(Photo by Alana Mairs for lululemon)
A 100 yogis turned up at the Vancouver Aquarium on Friday June 8, for the first ever yoga class at the facility to practice yoga with the belugas. Inspired no doubt by the cool, ocean blue vibe, yoga teacher Eoin Finn, wore a sparkling blue wig and big fish-eye glasses to lead the class. I have to say, it was a pretty trippy sight for 8 a.m. The “experience,” for it was so much more than a yoga class, began with Eoin creating an intention for the practice and speaking about the connection between yoga and ecology; why how we treat ourselves has a direct correlation to how we treat our families, our communities and our planet, which he noted, was what his vision of Blissology is founded upon.
Next was a “just for fun dance party,” with the talented Thea Gow-Jarrett. She chose an upbeat, pop-y, aptly named song “Big Blue Wave” by an up and coming Canadian band called Hey Ocean and had all of us following her moves in time, including baby Ananda in the ergo.
The mood shifted into what I can only describe as an evolutionary yoga flow. With his characteristic ability of teaching with both humor and depth, Eoin took the group through a movement journey that allowed us to experientially imagine our one-celled origins, feel our ocean connection as fish bodies, and eventually emerge as mammals. (Don’t worry, you had to be there to really get it!!!) As “fishes” Eoin urged us to move, because you know the only fish that stay in one place are “farmed salmon.” “Be wild, be free” he exhorted and we jumped off our yoga mats, moving beyond the right angles and taking advantage of the curved room, watching the belugas moving fluidly with us, their bodies shimmering white in the deep blue pool.
I couldn’t participate in much of the class because i had a baby hitched to me, but I could definitely feel the happy, loose vibe.
After a sweaty vinyasa flow and relaxing savasana, Eoin reminded the group, “the problem with looking after the ocean is that most people don’t even see it. But the fact is” he continued, as David Suzuki wrote in his book The Sacred Balance, we may not be living in or near the ocean, but we are definitely “bottom feeders in the ocean of air.””
A deep respect and love for the ocean was evident in John Nightingale the President of the Vancouver Aquarium’s remarks, who spoke next about the aquarium’s conservation efforts and how upsetting he had been to see the pristine surrounds of the Haida Gwaii in the mid north off the British Columbia coast filled with floating plastic during a recent visit. Lana Gunnlaughson from Sea Choice, who also organized the event spoke last. “I don’t want to give you the doom and gloom” she said, “even though there is plenty. Today is World Ocean’s Day, my favorite day of the year that carries me through the rest of the year. Let’s celebrate the ocean today.”
It was an amazing, inspiring morning and a beautiful way to end it.
After all, we need the highs and the ability to appreciate the beauty and good in things, so that we can tackle the messes, the spills, the so called “bad stuff” in every aspect of our lives, and not get stuck in the mess. Our planet is on fire right now because of the way we are living, but can we go about our work and our life in a calm yet conscious way, making the changes we need, without losing our cool, without losing our minds?
Do you agree?
I know that’s a lot of our work. It’s challenging, but essential if we are going to collectively move forward in a more conscious and sustainable way.
As Rumi so eloquently put it:
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth. (Rumi)