From Yoga on the Sand to Life Changing Experience

If we are open to it, one of the great adventures of being alive in the world is that we just never know what can happen if we just say “yes”! Last Sunday one of those unbelievable experiences caught me completely by surprise. Yes I had wandered into yet another unknown, but of course I did not expect anything life changing to happen. It was during our annual family get-away-vacation to Avalon, a tiny city on the Island of Catalina.
On the second day I was chatting with a seasonal local and she invited me to “Yoga on the Sand,” a free program offered by the City of Avalon on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. I had told her I would go. On Sunday morning I was sort of stalling, sipping coffee, in our hotel room when Ken urged, “Just go. It might be fun. You might get a story to tell!” Hmm I thought. Okay.
I walked the short distance to the front of our hotel and there on the sand were two big City of Avalon canvas pop-up tents. Towel in hand, I walked over and said hi to the three women setting up; the City representative and the two leaders. All three greeted me so warmly that I immediately felt at ease. I spread out my towel. They chatted with me as they set up Tibetan sound bowls, a sound system, and began spreading lavender scents around the area.
Within a short time a group of perhaps ten people gathered beneath the awnings and started stretching as they lay on their towels. Soon “Air-e,” introduced herself. Dressed in a long skirt, and sleeveless top, she introduced co-leader “Lumina.” Lumina was dressed in loose Indian yoga pants and a tank top stating “Breathe.” Her flowing body art proclaimed her devotion to alternative healing methods. Both women exuded peacefulness, warmth and love.
Air-e opened her session and soon asked each of us to share a recent “crappy and a happy” moment. The sharing brought us together. Then we were directed to select a card on which to focus our thoughts during our yoga practice. I selected a card at random. When I turned it over it said, “I radiate positive energy from my being.” Well that seemed prophetic. Our group went through a demanding hour long practice. As it ended we were invited to stay for a “Sound Bath.” By now Lumina was working her Tibetan bowls and more fragrances were filling our atmosphere. Intrigued I stayed. I had never before heard of a “Sound Bath.”
The Sound Bath began. Lumina walked between those who remained, spreading lavender and sage scents. We lay with our eyes covered and enjoyed the explanation of how the sounds vibrations affected our bodies and our energy fields. Gongs played. Cymbals chimed; sounds and fragrances flowed. We were led deeper into our meditation. As an inexperienced person in such things, I was a rapt student. She directed us to see the “light” of all the people across our lives who have supported us. Our direction was to focus on their “light.” I was so relaxed that I did see “lights” in my imagination. Perhaps some hypnosis was taking place. The strongest light that came to me was from thinking of my husband Ken. I became more aware than ever of how much he has encouraged me across our long life together. As my mind began to explore all past and present people who have supported me, I felt a rush of tearfulness, of appreciation for the support I have gotten. I thought of my grandmother, my model for grandparenting.
The hour continued like that. The wind picked up as the sounds continued their vibrations I could hear the waves lapping against the sand . My hands and feet felt tingly and I was deeply relaxed. It felt like my heart rate had slowed down. It was an emotional experience for me. Two more of the “lights” I became aware of were from my childhood girlfriend, Leanne’s, parents. I lingered in that appreciation for all they did for me during my troubled childhood. They were a refuge. I felt transported as I took a broad look at my life and thought about changes that I could make.
After a long while the sounds and vibrations brought us back to a more awake state. My hands and feet still tingled. The wind continued. The others left. I stayed on my towel, as I was rather shocked that I had had such a powerful experience. It was a visceral immersion in gratitude. I wondered if the others had such an experience? I looked around the area thinking perhaps Lumina also had a wind machine? No. It was the natural environment. The breeze had picked up while I was in my deepest meditation. I don’t know what that was about? Air-e and Lumina came to me, encircling me in a group hug. They asked if they could have some photos with me. They took my phone and put their contacts in. When I got back to our room I told Ken all about it; that it had been life changing in that it has inspired me to look more fully into such guided meditation and certainly to continue the experience of sound baths, and to think about my life.
I have long believed that living in gratitude is a solid path toward happiness, now more than ever I believe that. It seems essential to me that we understand that we must be in charge of the life that we are living; that putting ourselves in the path of the unknown may present opportunities and experiences we could never imagine. Maybe I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone on Sunday by going to Yoga on the Sand, but what wonderful rewards I was gifted. I like the sign over my sink that reads, “It is not the destination but the journey that brings happiness.” What a wonderful internal journey I experienced on Sunday! Now I am Googling meditation retreats and Sound Baths. I’m excited.
Have you taken a chance lately and done something new or out of character? What was it? What are you thinking of doing? Will it be a risk for you? I love hearing what you are thinking about. My best, donna