Maite Serna Bermejo

I can’t start talking about ocean swimming and yoga without saying THANK YOU to my two mentors Kaye and my sister-in-law Maria as well as to my swimming friends and to the sea.
The vast wild stunning empty beaches of New Zealand could be a little bit scary and challenging for a Basque girl like me, who used to surf with 100 people in the water. So the thought of: “Maite you need to learn how to swim in case you lose your board, not just float”, became stronger. 

I knew my sister-in-law Maria, who is a great swimmer, was ocean swimming with a few friends from Leigh but their speed, level or routes were beyond my possibilities as a beginner.
 
But one beautiful morning she invited me to join a yoga class at Kaye’s home, so that morning was my first ever yoga class and I LOVE IT! What a nourishing flow of energy and body and mind connection.

Lucky enough, all the girls at the yoga group were ocean swimmers and Kaye was full of ideas so she organised a weekend where beginners were welcome to try yoga, swimming, water-colour painting… 

I signed up straight away and there I was at the beach (as ready as Inspector Gadget) with my diving mask, fins, snorkel, flutter board without one bit of embarrassment and with lots of interest!

That was it. I haven’t stopped learning since that day. I don’t rush, I focus on different basic moves to train every time, I ask, observe and learn from the others, I practice the stretches I learned at yoga before and after the swims, I have more adequate swimming gear now but mostly I try to become one with the sea and its creatures.

This excitement was very contagious and now Leigh Swimmers group and my closest girlfriends swim almost every day. It feels soooo good and is such a beautiful activity to share! 

Our girlfriends’ trips have now become duathlon trips! Swimming up to 2kms! Who would have told me that last year! 

Swimming and yoga gives me the inner peace, the silence, the stillness , the now – while moving my body.

And being in the SEA, sharing space with all that life and beauty is a gift that I don’t take it for granted. I am still waiting to swim with the dolphins and orcas! …Maybe that’s my goal.

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