Girls Who Rip: Surfer Yogi Carly Chivers
Carly is a beautiful soul based in San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico. She is a ripping surfer, an awesome yoga teacher, and runs surf coaching and wellness retreats throughout the year. We love her positive energy and are stoked to share her wisdom!
Why did you start yoga? surfing?
I started practicing yoga regularly in 2004 but my mom introduced me to the world of yoga and Buddhist practices as an adolescent. I started snowboarding in 1999 which as a Canadian, was my gateway drug (ha) to my surfing journey which began in 2008!
What motivates you?
In the surfing realm - pushing myself to surf bigger, more powerful waves and the desire to continue to progress keeps me physically motivated. That focus helps me to stay strong and agile, so that I am ready to paddle out and charge whenever I can. Otherwise what motivates me to continue on my path is my perspective on life and having my values defined (and also flexible/open to learning and new perspectives). This inner conversation supports me to stay focused and keeps things in perspective even when I feel like I am losing the way. For me today that means honouring this life as a sacred one. I view this walk as a spiritual one. That I am a soul residing in this human form to learn, grow, love and experience all that comes with being embodied as a human, to experience my own divinity and the divinity of all life on this planet as we fly through space and time together. That we are of nature, and inevitably that leads me to the never ending dance and relationship with the source of nature, of life and all that manifests into being. This perspective helps remind me to be and extend love in as many directions as possible in this world, in nature, and with fellow humans, especially when things get sticky. I find such joy in being a support to others as they walk the path home to their own hearts and explore their own reasons for being or understanding of our existence on this planet.
What's your #1 self-care tip?
To be kind and gentle to myself. So often I find in our externally focused world, with goals, and external markers of success (which are fun and helpful ways to stay motivated and achieve), I can be drawn in to a cycle of self criticism and judgement. That feeling of not being good enough, successful enough, fit enough. ETC! My most powerful shift in that sphere is softness and gentleness with myself. Acknowledging that voice, like wow I hear you, okay. And then a reality check. Is that really true? What do I actually need here. More often than not, it is a hug (self hugs are sweet), some stillness and the invitation to allow ease and doing nothing to be enough. Stillness, yin yoga, rolling on the floor on my yoga mat or snuggling my dog are all nods in this direction. None of those things serve as another thing that I HAVE to do in order to take care of myself or another thing to add to the list- It is just a surrender, an allowance, an invitation to just be exactly as I am in that moment. Wooff that is a relief!
What are some of your 2020 goals?
To start my personal practice as a counseling therapist. I graduate in June 2020 and will hopefully be licensed and ready to practice by the fall/winter! GOAL!
Also to get really, really barrelled. Lol. Always a goal.
What's your top tip for someone thinking about starting to surf?
GO FOR IT! You are never too old to try. It is all about having fun and enjoying the ocean. If you are curious and want to try, just go for it. I try to remind beginners that it is about the feeling and not the actual act. Riding a wave all the way in on your belly? SICK!!! That is surfing. Riding with that wave energy. It really is such a gift to get to play and experience the ocean in this way, so micro focusing on that joy is a great place to start from! Surfing can be challenging to learn as an adult, so allowing yourself to be a beginner and celebrating the fact that you are out there in the water, moving your body and enjoying the ocean really helps! Expectations and a lot of self pressure can take the fun right out of such a magical experience.
What do you do to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly?
Reduce my consumption in general. Buy less. Evaluate if I REALLY need something and opt to borrow or shop second hand instead or better yet, simply go without. We need so much less than we think. Reduce my consumption of single use plastics. Come ready with an arsenal of reusable bags, cups, water bottles, food containers etc. This is a huge one when traveling. I really try to be mindful when visiting remote locations, leaving a pile of plastic bottles in your wake is not cool. Honouring the power of our consumer dollars. The companies we support really matter, so I try where I can to choose companies with ethically sourced, organic materials, and who are plastic free. Also supporting local, small businesses is fun, has less of an impact environmentally and just feels good. Specific to surfing I use the sunscreen AVASOL which has a cardboard packaging. Since I can go through a tube of sunscreen in one week if I am surfing a lot- supporting a company that has quality, organic, ethically sourced ingredients and no plastic brings me SO MUCH JOY!
Who or what inspires you?
Seeing people follow their dreams inspires me. When I see people that have a vision and then actively step in the direction of that vision and put it into action, eeee! That is SO inspirational to me! I am lucky enough to have many people in my life that embody that! Most inspirational to me is when I see women carving out those paths for themselves.
How do you deal with bad vibes or disrespect in the lineup?
Kindness. I learned this insight originally from Holly Beck, a professional surfer. To be friendly, and just say hello to people. It sounds so obvious and sometimes we forget that simple human acknowledgment when we are in the heat of the moment in a line up of pumping surf or a localized spot. I try to be kind, share waves, support/cheer on other people when I see them ripping. I also remind myself to view the ocean with an attitude of abundance. I live by the ocean and get to surf on the regular and waves as far as I have experienced in my life to this point are an infinite resource, there is always another day, or more waves. This helps lighten my own internal pressure and heaviness if a line up is starting to feel like a drag. I find just as aggression can spread quickly through a line up, someone out there spreading good vibes, laughing, making jokes and complimenting people can also transform a vibe pretty quickly.
How do you crosstrain in your down time?
Yoga, weight lifting, hiking, bodysurfing and lots of mobility work, rolling etc for rehab. I try to move everyday and mix up what I do to keep it fun, interesting and challenging.
What's your advice for preventing or dealing with injuries?
Rest, hydrate, and take good care of them. Do a little bit of rehab/physiotherapy/stretching daily to prevent injuries or support injuries you already have. We have a family friend that says for every year of life you have, you should do 1 minute daily of rehab/therapy for your body. I am not that vigilant but notice more and more the daily need for stretching, rolling and mobility to continue injury free and physically able.
What's something you're really proud of?
Going back to school three years ago to study Therapeutic Counseling. I spent a lot of my 20s surfing and traveling the world and had the goal of continuing my studies in psychology since I left college in my early 20s. To come all the way back around to it at 29 was a huge step for me, I am proud that I committed to it. I have been studying online and traveling intermittently to Vancouver for practical hours that passed three years and it has required some lifestyle shifts and sacrifices. Pat on the back! Also a big shout out and thanks to my husband who has supported me on so many levels with this journey back into student world.
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