During my last two yoga retreats I got the opportunity to teach a few sunrise beach yoga classes. Each class I lead is an opportunity to learn, but I must say the classes on the beach at sunrise were exceptionally good at teaching me the following life lessons.

  1. My inner-voice is worse than my alarm!

The alarm goes off at 5:30 AM and my mind immediately sets into motion. “What the heck were you thinking Maria? Getting up this early is crazy. It’s going to be cold, windy, and dark out there, no one is going to show up, the sky is probably going to be full of clouds, and it’s definitely not worth getting out of this comfy bed.” Wow, I wish I could wake up that easily and be as fierce as my inner-voice is! It’s always there ready to greet the day with negativity and self-doubt if I let it, and all I want to do is turn over and go back to bed.

How many times has this happened to you? When unpleasant tasks are presented, do you roll over and try to hide under the covers? Sure, sleeping in is great and sometimes you just need an extra hour of sleep, but if you always roll back under the covers and hit the snooze alarm, you’re going to miss out on some pretty cool life moments.

2) There will always be obstacles in your path, so push them aside and keep moving forward.

Even though I’m waking up in the Caribbean, it’s still a bit cold, extremely dark, and there is sand all over my yoga mat. Nothing comes easy my yogi friends, if you want to see a gorgeous sunrise or accomplish something grand in life, there will be obstacles like darkness and sand along the path. In fact, here in Cleveland we have a mantra courtesy of LeBron James, “Nothing is given, everything is earned.”

Get on your yoga mat, start moving and flowing, feel your breath, build some heat, and burn away the obstacles. The sand is still there, but why am I complaining? I’m on a beach and sand is part of the journey.

3) Have a little faith!

I started the sunrise beach yoga class at 6:30 am and its dark out. Funny thing though, just about 10 minutes later it starts to get light, very light, and I start to think, “Oh man, did we miss the sunrise?” The bright sky is a stark contrast to the darkness at the beginning of class and my mind sets into motion. “Are the clouds obstructing the sun? Is the sun just covered by haze? Are you kidding me, I got up this early and dragged a lot of people with me for this! Where the heck is the sun?” Oh yeah, the inner-voice is in high gear now filling my mind with lots of stories and self-doubt.

I tell myself to have patience. Keep practicing, work hard, to have patience, and faith. There is no instant gratification, I must keep practicing and believing. Patience and faith are needed on the journey too.


4) On your path, always enjoy the view. Miracles are waiting to happen, they always do!

Amid the obstacles and the ensuing self-doubt about the sun ever rising, I started to get worked up and drifted away from the present moment and all of beauty around me. Thankfully at one point I looked up to the sky and noticed that even though the sun had not risen, the sky had turned an incredible shade of blue, the clouds were starting to turn pink and fluffy like cotton candy, and the iridescent color of the water and the waves crashing onto the shore was more than sublime. In all my agitation, I had forgot to enjoy the view.

Along the path, there will be obstacles, but don’t get so caught up in them that you miss out on all the beauty around you. Each day Mother Nature has something beautiful for us to witness, there are miracles always waiting to happen, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

5) The Reward was worth the struggle.

Out of nowhere it happens. Little streaks of light start to poke up out of the horizon and beam through the clouds, and the sky starts to look like a watercolor painting, and there is so much color, and it is truly magnificent, and the coolest thing is that this masterpiece of nature is completely different every morning. No matter what, the sun rises every day (and if I had checked my weather app the night before I would have known the exact time – LOL), and all the effort of pulling myself out of bed, the tolerance of the cold, and the patience to wait; all of that melts away as my heart bursts open with wonder, awe, and love.

I will tell you this my yogi friends, for just a few moments if you are lucky and get lost in the beauty of the moment you will feel a connection to nature, a oneness with all that is, with your divine, pure magic, and bliss. It doesn’t have to be on a beach in the Caribbean at sunrise, it can happen in ordinary moments, it can happen on your yoga mat. And that is what this practice of yoga is all about, finding the magic, the connection

Wow, it was so worth getting up to practice!

Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, you owe me.

Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky.” – Hafiz


Keep getting up to practice yogis, be of service like the sun, and keep shining bright!

Click here for details about upcoming yoga retreats with Maria