something that I can then transmit via my teaching. If I go for long periods stuck on concrete, I am like Superman around Kryptonite and lose my superpowers – that ability to be a conduit for channeling a larger force that is evident when a good yoga teacher leads a class.
One of our major service is our Yoga Ecology Surf retreats. I feel like the yoga experience is not as powerful when it’s only a personal experience. That is what I see a lot of in our cities these days. People feel amazing from the physical yoga, yet so many people travel back home on concrete after practice with very little connection to the natural environment and to a community. I have always considered myself a Blissologist more than a yoga teacher. If you look at so many past societies who knew nothing about physical yoga, they were happy because they lived in community and had a very intimate relationship with Nature. That is where our Yoga Ecology Surf Retreat idea comes from.
When you combine the power of the yoga experience with being really connected to the ocean and nature along with a heartfelt connection with others, the experience goes from being a stick of dynamite to a nuclear bomb in its ability to open you up to the radiance of being alive.
12.) Anything you’d like to add? Feel free to ramble away?
The ocean is a shrine of interconnection and I worship there often.
I am making the most courageous jump of my life. Following the words of my hero Joseph Campbell, I am ‘following my bliss’ and leaving the security of Vancouver where my classes are filled with 70-90 students per class and moving to a small town on the west coast of Canada with a population of less than 1,500 people and more than 800 sea lions. There I can wake up by the ocean, watch the moonlight on the water, surf daily and learn more about my greatest love next to Insiya, the ocean.
I am not sure how it is going to be manifest but my desire is to make people feel the sacredness of the ocean again. I promised the universe a while ago if I got to a point where my workshops around the world and Video sales could support us, we will work towards enhancing the lives of people, animals and oceans. I plan to work with a lot of ocean stewardship groups. If before I die, people feel 1/100th of the passion I have for the sea and their actions keep the ocean full of life, I will have the biggest smile on my face heading into eternity.
”The ocean is a shrine of interconnection and I worship there often.” – Eoin
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