There's a reason ujjayi breath sounds like ocean waves crashing — and a reason vinyasa motion flows.
It's the reason why oceanfront yoga feels so natural.
Fifty to 75 percent of our body is water. The movement of breath through the body is a microcosm of wind and wave — an expression of fluidity in balance.
And there's no reason to wait till winter ends. Especially here in San Diego, where for the last seven years — just a few lifeguard towers north of the Crystal Pier — Ocean Front Yoga has brought hundreds of SD yogis of all levels together to practice breath-to-ocean flow on the cliffs overlooking the PB shoreline at Tower 27.
The class, led by Steve Hubbard — aka NamaSteve — with the help of his 7-year-old pot-bellied pig Clubber, is an all-levels, donation-based class.
"The idea from the start was to make it affordable and accessible to everybody," Hubbard said. "In yoga practice we give verbal cues for physical adjustments — this aligns us with something bigger. Our natural state of being. You notice the sound of the waves, and you find that you can't make it louder or quieter. All there is is to observe it in its natural state, to feel the sun on your skin. And that's exactly what yoga is — an expansive, nourishing connection to our natural state, to breath and ocean."
DiscoverSD caught up last weekend with Hubbard, Clubber the pot-bellied pig, and Stewy, a rescued Boston terrier who joined the yogi team last year. And it was literally the last weekend — not for the yoga, but for Clubber as a senior member of the yogi team and as a seven-year PB resident.
To the surprise of the PB locals who practice yoga and walk their dogs with Clubber and Stewy, the complaints of other residents led to a dispute requiring Hubbard to get a permit for Clubber. A part of the municipal code that prohibits the issuing of permits to animals other than dogs and to emotional support animals superseded another city ordinance allowing two pot-bellied pigs per household.
As yogis set mats down, PB resident and owner of Petals by the Beach Flora Gillenberg recalled, "That pig grew up here. I remember when he was just a baby. He's brought a lot of joy to the locals and we hope to see him at yoga for many years."
While Gillenberg's dog Nugget ran around yoga mats with Stewy and Clubber, they were joined by PB local Caron Velasco's pugs Pikaki and Maile. Hearing the news about Clubber, Velasco was also shocked. "Do you know how many people are happy to see that pig when they come to yoga? Pretty soon they'll go after that dog that skateboards - it's our PB character, our essence."
Ocean Front Yoga will continue, without Clubber for now.
"This is an exercise in reactivity - to move through anything without being affected," Hubbard said. "Clubber is going to Penelope's Purpose — a sanctuary in Ramona. I will still own him and pay for him as long as he has to stay there."
PB locals and the yoga community remain hopeful that legal assistance will prevail and that Clubber will soon be flowing through their vinyasas.
"We just need to remember — no matter how long or exhaustive the battle — whatever it is that brings us to our yoga practice is made sacred by staying aligned with the intention," Hubbard said. "And since we do everything the way we do anything — hopefully we take it off our mats."
Ocean Front Yoga in PB with Steve and Stewy
When: 10-11:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Where: On the cliffs overlooking Tower 27, between Loring and Law streets in PB
More information: NamaSteveYoga.com
Anna Mueco has been a student of hatha and kriya yoga since 2003. Mueco became a yoga instructorin 2006 and currently teaches in Pacific Beach. Send your thoughts about the yoga world to her at anna@HyperNinjaYoga.com.