Yoga, Surf, Travel: An Interview with Sean Gray

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Sean Gray is the newest addition to The Travel Yogi team. He’s smart, sporty, and has the perfect amount of wit and charisma to charm your pants off. With all that being said, let’s get to know this guy!

Born in the Bay area, raised in Santa Monica, Sean’s a true Californian by birth and by nature – he grew up surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, playing sports, and raising hell before he found himself on our radar.

Now, Sean’s doing all things yoga in Santa Monica and beyond. You’ll spot him at YogaWorks and anywhere internationally where the surf is stellar and the sun is hot.

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Your story is so relatable and fun. So tell us, how’d you become to be a yoga teacher?

It was a tough decision, believe it or not, for me to become a yoga teacher. I resisted it. I loved my practice, and I didn’t want it to change. But I knew I needed to do something else with my life because what I was doing was no longer fulfilling me. I was living in Brazil at the time, traveling the country and learning about the culture, when I wrote down my 3 favorite things I like to do- surfing, traveling, and yoga- knowing you can find a way to make a living doing almost anything.

Surfing: I’m a good surfer, but I’m no Kelly Slater, and the idea of starting a surf school wasn’t for me.

Traveling: I started a travel blog, and started to build some momentum, but learned pretty quickly that you need to have an established travel lifestyle in order to earn a living doing it, and I needed something more immediate.

Yoga: I didn’t want to do it, I liked my practice how it was, but I wasn’t about to start a new list because I didn’t want things to change.

I love yoga, and because there was some resistance I knew there was change and growth ahead of me. So I found a teacher training led by someone that I respected, and I signed up. After we covered the safety part of the training I started giving free privates to friends and family to gain experience, and as soon as the training was over I was offered three classes on the schedule at the studio the training was held at. Then another studio gave me some classes, and then another, and the rest is history.

Describe yourself in 5 words… Ready, set, go!

Fun, spontaneous, open, intense, and adventurous.

What do you never leave the house without?

A good book. You never know when you’re going to have some time to kill, and I’d rather do it while learning something than on an electronic device.

Any advice on how to speak, “surfer dude?”

Yes, don’t :). Just be your truth. You can ask or talk about surf and surfing all you want, but don’t quote your favorite cheesy surfer lingo you heard in a movie in order to impress. It doesn’t. Authenticity goes a long way. Namaste.

You’re living a life where all THREE of your passions (yoga, surf, travel) are in harmony with one another. Describe to us the moment when you realized all your work finally had paid off.

It was while I was in Nicaragua leading my first yoga/surf retreat when the realization hit me. It was a magical moment. We had just finished surfing 2-3 feet overhead waves all to ourselves at a secluded spot, and I was talking to someone about how I came to be a teacher and BAM – I’m living my ideal life!

 

Ok, now for the arguably fun part… This or that, we want to know.

Pumping iron or plank offs? – Neither. I haven’t lifted a weight in over a decade, and there’s no competition in my practice. It’s challenging enough without the need to torture myself or others to prove something.

Bartending or acting: Acting. It was a lot of fun while I was actually working, and it took me to some very beautiful places in the world.

S’up bro or Aloha: S’up bro, definitely. Love me some aloha, but I’m a California boy and I gotta keep it real.

Soufflé or Pâté? – Both. If it’s delicious bring it on.

Ashtanga or Acro: Ashtanga, all the way. Acro is fun, but with Ashtanga it’s just me and my breath. It really allows me to tap into the more subtle layers of my being.

 

You have been known to say, “It may be an uncomfortable ride from time to time, but there is no growth in comfort,” why is this so important to share with your friends and yogis?

Each one of us is constantly going through changes, and change is always accompanied with some form of discomfort. Whenever we get on our mats we are creating the space for change within our practices, giving ourselves the chance for growth. Learning how to breathe through these uncomfortable “positions” in our practices, in our lives, we can move through the changes with a little more ease. Helping us enjoy this ride called LIFE a little more.

What are your thoughts on “excuses?”

They are self inflicted limiting factors that keep us comfortable with how things are, causing stagnation in our movement towards balance. The excuses I’ve given in the past have turned out to be where the most growth has been.

If we were to yoga-it-out with you, what could we expect? Sweaty? Sweet? All the above?

You can expect to have the space where you can courageously move through your practice with a smile, while sweating your asana off!

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Ha! Well, you’ve got us hooked. And if you are anything like us, you’re probably feeling the same! So, keep in the loop with Sean… Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

He is leading his first retreat with us to the quasi-secret, much envied Pacific coast of Panama for some of the best surf in the world. Get ready for the ultimate Yoga Surf retreat! You’ll break away from your daily routine and get back to your center and relax in bliss.

Travel and adventure on yogis!

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