Returning to Center in Wild Places

Being in a stunningly beautiful place like Motu Runa inspires connection with… well, everything. It’s easy to just sit and watch the coconut trees and turquoise water. With such an “undemanding” activity, it is only natural that stress lowers, breathing evens out, the brain relaxes. As we watch quietly we relax into just being “here”, as opposed to thinking about “there”. We can’t help but feel connected: with ourselves, and with our surroundings.

It’s not always this idyllic..! On the way to this eastern corner of Faaite atoll, for 3 hours of intense concentration, we had to dodge 40 odd coral bommies, focusing intently on the smallest disturbances underwater to prevent collision, trying to communicate between our sun-scorched look-out, and the helm person. It was kinda stressful.

While we are sailing in the trade winds, occasionally squalls blast through with strong wind and rain. If the boat isn’t “shipshape” and the crew isn’t ready to deal with it, things can break, which can spiral into all sorts of problems, especially at night. We need to keep a cool head at all times.

How do we communicate effectively and keep positive — that is, prevent negativity from spoiling our peace of mind, and relationships with others — during stressful times?

Having a daily practice helps us learn how to “return to center”. Going to a beautiful, inspiring place like Motu Runa lets us go deeper into that center. Wild, nature environments give us that gift: showing us what it feels like to be in our most relaxed and centered state. If we see it enough, we can learn to return to it more easily.

As their daily practice, some people do yoga stretches. This is a great practice; but contrary to popular belief, the original intent of Yoga wasn’t just for exercise, fitness, or anything physical. My understanding, at least, is that Yoga means connection with self, and the physical exercises are just a methodical way of “returning to center” — intentionally moving around the emotional energies so that we can strengthen our self-awareness and peace of mind.

But doing Yoga every single day isn’t for everyone. What do you love to do, every day, that brings you back to center? It doesn’t have to be anything special: walking the dog around the block, doing dishes while the coffeemaker is brewing, laughing at cartoon strips. The only catch is that it has to be 100% focused and relaxed, with a soft and expansive sense of awareness, to gain the most benefit.

We’re fascinated by what brings people joy. That’s why our motto is Harvesting Stoke. Our question to you: is there a daily practice you’d like to cultivate to feel centered and joyous? Where would be your version of Motu Runa — that wild place where you could discover that most relaxed version of you?

Aerial view of Motu Runa, eastern corner of Faaite atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia.

The crew aboard Aldebaran during this 2 week leg includes Paul, Kelly, Kristian, and Sabrina.

On the deck of our trimaran, we try to practice daily yoga, or breathing exercises.

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