I have had the wonderful experience this summer of teaching next to the sea, under the beautiful Pohutukawa trees on Eastern Beach.

It is very different from studio teaching. Silent, it is not. Generally other beach users are very respectful of our practice, but there is the odd deafening rapper. The music of the cicadas. Distractions, yes – they are aplenty. It could be that bug that won’t leave the allergic lady with the red hair and freckled skin alone. Or the full immersion baptism happening just down the beach to the left that has Sue reaching for her phone to take a pic at the start of Savasana. Or the birds: The dear little sparrow that hops past to greet everybody in turn. The duck that waddles between the mats quacking quietly in search of scraps. The territorial magpie who thinks we should be somewhere else. The Tui drinking nectar directly overhead. Always the possibility of a well aimed bird poop….. I say to myself, come to Now, don’t worry, it hasn’t happened yet!

We have had windy days and cooler days. One day we had to run for cover when we were rained on.

Energy is the wow factor. From the moment my students close their eyes and centre themselves, I can see it working its magic as they come effortlessly to Now. The beautiful world around, the sky and sun directly above. I see the energy reflected in the quality of their stillness and their movements: lighter, cleaner, more alive. Feeling is believing that we are part of this beautiful world, there are no boundaries.

The added plus factor of practicing in the most beautiful studio in the world – windows as wide as the eye can see, from the hills to the glittering ocean. The tree branches overhead the ceiling, and the direct connection to Mother Earth below us: soft and kind to tender knees, receptive to our exhalations, our letting go.

I am reminded of the words of Earnest Hemmingway:

I had an inheritance form my father,
It was the moon and the sun.
Even though I’ve travelled the world,
The spending of it’s never done.

We are on Macleans Reserve, Eastern Beach, Sunday mornings at 9am, for as long as the summer stays. Cost $10, BYO mat.