He’s known for his surfer-cool approach to power yoga, spontaneous relaxation sites, coining the term “bliss army” and Y.E.S. (yoga, ecology, and surf) retreats. Lucky for us, Eoin Finn‘s shared his insights, and a copy of his new DVD, In Pursuit of Happy Hips, with Joy Yoga readers. *details on winning that DVD are below.
What came first: yoga or surfing?
Interestingly, I learned them both the same year back in 1987 in my first year of university. I often think that the person I was then would be so stoked if he could look at the path I am on now and how both these two passions have helped create a lifestyle that affects many in a positive way.
How do the two come together for you?
Yoga is an inward journey that leads you to a still place. A place inside that is waiting for all of us. The source of great wisdom and a feeling that we are all one connected network of life. This brings great joy.
Surfing leads you to the same place through an outward journey. You actually go outwards into the world and embrace it. You take in the wonders and splendors of each sunset, of dolphins swimming underneath you, of the gifts of Nature. This opens you up to the same mystical experience that we are all one. Furthermore, to not feel the awe and wonder of being alive for just one day is a shame because this thing called life is so precious.
As the Sufis put it, we should be continuously intoxicated with so much splendor around us and inside us. My yoga and surfing intoxicate me with Bliss.
Can you talk a bit about your involvement with yoga training for athletes?
Sure. I am an avid athlete myself. Even though I think the major gift of yoga is it’s ability to open you up to your heart’s wisdom, it is amazing physically because it can help you learn bio-mechanical principles that can allow the body to function better for many years to come.
I personally believe that yoga can help athletes perform at a peak level for at least two years more than they could without yoga. There are a lot reasons for this: it helps the joints stay aligned which minimizes wear and tear; it helps to fix physical imbalances from repetitive movement patterns; it helps to integrate the body and the nervous system so movements can be efficient; and it brings about the ability to remain calm when the pressure is on during sporting activities.
I have worked with a lot with Olympians, World Cup athletes and professional athletes of all sorts. They all comment about how yoga makes a huge difference.
I feel better now at sports at 41 than I did at 20, when men are supposed to reach their athletic peak. It’s not true. We can keep our skills as we age.
Can you share the best quick-and-easy yoga tip in your roster, that people can take into their daily lives off the mat?
Yeah, I would say to be mindful of all the interconnections we have at all times. In the physical yoga practice, we are trying to integrate body and mind for maximum wellness instead of just having the mind and Ego running the show. We start to tune into to our bodies and realize that this is a network of 70 trillion cells communicating to each other. They can feel dull and disconnected to each other or alive and vibrant. Physical Yoga is the art of tuning into body feedback in order to increase the positive vibrations in every cell.
Once you see this pattern, just replicate it in all relationships. See your friends and family as an interconnected group of cells that need to be listened too and guided by love and wisdom. See your community and the whole Earth Community the same way. Lastly view Nature as perhaps the most important one of all since it is the container for all the other relationships to prosper.
We try and recognize that too many egos out of control is what affects all the health of all these levels of relationship. What we need is more Love, more feeling of connection to others. You don’t have to look anywhere for this Love. Just close your eyes and breath. It’s right there. You just have to relax and let it flow.
Can you share 5 books, or DVDs, websites, or podcasts, that inspire you?
That’s interesting because I was just refining the books on our teacher’s training list.
1) I have to mention Jospeh Campbell’s Power of Myth for a few reasons. It was the book that inspired me to get into yoga when I was a teenager and still remains the most influential of my life. He talks about how we all have a Calling. Mine is to find strategies to manifest more Love on the Planet. To find down to earth solutions and make them relevant to the modern era. The underlying gist of Campbells‘ work is that there are only a few basic themes that repeat themselves in the myths, art and religions of all world culture. He talks about yoga as a great example of the mystical experience. Pick it up and scour it.
2) Power vs Force by David Hawkins is a great read that speaks to me a lot. The first 75 pages are thick and pedantic, but once you make it through that you will find a great map for the different levels of consciousness and how each level can affect what we attract into the lives of ourselves and others. Such maps are important otherwise we can drift through life like a cork.
3) Parabola magazine is brilliant because it takes a theme every month and gives stories and myths from different traditions about this topic. I love the voice it gives to so many different religions and philosophies. We need more awareness of other people’s cultures. To learn from all the other wisdom traditions and not just the great Yoga tradition of India
4) The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki. David Suzuki is my hero and this book is a must for Yogis. I have to say that it is my goal to write like he does because he stokes your passion about Nature both cerebrally and in a heart way. He can make complicated topics easy to understand and exciting. I want to do this for the Love movement. What I really like about this book though is the way he talks about how we are all made up of the four great elements. It adds a whole new dimension to your yoga class and it is what I am trying to offer in our Yoga and Ecology workshops. Yoga is Ecological.
5) Can I mention Avatar the movie? It brings up the Blissology mission of finding the perfect balance of our selfish desires and balancing them out with our impact on the web of life. The selfish desires in my mind can be seen as the European conquest for more land, more territory, more resources. We all have it. Then you have to balance this with the contentment of the original yogis who sat peacefully for hours everyday by the edge of a river. They felt a part of the web of life.
Avatar tells this same important message about a group of ego dominant people taking resources and disregarding lesser races and whole ecosystems. What is brilliant is it is cased in the form of entertainment. Most people in the world don’t want heavy philosophy, they want a nice life for themselves, their families and to just be entertained. When we can mix the message of Love vs. Selfishness with entertainment, it is exactly the type of mythology we need for modern times. It brings us back to the first book I mentioned and the teachings of Joseph Campbell.
Share your ‘how to get happy hips’ tip via the comments section, and be entered to win a copy of Eoin’s new DVD: The Pursuit of Happy Hips.