In The Flow with Erica Hartnick
Nov 26, 2014
Erica is the soulful adventuress who founded Yoga Trade - a community building website that connects yoga teachers to work-trade opportunities around the world. Hailing from California, some of her own work-trade adventures include teaching yoga at surf resorts in Morocco and the Mentawai Islands and volunteering on a sustainable yoga farm in Costa Rica. We find out about Erica's connection with surfing, yoga and 'flow.'
What led you to create Yoga Trade?
After completing yoga teacher training at Yandara Yoga Institute, I had a strong passion for two things: to gain yoga teaching experience and to learn more about surfing. I decided to blend these together by proactively seeking out places via the internet that intrigued me and sent them emails asking if they could use a yoga teacher on a “work exchange/volunteer” basis. Through many emails and perseverance I was able to connect to teaching opportunities in Costa Rica at Encanta La Vida in Morocco at Surf Maroc, and Indonesia at Togat Nusa. Several years later with a lot more yoga teaching and surfing experience under my belt I realized that there was still a need for a yoga job/volunteer board online. I also noticed a lack of a quality online resource or community for yoga teachers. One day while on a travel adventure in Bali, my good friends Pat and Christie - who manage the Yoga Farm in Costa Rica - and I were all enjoying dragon fruit smoothies and decided to start Yoga Trade together, the vision was born!
What connections have you made between surfing and yoga, if any?
So many! Sometimes I contemplate if surfing has taught me more about yoga than yoga has. I look to the ocean as one of my greatest gurus.
First the obvious and physical; that keeping strong, limber, and a healthy mind, body, and spirit thru a daily practice can really benefit your surfing. Just like anything in life, yoga and surfing are about practice and devotion! You will get as much out of yoga or surfing as you put in. It is about keeping a beginner’s mind and knowing that the only way we can grow and learn is thru experience. It is about finding the balance between work and play, awareness, and patience. Surfing and yoga are both about tapping into that deep connection to nature and our Selves. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have surfing and yoga in my life.
In what ways did you find flow in your life before you discovered yoga and surfing?
I have always been a lover of being active outdoors. I spent a lot of time playing volleyball, running, biking, and snowboarding prior to yoga and surfing coming into my life. I have always sought to find flow with the rhythms of nature, through sports, and by connecting with other people. I also have always liked to be spontaneous and have always been the one up for adventures when opportunities knock.
How has your life changed since?
Since discovering yoga and surfing I am continuing to understand the deeper meanings of flow. Now I look at the word it as meaning presence. Fully being in the moment and finding focus without letting past or future thoughts cause distraction. Right now the word flow to me signifies a balance of control and surrender. We must put in a lot of hard work and consistent practice but also be able to let go and surrender to the present moment. Through surfing and yoga I feel I can now better 'enjoy the ride' through the highs and lows, and that 'flow' doesn’t always have to be physical.
I have learned that life is not always roses, but being able to find balance and strength through the good times and bad times is what flow is all about.
Surfing and yoga have allowed me to find more appreciation for the practices of patience, stillness, dedication, acceptance, and oneness. And these practices all lead to meaningful flow and freedom.
What are you hoping to achieve through Yoga Trade?
Our vision is to create a community and online resource for yoga teachers and students to allow members to connect to worldwide yoga jobs, volunteer travel opportunities, and work exchange gigs. We often find ourselves saying to friends that the world is full of amazing opportunities and possibilities and that there is a path for everyone if you follow your bliss! Our goal in creating Yoga Trade is to make it one step easier for you on your own path, wherever it may be taking you next. We also want to inspire others to make a difference in the world and to hope to encourage the practice of Seva; the act of doing work selflessly for the people and the community and expecting nothing in return. The more we give in this world, the more we will receive!
The Quick Guide to Erica H.
Favorite style of yoga?
Heart inspired hatha flow
Short boarding or long boarding?
Right now really enjoying short boarding….I see learning some graceful cross stepping maneuvers on a long board in the near future
Favorite place to surf?
I love surfing new places! Backwash on the Osa in Costa Rica holds a special place in my heart.
and practice yoga?
I love practicing on open air yoga decks in the rainforest
3 things you always pack on your travels
Looking for more inspo from Erica?
Better yet - if you’d like to hang in person, she is offering an incredibly juicy retreat coming up:
Yoga & Culinary Extravaganza! Osa, Costa Rica, January 18-25, 2015 - http://www.ericahartnick.com/costa-rica/
(The Yoga Farm offers free community classes in Spanish, and we hope to one day offer a Yoga Teacher Training for Costa Rican locals!)
Erica grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Nevada City, California and enjoys all things wild and free. She is grateful for having the opportunity to live a life of adventure and exploration. Things that excite Erica: LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature's glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. Her passion lies in sharing her lifestyle choices with others and inspires people to choose health, happiness, and peace.
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