Embracing Foggy Horizons

Down ere in Cornwall we got a bit caught out by this "Heatwave". We didn't actually get any of the 25 Degree sunshine predicted for the rest of the UK, which sucked big time! Instead, we were graced with a good 3 or 4 days worth of fog!

Whenever there is a sudden rise in temperature, Cornwall will usually shy away from the glorious sunshine and hide under a delightful foggy mass of cloud leaving the rest of us inhabitants despairing and planning trips further North just for a glimpse of this rarity that is a heatwave!

The kind of fog that graces the Cornish coastlines is apparently known as Advection Fog; which is when warm air moves in over a cooler land surface. The land then cools the warm air below the dew point and thus forms fog. I wasn't completely sure how it happened so I thought i'd throw that bit of knowledge out there, but just so you know the cooling of the warm air ends up looking a little bit like this...

Anyway, as a result of the high pressure, the waves were seriously lacking and the sunshine was pretty much non-existent due to the fog attempting to ruin all our fun! But alas, we decided we weren't going to let it stop us from having a good time! We took the fog as the perfect excuse to have ourselves a cheeky early beach morning all to ourselves, as no one else was thinking of heading to the beaches, we ended up having a few super fun mornings working on our surf fitness.

With no surf I didn't want to lose all my paddle power I had accumulated over the past 2 weeks, so myself and Clare headed down to the shore for a hardcore beach workout. I decided to focus on all aspects of fitness with the aim of returning to the water in a few days feeling fit and ready for whatever the ocean wanted to throw at us. I started every workout with a solid bit of cardio before getting down to the nitty-gritty core, arms, legs and a bit of butt work, just to get those flutes activated and that tush a little bit perkier!

The beach was ours to enjoy, with no one else sharing the same ideas as us, so we cracked on and let loose! Starting with a cheeky little shimmy along the shoreline...

I love being able to exercise in the outdoors, the beach was our open air gym and the fresh ocean air invigorated and inspired us throughout our routine! I decided not to bring any dumbbells or gym equipment with me, instead using the natural tools around us. I used varying weights of rocks for Russian Twists, Sit Ups and Twisted Lunges. The sand also proved as a cushiony landing for our Plyometric exercises.

I get a completely different feeling when I exercise on the beach, a complete feeling of satisfaction and elation; especially as I know that once I have suitably worked up a sweat I can strip down to my swimsuit and jump in the cooling *numbing* Atlantic waters!

As part of the warm down, I incorporated some of the yoga asanas we had been working on previously. At first we tumbled all over the place finding it hard to keep a straight face, never mind a straight line...

but eventually we managed to get it right... an incredible feeling! From Crow Pose to Headstands we practiced until our arms and legs turned to jelly and the only cure was to jump in the water!

 Both Clare and I stripped to our bikinis and waded into the cold water to relieve our aching muscles with smiles spanning from ear to ear.

Yoga for Surfing (Peace of Mind & Body Too!)

There’s nothing more frustrating than there being no surf, a flat as a pancake ocean with only ripples left for the foreseeable future.
This is especially frustrating when I’m feeling just a little bit of progress coming along. Days of pre and post-work sessions just disappear, not a ripple in sight, and subsequently we're all left with a feeling of loss and confusion.

I’ve recently been trying to push myself to get in the water every day and work on improving my surfing. I’m a keen amateur with limited ability but I don’t want this to stop me; the ocean is there for everyone, of every ability after all! This winter spent in London did a good job helping me forget everything I learnt back in the warm tropical Indian Ocean waters of Sri Lanka… Ahhhh I miss it! 

So, in an attempt to bring it all back, I started to head out into the water more with friends, and occasionally on my own. It was all going pretty well, I felt like each surf I was getting better, becoming more comfortable and confident on the wave, then BAM, the flat spell hit, and we were all struck with a deep sense of loss and confusion; thinking... wondering… 'what do we do now?' Then commenced a bout of partying, going out for dinner and generally drinking and eating way more than was necessary.

During a day off with my beaut fellow housemates spent lazing in the garden and soaking up some beaut Cornish rays, all the while munching on a few succulent strawberries growing in our little veg patch... 

We started messing around, pulling out a few yoga moves, the occasional walking crab, headstands and the like, until Hazel, our housemate Yogi came out and showed us how it was really done. Despite the fact that this girl was crutch bound just a few months ago, she started pulling out some yoga moves that left us gawping and wondering ‘How the hell are you doing that, when I can barely do this…? *Tries to touch toes*’ After a little more yoga time in the garden, we soon picked up her sick little balancing acts, and I started to feel pretty damn good afterwards.

It made me realise that yoga ain’t so bad after all. In fact, this could be a pretty good little hobby when the surf is lacking, and maybe… just maybe, keep it going when the waves are back in town! Who knows! Ever since, I’ve been going to yoga classes at Pentire in Newquay, with Synergy Yoga. I’ve loved it and haven’t looked back! The classes are for all ages and abilities and there are different instructors every night of the week (except Sundays) so it really keeps it mixed up. I used to be a bit of a yoga sceptic and refused to go to classes friends had recommended. This was principally due to my fear of being judged and my total lack of flexibility. 

I first tried yoga in Bali on a trip during my second year summer of uni with Holly. Bali and yoga go hand-in-hand, and you’d think it to be the dreamiest, most idyllic place to fall in love with yoga, but in fact, it had the exact opposite effect on me. (Bali itself is still definitely dreamy, lush and incredibly beautiful! Especially with views from the yoga studio looking like this!) 

I felt inadequate and thought I’d never be able to reach the level of the instructors and those around me. I was embarrassed by how inflexible I was and how little I knew the practice. My ignorance and lack of ability scared me away. Yoga is something I really regret not discovering and accepting earlier on in life.

It wasn’t until this year in London that I really started to notice how yoga can actually boost your body and mind. I was super stressed with not knowing where I was going and what I was doing. I started to freak out because I wasn’t near the sea, I couldn’t go for a quick dip to revive myself, I was stuck in a pretty miserable black-hole; leaving the house in the dark, sitting in front of a desk all day, then returning home in the dark; all via buses and tubes. It’s fair enough to say I worked myself into a bit of a bleak hole. As soon as my time in London was over I rushed back down to Cornwall with my mum in hand. 

As we arrived back in Newquay after what felt like a lifetime, we made tracks to Watergate for a bite to eat, also just in time to watch the sun go down. I stepped out the car and immediately felt a rush of fresh, crisp sea air wash over me. I could smell the ocean again after 3 months of dank, city pollution consuming me. I was so completely overwhelmed by the feeling of being back home, and back where I belonged, that I had to try incredibly hard not to cry. I felt pathetic and angry with myself for having almost lost everything I cared about. Yet simultaneously, I felt so overwhelmingly happy to be back in the place I love, with the people I love. 

That delicious whiff of the sea filled me with a drive and a goal to fix everything I had messed up, and also try to fix and shape myself into a better, happier person. When I waved my mum off on her journey back up North I began to think about how I was going to sort myself out. I talked to my yogi housemate Hazel. She recommended that I try meditation. I wasn’t sure at first, but I was up for anything so I said I’d try it out. I cast all judgements and preconceptions aside, and started listening to Headspace; a free meditation app that can be used anywhere and at anytime you feel like it. I tried to stop my heart rushing, my hands shaking, and my mind whirring ceaseless thoughts. 

After the first session I felt ok, a little calmer perhaps but still hyper and pent up in body and mind. I tried it every night for the following week, whilst also going along to yoga classes at Synergy Yoga. I also had to go on regular runs around the coastline to clear my mind, in an attempt to rid myself of some of my nervous energy. After a few days I started to feel a difference, and I no longer felt embarrassed in classes. I felt at ease and content, so much so that by the end I was pretty happy; with my muscles feeling worked and my mind calm after the Savasana at the end of the class. 

I have completely changed my views of yoga and how it really pushes the strengths of body and mind. I was pleased to find out that it isn’t all about breathing and connecting your body and mind to the sun and the moon and all that. Instead, I realised (a little later than others) that it's an actual physical practise that makes you break out in a sweat! I admire all yogis, especially the strength and determination involved in yoga. It’s hard work when done right, and certainly makes me feel amazing after a good session. I have a whole new appreciation of yoga and have been loving going to classes whilst the swell has been pretty much non-existent. I would love to head back to Bali and experience it all over again with fresh eyes and arms wide open. 

When I haven’t been able to make a yoga class, I have been doing my own yoga sessions in my room and garden following various videos on YouTube following inspirational Yogis such as Kathryn Budig and Rachel Brathen. And of course, taking advice from Alice and Hazel. 

I recently found a great little 30 minute Yoga Flow video titled ‘Yoga for Surfers’ which is great for strengthening and getting a little sweat on anytime of the day. It's also great for working and targeting the key muscles needed in surfing. I’ve been trying to do this in the mornings on my days off and in the evenings when I’ve got some time to myself. I’m a beginner, so the effects will vary for everyone, but this routine gives me a real workout and I always feel well worked afterwards, which is exactly what I want!