Our first morning of yoga was just stunning, clear blue skies, a gentle breeze to keep us cool, and the most glorious view of green mountains and blue seas.
Day one was all about grounding, and celebrating the element of Earth, yet today it seemed that our Mother Earth was just having a laugh with us.
It may have been the back end of the hurricane, but later on in the day as we set off to enjoy an afternoon pottering around Dubrovnik, the skies opened up, the winds picked up to a gale and the thunder and lightening began.
We managed to find shelter in a Museum, an old monastery which had evolved into an apothecary, and then sampled one of the local Croatian wines in one of the back street cafes.
The adverse weather conditions may have deterred many folk, but not this group of experienced travellers, who just decided to “adjust the sails”, and navigate a new course, finding a way to enjoy themselves in spite of it all.
When we return to the villa, there are windows smashed in, shutters in pieces, a tree fallen down, and furniture in the pool. I don’t let this distract us from our evening yoga session, which is more needed than ever. We just move the furniture in the lounge and we’ve got a new, albeit more cosy, yoga studio in a jiffy.
Later that evening, chatting over dinner, we are considering how lucky we are that we’re not one of their husbands, who have decided to sail from Sicily to Croatia this week.
In these stormy winds, this isn’t going to be an easy course.
I’m reminded of a quote I saw the other day:
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”.
We all agree that it is often the toughest times in life that have been the making of us. When we are challenged and are forced to step outside out comfort zone, these are often our defining moments. We learn from it, we grow, we develop one of the most useful qualities we could have in life – resilience.
I think of the chaps making the course across the seas, and I think of them battling the elements, and although it will be challenging, it will also be life-changing.
As well as the boat coming from Sicily, there’s also Gerry, the brother of one of my yogis who is taking his two sons, and his nephew, sailing around the Croatian islands. Knowing they are safe and sound is a relief, yet I think about how many positives must have come out of this, and how much more the boys will have learned on this trip than one where the sea was completely calm.
I’m going to remember this when I set sail next week. When this retreat ends, I’m going to check out a yacht three hours north, close to Split, and we’re going to be sailing a couple of days so I can really get the feel of it.
I’m hoping for calmer waters as I need to assess the potential for Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, but I’m thinking that it can’t be any worse than some of the conditions I was in this summer down in Exmouth.
The confidence I am feeling right now I owe to some of the more challenging conditions we went out in this year. Just last week, myself and Steph Bridges from Edge Watersports, took a group out on the paddleboards in pretty strong winds and tricky tides.
Luckily Steph knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to working with the elements and we all have a blast, but not without a few splashes and moments where we are paddling like mad and not getting anywhere.
What I learn from these experiences is so valuable. I’ve learned not to try to control everything, but just to adapt to the conditions. I’ve learned that attitude counts for everything, and it’s never good to panic. I’ve learned to adjust my sails when the winds change direction.
And I’ve learned that it’s the challenges in life that make us better prepared for what is ahead.
So bring on the stormy waters, I’m ready!