Leah Nicole Tisdale
Salsa Dancing Surfini in Sayulita
While Leah is doer and lover of all things yoga, paddle boarding, surf, SUP yoga, we think the raddest thing about Leah is her spicy salsa dancing skills! It's easy to connect with Leah as her light-hearted and laidback nature makes you feel instantly at ease. Leah's cheeky vibes keeps her mysterious, interesting and a ton of fun. Leah grew up in Vancouver, B.C, Canada and before moving to Sayulita, Mexico, lived in Boulder, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York. She currently lives between Sayulita and Vancouver, offering surf camps and yoga retreats with her partner-in-crime Eva and their newly launched Las Diosas company. Check them out!
What she said:
When did you decide to make surfing part of your lifestyle?
When I was a teenager, I worked in a surf shop in Vancouver, B.C. (Ironic ‘cause there’s no waves!) and used to tell my mum all I wanted to be was a surfer and Roxy model! (Laughable, I know) I graduated high school and flew to Australia to learn how to surf, and was bitten by the surf bug then, around the same time I started practicing yoga. SUP & SUP yoga came in the last few years in Mexico, when I got super inspired by the Mexican SUP National team that lives and trains here in Sayulita. Although some of my surf friends think it’s cheesy, I love the practice of yoga on the water! Ebb & flow of asana and Ocean blend perfectly.
What helps you get in the flow?
Besides yoga and surfing, I’m a big fan of dance, my latest obsession being Latin partner dancing. Salsa, bachata and cha cha cha are so beautiful to watch and practice. The energy exchange between partners is one that invites you to stay in the present moment constantly, so as to stay in the flow, with the rhythm of the music, and not get off beat. I love West African dance too, and writing poetry, even great conversation, eating and belly-laughing. Anything that invokes the Divine!
How do you integrate what is going on when you’re in the flow into your mind and spirit? Does it stay with you after or is it a fleeting moment?
For me, staying close to the breath, and checking in with my heart and gut as often as I can, are always helpful, on or off the mat, in or out of the water. Though I’m human, so often times I re-find the heart of flow AFTER I’ve had a melt down or spaz out! But with practice, at least coming back to peace happens quite quickly these days (most days).
Favorite books and why?
I’m a big fan of poetry, my favourite poets are Essex Hemphill, Reinaldo Areanas and Jack Kerouac. The Beat writers will always be close to my heart, especially Allen Ginsberg, as he helped set up the college I attended, Naropa University, in Boulder, CO, and he was so unapologetically himself. I also reference A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson a lot, and there’s always something “new” I haven’t read before in it. Love that.
What was your initiation into wave riding?
The first waves I ever caught were off the East Coast of Australia when I was 17 years old. I was deathly afraid of sharks, and pretty sure I was going to be eaten alive, but the high of surfing has always been enough to keep me paddling back out.
How has your yoga practice/surfing/travelling changed your perspective in the world?
I’ve never been one to hold onto “things” for very long. I’m “stuff” claustrophobic! That’s always been helpful as an avid traveller, I can give things to others where I am, gain new experiences, and it’s win/win. My carbon footprint is pretty light, and I guess I take pride in that. Practicing yoga and surfing only make my natural inclinations stronger, and louder, a helpful reminder to enjoy the experience, and keep it moving.
To get in touch with or learn more about Leah and her Surf Yoga company Las Diosas:
Website: Las Diosas
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Writers: help us help others get in the flow. Travellers: share your journeys and adventures. Teachers: share your wisdom and experiences with us. Must have a passion for wavesliding/SUP, yoga, travel or sustainable tourism.