I took my first surfing lesson, this past summer, and learned a very important lesson my first time out; surfing is NOT, I repeat, NOT , that easy of an activity. When I first got to the beach, the instructor had me do some light stretching to get the body ready for the journey ahead. He then had me do some “popping up” drills, on the sand, to get me used to getting up when a wave started to approach. After about a half an hour, we set out for the ocean. I thought I wouldn’t be that intimidated, about what was to come, but I actually was.
There were five specific surfer films that, at least in my mind, that made surfing look somewhat easy to master: Point break, Soul Surfer, Big Wednesday, North Shore, and Blue Crush. Not so much that it’s an easy feat to accomplish but more so that it wouldn’t take that long to pick up. I’ve seen Point Break, a million times it seems, and I thought Keanu Reeves character (Jonny Utah) picked up surfing quite quickly. I said to myself if Keanu can do it, then the sky is the limit for me as well:)
I was under the impression that I would pick it up in a years’ time, no more than that. Again, I was highly mistaken and I realized the first minute I put the board in the water, and started walking out there, that this was going to be a lot harder than I initially thought.
There was even an art to how you positioned yourself on the board; I just thought you just jump right on the thing and start paddling like no tomorrow. That wasn’t the case at all and I started telling myself this thing, they refer to as surfing, will be a lifelong type of an adventure. The funny thing was that I truly didn’t care at all; every time I slipped off the board, I had a huge smile on my face and got right back on. I was just having fun being out there in the water and I was getting a GREAT workout, as a result.
After an hour and a half of a lesson, my surf teacher asked me if I wanted to try and catch a “wave.” My response was an emphatic, YESS. He had gotten me to face the board towards the beach shore. We had waited for a few minutes until he gave me the green light to start paddling like crazy; that is exactly what I ended up doing. First time, I got up half way and fell immediately. Second time, I stood myself up and jumped right off into the water; I think I was just ecstatic enough to have just got up. Third time, I not only got myself up but I also rode the wave for a few seconds; it was an absolutely exhilarating feeling that started to run through me.
I’ve been back out several times after and I’m definitely considered a “kook” and a “barney.” Those are terms for beginning surfers. When I first heard the term, “barney,” I was waiting for some guy to be riding the wave in a purple wetsuit to resemble BARNEY, the purple dinosaur that loves each and every person equally. I was totally wrong; now that I know what it means, I have a long way to mastering this art form and I’m ready for the ride.
If you ever thought about surfing, I would highly recommend giving it a whirl. If you’re a fan of Family Guy, the Rides-a-Ten-Speed-Everywhere-Guy will definitely say that it’s a great way to stay in shape:) Have a great weekend; until next time….
When people first think of meditating, they usually associate it with having to sit upright with your legs crossed over one another. That is then followed by us taking our middle finger and connecting it with our thumb, as our hands rest on our knees. We will then start chanting something along the lines of, hummmmmmmmmmm, for several minutes. That is what most of us perceive as the “proper” way to meditate.
That is exactly what I thought meditation was before I started my Shaolin Arts training. I have started to learn, over the past five and a half years, that there is much more to meditating than just sitting Indian style on the floor. Shi Gung Gregg Zilb, my head martial arts instructor, has taught me that there are a number of ways to truly meditate. Believe it or not, you can actually meditate by just lying flat on the ground, in your bed or on the floor. The position almost resembles a snow angel that you make outside when you’re younger . Nine out of ten times, I will meditate right before bed in the lying flat position. It is one of my favorite ways to center myself before catching up on some zzzz’s.
In Tai Chi/Qigong classes, we also do what My teacher refers to as moving meditations. The main premise is to work on building chi, or energy, throughout the body while we are moving forward. My Shi Gung has also shown me how to even meditate while I’m standing straight up. After a few times of doing it standing, I went through some natural healing books that I have and they all say the same thing ,as what my teacher always says, that standing meditations are one of the best ways to meditate. Not only are you training your mind and spirit but your body is getting quite a workout and I can totally attest to that. After just ten minutes of standing, I will start to feel my legs and shoulders shaking like I’m doing some awkward dance maneuver or something.
There are other ways to meditate and focus your minds without having to technically sit and “meditate”, so to speak. Sometimes when I’m writing, especially at the current moment, I get so focused on what I’m doing that I feel I can write for days on end without stopping even for a second. Nothing distracts me and I just keep going and going. I also started to see the connection musicians make with their instruments they’re playing. They become so connected, and in tune, with that they’re doing that nothing can deter them. A good example of that is when Jimi Hendrix was doing his set at Woodstock ’69, also one of the most memorable performances in rock n’ roll history, where it seemed like he was so preoccupied with what he was doing that nothing could take his concentration away from his guitar during his entire set.
So, all in all, there are a slew of ways to feel connected and relaxed without having to be a so-called, avid “meditator.” In the case that you’re looking for a quality top notch caliber school in the Long Island area, then check out, http://www.shaolinlohan.com. You will not be disappointed and it will hopefully become addictive like a drug but a good, healthy one of course. I guarantee you will want to keep coming back for more and more 🙂
I wrote extensively, throughout my autobiography, about one particular place where my life started to change. My life did change and let me tell you firsthand, it was definitely for the better. The name of this place is Shaolin Kung-fu, located in Holtsville, NY. It has helped me in all avenues of my life that I have been going there for almost six years now. The other added bonus is that not only are you learning traditional kung-fu but you’re also getting the internal aspects as well. The internal martial arts that we train in are Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation. You’re getting a balance that is isn’t so common with other martial art schools. This school is very close knit as well so there is no internal problems or conflicts going on. Before I started training there, I dabbled with some other schools around Long Island. Going to only about three or four different schools, I noticed that they had certain things in common with one another. Nothing against how the instructors were teaching or anything, it was more how the students were conducting themselves. They were all sectioned off in little groups and it almost seemed cliquey, kind of how high school operates. Everyone is welcoming, friendly and humble with one another so you don’t have to worry about not fitting in at this school.
Now, I would like to go over a little about the head instructor, Shi Gung Gregg Zilb. He has been doing these particular forms of martial arts for over thirty years. That alone should tell you that he has a genuine love and understanding of what he does. The one thing I picked up about him, right off the bat, was that he wasn’t just trying to take your money and water down the classes. He makes you earn everything by pushing us to our limits. When he is teaching his classes, you can tell the passion he truly has because he is always motivating himself and everyone else to go above and beyond. If you just come down to a class you can see the things he is capable of doing that you might have once thought was humanely impossible but he makes it possible. He also breaks everything down to show how certain techniques can be utilized in real life or death situations. On the other side of the spectrum, he is very easy to talk to and always welcomes questions. I couldn’t ask for a better person and instructor to teach me the way to a better life.
I would strongly suggest to come down and at least view a class, or take one, and be open to the possibilities of changing yourself in a positive manner. You can find out more information about him on his website that I listed below;
http://www.shaolinlohan.com/ or stop by,