surf yoga travel
Originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I quickly became infatuated with the ocean at a young age. I would spend hours in the water diving for shells and body surfing the shore break. I knew no matter where I ended up in life I would be near the sea. Surfing was introduced to me when I thirteen years old. I began competing in the ESA in 2003 and continued for the next seven years. It wasn’t until 2010 that I was offered a wildcard entry to the Surfing America USA Championships in Huntington Beach, CA. I had made it to the finals, placing 4th overall in the women’s short boarding division. It was a dream of mine to compete at that level let alone finish in the top 5. When I returned to Maryland I decided that I was ready to go to community college and figure out what the next step in my life was.
After completing my first two years I realized I enjoyed surfing and traveling much more than the academic path. I discovered the Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) in Costa Rica from a fellow yoga instructor that I admired from my hometown. In the fall of 2013 I attended the month long training while amongst 40 other yoga enthusiast. We became close friends within those four weeks nestled in the little jungle town. It was so magical. The rain in November brought lush green foliage alive and consistently good swell. It was the best surfing I had ever experienced out of everywhere I’ve traveled to. The yoga training I received was hosted by Don and Amba Stapleton. These two remarkable and heart felt individuals had over 40 years of experience and I felt beyond privilege to be learning from them. It’s what made me return the following summer for another training certification. I received my Advanced Postures Training from NYI in June with the intention of continuing my yoga education reaching my 300 HR RYT. Sadly, the institute was bought out and turned into a Yoga & Spa Resort shortly after. I am so fortunate to have experienced NYI before it left Costa Rica. It paved the way for me to become the person I always saw for myself, but never knew how to get there. I have NYI to thank for everything. I made life long friends, found confidence and inner strength within myself and discovered a way to combine my two greatest passions into a harmonies adventure. Traveling, surfing and doing yoga was my dream and I wanted to share it with everyone.
I arrived on the island of Maui in December of 2014. I had no idea what to expect, but after just one week I knew this was where I was meant to be. Maui offered everything I was in search of from good surf, endless adventure to natural beauty. I loved how passionate the people were of the land and the ocean. Protecting and having respect for it is a very high priority for the people of Hawaii. I wanted to focus my intentions toward wellness through yoga and awareness of ocean sensitivity through surfing. I discovered Maui Surfer Girls, a surf school that provided not only an epic wave experience, but all the knowledge that students need to know to protect our oceans while having fun. I loved their message and I was proud to become apart of their team.
“The energy connection I have with the ocean, expressing it through surfing and understanding it all through the practice of yoga is what I wish to share.”
I spent the last few years working hard and seeking endless outdoor adventures to fulfill my active lifestyle. In December of 2017, that all changed when I was involved in a head on vehicle collision with a intoxicated driver. I suffered a major femur fracture in my right leg that required spending months on relearning how to walk and bring the sensations back into my leg. I decided then that I would dedicate 2018 to my health and gave my body anything and everything it needed to heal. Time, patience, and stress-free situations were essential. I had the best physical therapist work with me while I remained positive about my future with surfing and practicing yoga.
“I was determined to be stronger then ever because I knew now what it was like to be at my weakest. And I wasn’t going back there.”
2019 approached and I was starting to feel comfortable surfing and practicing yoga again, but my body was different. Although my leg was healed I still suffered from lower back pain, TMJ and PTSD. Returning to Costa Rica to become re-certified as a 200 RYT was a must for me. I had this new body that I was trying to understand and adapt to. I had to go back to the basics and understand my new limitations. Rather then find them as a burden, I discovered new ways to work through them.
“The more you focus on pain, the bigger it gets. The less distracted you are by your limits, the further you’ll go.”
It was a transforming experience becoming re-certified at Nexus Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. It gave me the confidence I needed to let my guard down and just feel. I stopped over protecting my body and allowed any challenges to present themselves so that I could face them head on. The amount of trust and strength I was gaining in myself was so reassuring. I fell in love with being a yoga educator all over again. Wherever you are in life, whoever you once were, you have the opportunity to start fresh. We are forever evolving the moment we step onto the mat, all you have to do is commit.