Lured to an isle split by the tropic of Cancer, on a visit to a grandmother who has forever called Long Island in The Bahamas home, Brittany Trubridge – or “Britta” as she prefers – discovered then that her life is best lived in tune with each movement and breathe of the sea. For it is there, all these years later, that she and husband William continually dive to new depths. Although, while he regularly descends Dean’s Blue Hole as a current World Champion and double world record holder freediver, she repeatedly dives into herself with the practice of combination yoga and freedivng. A practice she is widely known for teaching in far flung corners of the world during her summer European tours – and one she’ll undoubtedly become known for teaching on the more familiar shores of Long Island. The place where it all began for her. The isle where Caribbean Yoga Retreats is to be born at the start of next month.
My grandmother. I was actually here in The Bahamas, on Long Island, visiting her when I was 7 or 8 years old. She took me out into the ocean in front of their home and taught me how to breathe properly. We just sat there in the ankle deep water and inhaled and exhaled…I remember at that moment a huge storm rolled in and I thought I had done something bad or wrong. Looking back, I think it was the beginning of a huge release.
Years later my soon-to-be mother-in-law took me under her wing and passed the Ashtanga tradition on to me. I think it was her encouragement and positive “scripting” – saying things like, “Oh you’re a natural!” or “Oh, wow, you do that so well, that posture looks so lovely!” – that made me love it. More than loving the yoga I was starting to learn to love “me”…and that was all her. A good teacher can be a reminder of your own innate good and potential. She gave me that and I ran with it, I needed that. I am so grateful to her. I hope that I can do the same for others too.
My yogasana mat. Nag champa. Loud music.
“Letting go”…of everything, all ideals, all beliefs, all expectations, all fears, all attachments, even all joys. Just to simply let everything go and experience what is just exactly as it is…completely vibing with the moment, ebbs flows and all. When you release emotional attachment to the experience everything just flows right through you…to me, this is the meaning of zen.
Eating a fresh coconut cracked open by William. I love moseying out into the living room and receiving this gift of love from both him and the earth. I like to sip on it in silence. It fills me with so much joy. I am totally bathed in love in these moments and I experience so much gratitude. Gratitude feels so good. It’s the best way to start the day.
It depends on if he is training or if he is competing. If he is training, I’m just thinking, “please God, let him come back.” When he surfaces I am overjoyed. I try to act like it doesn’t phase me because my tension will upset him. But to tell the truth I’m scared. I don’t want our love to become a romantic tragedy. I’m not prepared for this type of pain. I am very attached to him. He is the most amazing human I have ever met. He is unparalleled. I want us to grow old together very much.
In a way though, dealing with this on a daily basis has become a very powerful lesson in attachment. I am learning to let go, but it’s not easy.
If he’s in competition I am just hoping that his surface protocol is solid. No samba, no blackout, and NOSE CLIP!
In the nook of the cave overlooking Dean’s Blue Hole or on the dive platform while my husband is training. Sometimes though it’s just too hot outside and I need a cool stable environment, so I light the nag champa, turn up the volume – and the A.C. – and just go for it in my living room. I make most of my real progress right here, in the safety and comfort of my living room. I’m a cancer, so for me home really is where the heart is – but it’s important to maintain a balance and to get outside and merge with the elements regularly as well.
I practice Reiki and I really love the Reiki Gokai:
“Do not anger. Do not worry. Be grateful. Devote yourself to your work. Show compassion to every living thing”
It’s kind of an all in one mantra. It reminds me of what’s important, what I need to do, and to keep shooting straight.
Accept. Let go. Forgive. Give.
I also really believe in art. The process of creation, sustaining, destruction and learning how to recognize and move in and out of each of these stages. This is art. Life is art. I come from a family of crazed female artists – my grandmother makes shell art, my mother paints underwater scenery – and makes tons of other things, my sister paints everything from crystals to portraits, my aunt makes teeny tiny figurines and fairy doors, even my mother-in-law is a sculptress and painter. My art is more subtle and started with poetry the grew into writing. In the past few years I’ve been really into taking yoga photos in beautiful locations and redefining the boundaries with it. Underwater yoga has become a real passion of mine. It started with a random collaboration and has birthed into a movement, one I most recently nurtured with underwater photographer Elena Kalis. I believe in creating for the love of creating. For the love of God. For the love of life.
Gozo. This is more because of the people than the location I think – though the location was insanely wonderful too. It was a very small group and myself and freeimmersion.de held a freediving/yoga course on this teeny tiny ancient hippy island. The energy was immense, but so soft and so sweet all at the same time. We were all completely there, in the moment, basking in each others loving energy and the energy that was created amongst us. I have never experienced such gratitude during or after teaching a course like that. I think all of our energies just meshed really well. It was a blessing. I will cherish that experience forever, it really opened something up inside of me.
Because I cannot not do this. I came here as a child and was healed by the nature, healed by the water, the stars, the silence, the solitude, the gentleness and openness of the people. My Grandmother is a native to the island so it’s in my blood. It also lies directly on the tropic of Cancer and as I’m a Cancerian it just vibes really well with my energies. I learned to meditate and breathe here. My yoga, freediving and art developed and blossomed here. I learned to love here – not just others but myself too. And now the time has come to share this magical soul playground with others.
I don’t want Caribbean Yoga Retreats to be huge. I’m not into competing and amplifying. I want to keep it quiet and simple. I’m literally sharing my private life so I am very much infused with this. It needs to be gentle and in tune with who I am so I can give my best and sustain and grow with it. Smaller groups seem to lend to a more authentic experience for me. I’m a very hypersensitive person so large groups can really sap my energy. Authentic energy transference is key. I want to fully experience each person and his or her unique energies. It’s a loving exchange. I think this is important – I think people need this.
I also really want to get out into nature. Communing with nature is the greatest meditation – it’s the most beautiful way that I know of to expand and merge. When we tune into her energies, things seem to find their natural rhythm internally as well.
I hope I can show people the magic, both around them and within them. I want nothing more. It’s a force beyond me…I’m just a vessel.
My island personality is definitely Long Island. For all of the reasons listed above. I’ve been to about six or seven other islands in The Bahamas and I think there is something characteristically soft and sweet about Long Island in comparison. It’s so quiet and gentle. Often other islanders are surprised when I say that I live here because it’s not generally the kind of place that people my age go to live. It’s so far south on the chain and there are only about 4,000 of us here so we really stick together, there’s a lot of sharing and helping that happens here because of that. The sense of community is tight and profound, the people work hard and everyone kind of needs to know how to hold their own. A lot of us have our own gardens and share veggies and fruits, naturally most of the men fish or spear so there’s a lot of sharing of the catch too. I really experienced this sense of unity during the last hurricane. I was shocked at how everyone came together to help board up and prepare for the storm. I was equally shocked when everyone came back together at the end to help repair each other’s damages. It was beautiful, I was really touched. I’m not saying that my personality is all soft, sweet, gentle and altruistic all the time but it is certainly the place that my heart calls to and that I resonate with. Perhaps I’m growing into it.
Thank you Britta for being a part of The Experience,
Clockwise left to right: Yogasana Yoga Mats; Britta in the nook of the cave at Dean’s Blue Hole and by the ocean, by William Trubridge; Britta with coconut in hand, self portrait; Nag Champa Candle; Britta underwater by Elena Kalis Photography.