How Yoga Got Me Through a Near Death Experience

I just got back from a week of camping and my goodness but it was so good to be in nature again. I didn’t realize how much I needed to disconnect from the internet until we were about day three in and I got a distinct feeling that we were really living again.

In fact, I have a bit of a crazy camping story to share with you related to being very much alive…

We decided to rent canoes and go for a 2.5-3.5 hour paddle through 3 different lakes which would require a couple of short portages.

“No biggie,” we thought. “It’ll be fine,” we thought.

While me and my friends were sorting out some important details like who’s packing which snacks into which backpack, Christa (my wife) waited for us by the rental canoes. She was approached by one of the staff at the centre who told her that a thunderstorm “may be coming through in a few hours” but she wasn’t sure when given that it could be moving quickly or slowly our way. She thought we’d have about 3-4 hours on the water before it came in and advised that if the storm rolled through, we should get off the water and seek cover until it passes.

“No biggie,” we thought. “It’ll be fine,” we thought.

So we awkwardly lifted the canoes onto our backs and lumbered down to the water, in the process realizing we had no idea how to do this. Painfully, we did it anyway (you know, like how most new experiences typically go.) We get into the water and also realized we didn’t know how to paddle a canoe and lost a ton of time making zigzags through the water rather than going in a straight line. We got the hang of it by about the half-way mark.

“No biggie,” we thought. “It’ll be fine,” we thought.

But then things took a turn.

By the time we were nearly 3/4 of the way through, the wind started to pick up… Then the sky began to darken and we could heard thunder rolling in the distance. It started to rain lightly and we began to feel nervous. We passed by a small beach and our friend tentatively suggested that “maybe we should pull off there and wait it out.” We decided to keep going a little further, pushing our luck, unsure of what “waiting it out” would really entail.

Then the rain really started coming down. The sky went from dim to dark and the thunder came closer toward us on the horizon, still no lightening though so we weren’t yet in real danger. Thankfully, we had stuck close to the shoreline so when Christa made the executive decision that we had to get off the water, it was a quick maneuver to pull over and tie up the boats to a tree.

We were all standing knee-deep in the now-choppy water, trying to tie our boats up together. As the wind and the rain started to pick up speed more and more the waves grew larger and larger. I could sense that the thin rope we were using to tie up the canoes wasn’t going to hold against rough waters so we again pivoted and decided to untie the boats and in a scramble, bring them to land. The rain was coming down heavily by this point and we were all soaked through to our skin, teeth chattering and bodies shaking. The lightning hadn’t opened up yet but we knew it was only a matter of time before it would and we had to be off the lake.

“We need to stay CALM!” I yelled at the group. In confusion everyone looked back at me saying “We are calm!??” I realized I was the one who wasn’t and needed to resource myself.