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Getting a discount on inner peace
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But gas is an expense. We haven't owned the CRV for a year, yet already he's racked up 25,000 miles, and roughly 7,000 can be attributed to surfing escapades. Kevin goes as far north as Indialantic and as far south as Palm Beach, a 90-mile span of coastline. But he doesn't set out until he logs on the Internet to check the wave outlook and buoy readings at his favorite surf spots. If it looks promising, he's out before daybreak and back usually before noon unless it's an "epic day."

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I don't exactly understand what compels him to immerse himself for hours at a time in an aggressive sea, slapped around by saltwater that invades every orifice of his body -- stinging his eyes, ears and nose. Why does he put up with the glaring sun, made ever more intense by the water's reflection? What makes it worthwhile to sit among the sharks, his live-bait legs dangling off the board like an open invitation for lunch?

I don't know, but I don't try to stop him.

That zeal for surfing is tangible among those who love the challenge of skillfully maneuvering within the dynamic force of nature. It's captured in the documentary "Step Into Liquid," in which journalist Steve Hawk concedes that surfing cannot be called a productive pursuit. But, he says, "I can paddle out in a much different, better mood than I do when I get into the water. And if that somehow translates into my life, and I end up being a happier, nicer person as a result, I guess you could argue that surfing is good for society."

"And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless."

An ancient discipline
Some may be attracted to practicing yoga because of its fitness benefits, and then discover that there's much more to it.

"Surfing is yoga. Meditation is yoga. Taking a walk on the beach -- that's yoga," says Scott Feinberg, a registered yoga instructor who teaches at Grace Yoga in Stuart, Fla., and Barefoot Yoga in Jupiter, Fla.

I had taken yoga at the local Y in Chicago Heights when I was 25, but then when I moved from Illinois to Florida, I'd left it behind. I rediscovered it last December.

The hatha yoga practice involves breathing deeply through the nose, emulating the sound of the ocean as you assume various postures, known as asanas. Vinyasa yoga requires you to flow from one posture to the next while maintaining the ocean-breath, integrating balance, alignment, flexibility and strength through the practice.

Feinberg counts several yoga disciplines besides hatha, including raja, bhakti, karma and jnana yoga, as different ways to "create union." Hatha yoga, the predominant form practiced in the U.S., helps you turn your focus inward, "plumbing the depths of your body, mind, spirit and emotion to reveal that which lies within, which is said to be divine," he says.

 
 
Next: "How much should this cost?"
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