saltwater & sandy toes

The ocean in the early morning is like an old friend.  I walk up onto the boardwalk and the shimmery reflection of the sun is like a sparkle in his eyes when he sees me.  I settle into my spot on my blanket and with his gentle waves he beckons me in.  The warm sun inspires the need to cool off.  As I approach the water his waves run to greet me, wrapping around my legs like a child might.  The tide pulls me in and the water so cool on my skin feels cleansing for my whole body and soul.  The ocean water, the salty air, the nourishing sunrise every morning like a ritual, how can I ever leave?

For the past 22 days I’ve been living at my family’s beach house in Ocean View, DE.  It’s a modest yet comfortable house in a quiet neighborhood about 3 miles from Bethany Beach.  I grew up coming here every summer when my grandparents lived here we’d stay for a few days, maybe a week at a time to visit with family, play and swim at the ocean, then go back to our normal lives.  Since my grandfather passed away and the house has slowly transitioned into my parents’ 2nd home I’ve had a goal in the back of my mind to spend a month living here, and experiencing life at the beach longer term.

After years of brainstorming and planning, figuring out how I could take myself out of normal life and temporarily find normalcy at the beach, it paid off.  Between weekends of hosting Yoga retreats and teaching the occasional private yoga lesson, I’ve taken to “beach life.”

My goal has always been for this to be less of an extended vacation and more of a time to focus, reflect and develop the habits I truly want to hold onto.  Studying Ayurveda with intention to teach it cannot be all textbook, it absolutely must be a lifestyle for myself before I can authentically share it with others.  Some of the practices are simple, other take more work.  My journey with Ayurveda has been one that requires patience and often forgiveness. The one aspect of the practice I chose to really focus on during my time at the beach is to wake up before the sunrise each morning to start my daily morning routine.

At about 5:45am I wake up, reach for the glass of water beside my bed and drink it down.  I walk to the sink and splash cool water on my red, sleepy eyes and follow that with spritzing rosewater on them.  After scraping my tongue and using the bathroom, I grab my journal and head to the back porch.


It’s always surprising how bright the world is before the sun even comes over the horizon.  The preceding rays of sunlight cast a dull, grayish orange hue over everything.  Then as soon as it begins to sneak, little by little, over the line, everything begins to change, fast.  The sky lights up with reds, oranges, yellows, blues,  purples, pinks. Any clouds in the sky catch fire on their edges and everything on earth acquires a glow.

 

My porch offers me privacy so the only sounds are the cicadas and the birds. Some ambitious mornings find me at the ocean to share the experience with the other early-risers in the area. “Good mornings” are often exchanged and some soft conversation, but theres a very peaceful, quiet vibe shared between the few people on the beach during these moments.

Regardless of where I am when the sun rises, I always try to be on the beach by 7:30am, when it is still relatively quiet and empty.  I find a spot beside the ocean and sit for my meditation and pranayama, followed by alternating yin yoga poses with cleansing dips into the ocean. The cool water is so energizing it feels like I’m walking to the fountain of youth.  Gradually as the morning progresses, the crowds come in.  Fighting and squeezing themselves in to be as close to the water as possible.  This is my cue to pack up, give up my prime spot and go back to the house, knowing that my friend the ocean will be there again tomorrow for our morning ritual.

In a society that glorifies sleeping late as a luxury, I count myself as one of the lucky ones to be bringing an early morning routine into my everyday.  To get to witness the world when the light is so soft and the air is quiet and cool, just for these precious minutes before hustle.  To give my body the time to be calm and gradually awaken for the tasks ahead, instead of waiting till the last minute, rushing to get out the door and then wondering why focusing on work is so difficult.

Each time I’m able to incorporate another practice of Ayurvedic teaching into my life I feel thankful for what a gift it is, and this is no different.  Even tho I won’t have an enormous ocean nearby when I take my early morning routine back home with me, I’m eager to see what this ritual does have to offer me, everyday, wherever I happen to be.