Dark Night of the Soul

A visit to see the turtles!

Turtles!

Recently, the Hridaya Yoga students took our annual night off for a visit to see the turtles laying their eggs at the nearby Escobilla Beach Reserve. We gathered close to sunset to start the 30-minute trip to the reserve.

As we piled snugly into the back of pickup trucks, stories of last year’s outing were joyously being shared. How, in their meditative state, cultivating all of their manipura determination, the three hundred pound mother turtles emerged heroically from the ocean, onto the sand, and across the beach to lay their eggs.

As we arrived, my excitement and expectations were bubbling. My glowing face was eagerly anticipating welcoming the mother turtles onto the beach. To my surprise, there were not any turtles in sight. Suddenly I felt a wave of disappointment wash over me. Then I remembered the lecture I attended earlier in the week about santosha. What a great opportunity to practice contentment!

While we missed the sight of all the hard-working female turtles digging holes in which to lay their eggs, we were able to see a few of the recently-hatched turtles start their journey to the sea. We learned that the babies break out of their shells approximately forty centimeters under the earth. They form a train all working together, pushing each other closer and closer to the stop. Once finally breaching the surface, it takes on average eight hours for the baby turtles to journey the few meters from their nest to the ocean. The odds are against them–they face dangers on land and sea, and of the thousands born only a small number survive each year.

Seeing the new hatchlings slowly poking their tiny heads out of the sand was one of the most beautiful moments I have experienced since my time here. What could have been regarded as a failure of an outing, actually exceeded my expectations by remembering the yogic niyamas. Opportunities to practice are all around us! Thank you, abundant universe!

By Marika Chen

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