When you set out on a boat, you leave behind the land,
the trees, the bustle of the community.
Your senses begin to merge with the experience of the river.
"Yoga is the poor man's drug"
So says Katherine Murray, Kat. Kinetic Kat.
Raft guide. Yoga instructor. Artist. Friend.
Last year, I had the great pleasure of spending three weeks floating the Colorado River through Grand Canyon with Kat, Everett and Jazlyn, and a handful of their closest river guiding friends.
Kat was recovering from a head injury and focused on healing, both mentally and physically. Along with sunshine and fresh air, part of Kat's journey included her daily yoga practice.
Sandy beaches, warm breezes, and the currents of the Colorado on her journey to the sea, provided the perfect setting to let go of the trappings of our modern day world. No work. No 401Ks. No phones ringing or zoom calls.
I watched as Kat stretched and meditated. I witnessed a great peace flow over her as she communed with the natural world around her, healing with every breath.
She seemed in sync with the moving waters, at one with the trees and stone. Grounded. Confident. Strong.
It became obvious that yoga and flowing water go hand in hand.
Kat says, "There are energy channels in the body that mimic the braids of a river. The energy needs to flow as freely as untamed waters. Debris blocks the current of the river and the currents of the energy inside each of us. It is up to us to find a way to remove those dams, to keep our emotions and experiences alive and unhampered as they move through our minds, bodies, and souls."
Some, like Kat, see yoga as the union of man and nature; that our breathing mimics the flows of the natural world. Animal poses remind us that we are connected with all creatures of this beautiful planet.
Yoga and mindfulness, especially when practiced somewhere outside, allow us the primal experience of connection with the trees, the waters, the birds, our own creativity, and, each other.
Just witnessing someone else, lost in quietude, in a pose on a stone ledge, gave me a sense of peace.
I could only imagine what actually participating might do for my addled brain.
So, this summer, I have the opportunity to do just that.
So do you.
Kat and Idaho Adventures are planning a yoga, writing, and whitewater trip down the River Of No Return, the wild and remote Salmon River, and you are invited.
"We are all called to adventure; a call that we must heed. Whether that is running rivers or climbing mountains or facing the mental log jams that are keeping us from being our fullest selves, it is important to carve out time to create deep connection with nature and our strongest and best selves."
Creating space to quiet our minds gives us the opportunity to learn new skills, develop resilience, and create peace and patience that we can take with us back to our ordinary lives, hopefully helping us to move into extra-ordinary futures.
Sitting on a beach watching moving water slows down time, allowing us the chance to truly relax, giving our overtaxed psyches the opportunity to re-calibrate, settle down, balance.
Who doesn't need THAT right about now?
Can you imagine the serenity of quietly sitting by a campfire, developing friendships with new people and new perspectives on life; taking the time to contemplate your own potential and remember that there is more to life than a mile-long to-do list?
All of us in this magical world of river running believe that once you find that bond with the earth and each other, it imprints on your heart and you carry that peace with you through the inevitable turbulence of life.
Yoga opens the door to that connection and learning.
And therein lies the drug.
Peace, contentment, physical movement, joy, all yours for the taking. Combine that with sunshine and laughter, beauty and good food, new friends and adventure and you are bound to go home a happier human being.
We are also including a creative writing component to the trip. Writing exercises will help create the space to put your experiences into words in ways that will help you recall the joy when life's turbulence tries to push it into the background.
The best thing about an Idaho Adventures Yoga Float is that we don't require any prior experience - with yoga, writing, or rafting. You don't need to touch your toes or twist your body into a pretzel. It's okay if you've never slept under the stars at night or splashed through whitewater in a remote mountain canyon, sky filled with eagles and osprey.
You don't need all of the trappings of commercialized yoga - the right leggings, the cool water bottle, your own mat tucked into a fancy carrier with "Namaste" embroidered in rainbow lettering carried over your shoulder.
None of that matters here.
Kat will make sure that you are ready for your very own personal experience with energetic flow. I will encourage your creativity to run with the waters of the Salmon. Idaho Adventures will guarantee that you are ready for your river journey.
All you need is your sense of adventure.
The dates for the trip are not yet set. We are putting this out there now to garner interest. If this is the kind of trip that interests you, please leave us a comment below or even just a thumbs up. You can also reach out to Everett and Jazlyn at IA.
This is not any type of commitment, only information gathering.
If the idea of eating well, nurturing your body and mind, making new friends, and seeing one of the most magical and remote places on this planet interests you, this trip is a great place to begin.
Come spend your days with Kat and the good folks here at Idaho Adventures.
I promise, it will be a life-changing adventure.
Suzanne Strazza is a boater, former guide, award-winning writer, and Mama Suz to many of the Idaho Adventures crew. Her writing has appeared in High Desert Journal, Paddler Magazine, Mountain Gazette, and Inside/Outside Magazine. Her work is included in the recent book, WET: An Anthology of Water Poems and Prose from the High Desert and Mountains of the Four Corners Region, and in the upcoming DIRT. She lives in a remote canyon in Southwest Colorado but spends as much time as possible in Salmon with her kids on the River of No Return.