By Elise Joan

Photos by Patricia Pena

dec14_adventures_elisejoanI’ve learned that there is neither magic nor adventure found in our comfort zone. The magic happens on the edge. In this spirit, I faced my own fear of heights (read: fear of falling from heights) by trekking to the very top of Point Dume and standing out on the edge—the very edge.

So, on the very edge of the highest, most jagged rock I sat down in sukhasana for my winter meditation. With eyes closed and hands in prayer, I began to breathe. With each exhale I focused on releasing all that I needed to let go of in order to make space for my new and evolving intentions. There, on the literal edge of death, I killed off that which no longer serves my highest purpose. I exhaled self-judgment, and inhaled self-love. I exhaled people and situations that no longer serve me, and inhaled space for those who would love, accept, and elevate me.

I then opened my eyes to take in the great beauty of the cliffs. There were thick, billowing grey clouds, ominously promising a rain we so desperately needed. Smashing against the rocks below, there was a loud and turbulent tide that was equally terrifying and enticing. Out in the distance I could see still blue waters, which promised peace on the horizon.

I expanded my meditation to all the sensations around me, and welcomed them into my experience, becoming one with nature itself. I felt a cool breeze blow through my hair, and heard the song of seals below, harmonizing with the rolling waves. I inhaled the sticky salt air and felt the spray of the ocean as it crashed against the jagged rocks beneath me.

On this beautifully secluded and dangerous cliffside, at one with my fears, I felt the old die away, making a glorious space for all my New Years’ intentions. I reflected on the power of the famous quote by Albert Camus, “In the depth of Winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Elise Joan is an LA yoga teacher who teaches at Equinox and Exhale (among other locations). She created an online yoga/fitness site that lets you build and save your own yoga and workout playlists from 10 minutes to two hours: