Kiteboarding as a spiritual practice: Zen, mindfulness, universal rules of being

I first tried kiteboarding in May 2016, so I’m actually something of a novice at this sport. But being a beginner has its advantages: When you try something completely new, you’re fully focused on what you’re doing. You could say that you’re 100% present in the moment, and this heightened, intense state is precisely when all profound spiritual moments occur.

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Every second, every breath, every tiny sensation that your body experiences becomes so much more spiritual. It’s not simply a matter of novelty, or the fact that you are locked in a state of deep concentration. Kiteboarding itself is all about life. The guidance for manipulating the kite brought to mind those universal truths and rules for life described in the Bible, Buddhist texts, the Kabbala, and many other spiritual books that I’ve read.

This topic merits a series of articles. While the topic of kiteboarding is in itself interesting, one of the central missions of this portal is to help you, the reader, to explore new things in life. This is not simply a matter of physical experience, but of spiritual development. ‘Being present’, a concept also explored elsewhere on this site, is a key to opening your mind – and soul – to the unknown, the unexpected and the wondrous.


To kick off this series, this brief article sums up a few of my ‘spiritual takeaways’ from my very first kiteboarding lessons.

When we’re confronted with the unexpected, whether a strong blast of wind or stress in life, we instinctively try to increase our level of control over the situation… It’s a completely normal mental reaction. To a degree, we’re all control freaks, but does fanatically trying to assert our authority over a situation actually help?

  1. Kiteboarding taught me to let go: Allow the situation unfold, and observe before trying to change anything. The Universe will help you to accomplish you task, or at least will save you from broken arms, legs, ribs and heart….
  2. No need to rush. You will achieve what you want to if you keep doing it, but do it slowly; one step and one breath at a time.
  3. No matter what you planned, you will reach the right level when it’s meant to be. Not earlier, not later. My advice? Stay calm and keep doing what you’re doing.
  4. Slow down all your movements, and decisions, but always be ahead of the kite in your mind. Substitute ‘kite’ for ‘project’, and you can see my point!
  5. You can choose a direction, but you can’t predict how exactly the movement will be executed. The wind could change any time, and you have to be agile enough to respond to its capriciousness. In kiteboarding you have to be consciously present 100% of the time, and this is hugely important in other areas of life too. Fretting about uncertainty is both wasteful and dangerous. Save your energy for the moves you need to make, and don’t expend it on worrying. Learn to ‘go with the flow’, but gently steer yourself in the right general direction.
  6. I was instructed not to over-tense my hands when steering the kite. Similarly, try not to over-think, worry too much, or micro-manage. These are all a waste of energy, and time.
  7. The kite and wind will do everything for you, if you just stop fighting it. The lesson here is to work with the powerful forces that you encounter in life, rather than against them: Do this successfully, and you will fly.
  8. Finally, when kiteboarding I had to be highly attentive to the other kiters’ around me. Likewise, when interacting with people in life or in business, try to coordinate, collaborate and communicate. Competition could easily kill both parties.

These are just a few life lessons that I drew from my first kiteboarding experience.

What do you think?

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