Bodhi Surf + Yoga is partnering with the Wander Well Podcast to share some of the transformational stories coming out of the Bodhi experience. Bodhi is the Sanskrit word for awakening and each week, we strive to bring our guests closer to themselves and to nature. As for me — I’m Katie, the producer and host of Wander Well Podcast. I volunteered as a content creator (and so much more) for Bodhi last year. Now, I run a podcast and am using it to remain connected to the Bodhi Tribe. Over the next while, we will be posting stories based on the interviews that I have conducted with several women that came to Bodhi expecting to learn how to surf and practice yoga, but ended up with so much more.
The first woman on the list is Jen Whalen, creator of True North Adventures.
Connecting to Bodhi
Jen first learned about Bodhi through Travis Bays, one of the four owners. Jen and Travis went to college together at the University of San Diego. During Bodhi’s inception, Jen was living in Alaska dreaming of running a women’s retreat. She stayed in touch with Travis via social media, and kept a close eye on Bodhi’s growth. Jen said she felt like Bodhi was calling her all the time. Finally, in November of 2017 she and four friends come to Bodhi to test drive her women’s retreat. Jen had been brainstorming and planning her Be DAREful women’s retreat and needed a place to host it.
Jen and her four friends showed up ready to receive in a deep way. She explained that “wherever you are inside yourself when you show up there, that will be the level of experience that you receive”. They showed up ready to play and adventure.
The Be DAREful women’s retreat
Jen accounts that the Bodhi staff “supported that in so many beautiful ways”. She loved how the lessons flowed together, the marriage of surfing and yoga. She was impressed how closely their business model was tied to nature. As surf educators, they always keep an eye on the ocean tides and conditions. Sometimes the weekly schedule has to change with only a day’s notice, and the Bodhi staff has this process down perfectly. Jen said that “each day was so thoughtful” and seamless.
The Bodhi experience comes with five surf lessons. Travis was the surf instructor the week Jen visited, and he left quite an impression on the ladies. “Travis slowed it way down so when it came time to getting in the water we were just in a really good place about it. I actually understood what we were looking at out there and how things were working and how I was going to be working in cooperation with that. It felt so empowering”.
Being DAREful in the ocean
Jen then tells the story of their first surf day when Travis asked the ladies if they wanted to go in and surf or if they wanted to do an activity that really connected them with the ocean first. Naturally, they chose the latter.
He instructed them to lay face down in the water and allow the waves to flow over their bodies. They were in the whitewash so the waves were manageable but the ladies thought Travis was crazy. It terrified them. But they did it anyways.
“I swear, it was a transformational experience. Laying down in the water and experiencing the peace that was underneath the water… and how I could actually sense the waves coming and then going and then there was peace again. I had been trying to surf for 20 years and up until that time I’d always experienced the surface level disturbance of the ocean as being so scary… this thing I had to fight against that was constantly trying to kill me was really the orientation that I had”.
For the first time, Jen and her friends experienced peace in the ocean. Jen explains that she realized “what’s on the surface is not at all indicative of what goes on under water. It was so powerful”. Jen’s curiosity was piqued and she realized that she had a lot to learn. Her biggest takeaway from her surf lessons was the emotional intelligence of her instructor. Travis was able to read the situation, notice the women were nervous, and provide curriculum to get them more comfortable in the water before learning to surf the waves.
A caring environment
Jen was scared to go out and surf, but she felt the support and care of her friend Travis. Bodhi Surf + Yoga embodies the value of care. They care for their guests, they care for the environment, and they care for their local community.
Jen hosted a second women’s retreat at Bodhi in November of 2018, and I wanted to know why she chose Bodhi over the many beautiful places between San Diego and Costa Rica.
“It’s exciting for me as a business owner to partner with other people who value the earth, and care for the earth the way that I do. And being able to bring 12 ladies down there to do the retreat… I feel so excited to introduce them to my family down there, that’s how it feels!”
Jen says the lodge is the perfect place to merge the outer adventure with the inner expedition.
- Read some reflections about Jen’s 2018 Be DAREful women’s retreat here.
- Listen to my full interview with Jen here.
Keep an eye out for more transformational experience blogs and podcasts via the Wander Well Podcast. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing the stories of women transformed by Bodhi Surf + Yoga and the work they are doing to spread their awakened experience to the world.
Written by Katie Jones