Tenacity | The Paddle of Life


The sun is out but the ocean is icy. My breath forms in the air. I paddle to the wave’s momentum. My body feels stiff as I sluggishly connect my feet to the board. I catch the wave. No amount of yoga is going to unleash my body freezing up like an inflexible figurine. But I love this, riding on mother nature’s powerful canvas. Feeling the feels of being frigid, the water piercing through my wetsuit, yet the warmth on my face, the limitless view before me, and the expansiveness of my breath. I am Right. Here. In. The. Moment.

I wait, with patience, for the next set of waves. I overhear: “Paddle with TENACITY,” a friend directs a new surfer. No matter how cold it is, how intimidating this environment is, the guy paddles with dedication to meet the wave’s power. Surfing takes persistence, you have to paddle with tenacity otherwise the wave will leave you behind, stagnant and void of acceleration from the flow forward. It reminds me of when I learned to surf and the only advice an ex-boyfriend commanded was “paddle really hard.” Simple. Powerful. And true. Paddle with TENACITY.

TENACITY, the word in Latin “tenere” means “to hold.” And is defined as: determination, perseverance, persistence, to grip something, and the quality of continuing to exist.

Where does your persistence exist, today, on sublevels and on a grander scale? It might be on your yoga mat, being a parent, your career, your health, or your relationships. It’s actually happening in every thought, in every action, and all the time. There are threads of tenaciousness in the undercurrents of all that we do. Athletes, such as Olympic professional snowboarder Elena Hight, (see our interview here) has fallen countless times in the half pipe, only to rise, endure, and win her first gold at the X Games this year in Aspen, CO. She steps into her snowboard bindings or on her yoga mat and rises up! She persists with skillful and relentless determination.

As an athlete myself, experiencing wipeouts are standard. They are as familiar as misplacing my car keys, whether it’s surfing, snowboarding, skiing, or in a yoga pose. Some are adorned with bruises, or serious injuries. Others I felt like I was just being knocked down, which led to a break down and then a break up with my old self to climb through reluctance, doubt, and hesitation. And it’s not only athletes who fall hard. Oprah and Steve Jobs fell hard. They both had huge failures in their careers yet they persevered. And I fell. Hard. In physical therapy school. I was a breath away from being eliminated from the program the first semester due to my poor grades. In the moment when something is being taken away from you, almost like a vital organ is suddenly missing, in that instant, that’s the revelation. You realize how much it, or even someone means to you. Becoming a physical therapist was my lifeline (and still is). There was no question, it felt and feels like it’s meant to be. I rose up with a new plan, a new attitude, and a new approach.

There were numerous elements conspiring to aide in my path. For example, a “mind training” program of meditation, equipped with the belief I could make the grades to stay in the program, as well as the ammunition of a study group. A tribe of supportive cohorts who held me up when I thought I couldn’t reach the finish line. I endured through three grueling hardcore years of hours upon hours of studying, countless tests, meticulous projects, demanding internships, and an intense licensing board exam to graduate with practically all straight A’s.

I fell, and I rose.

Peeling back the layers of “bouncing back” comes through a self-discovery process to understand the dynamic intricacies of yourself that you didn’t know existed, the instinctive power beyond explanation that drives your being, an unexplainable profound force that guides your way. Some say, it’s following your heart. It’s like a summer breeze, you can’t see it but you know it’s there. You feel it. You follow it like the wind in the sail to move the boat along.  

Where does tenacity come from? Is it in your DNA? Is it innate? It seems like a resilient micro current influencing our being to keep taking action. To make a stronger connection to yourself. To flow more steadily, more confidently. And practice, over and over. Tenacity comes from the whispers of your soul, the grace of your being to have willingness, and attentive awareness to take action to illuminate your interior light. And practice again…


Vision and optimism coupled with faith and belief keep you in the game. Let go for the ride.

• Fall

• Commit again. Dig deep into your courage, and your motives.

• Rise

• Be compassionate, which means “with patience.” Take your time, slow down, have patience to heal through the injuries, the heartaches, the struggles, etc. The harder you fall, the more potential you have to rise stronger. And overcome. Again.

• Fall

• Be kind to yourself. Fill yourself up with positive things; a good workout, a yummy meal, a hot Epsom salt bath, your favorite yoga class, a new hobby… Engage with life through positive uplifting outlets that feed your soul.

• Rise

• Find support. When you feel lost or helpless, call upon your squad of encouraging friends or a motivated mentor. Connect with them.

• Fall again and rise higher. Step forward assertively, more powerfully and lovingly.

Tenacity involves growth and creating new habits, which requires determination and effort. You may fall over and over. When you get back up, you learn, and you rise stronger. Each time you rise, you commit to THE ride of YOUR LIFE. You follow the pulse of existence, graduating through new endeavors and the adventures within your heart.

To endure the challenges and the changes, persist with tenacity to continue onward and upward with all your heart. Tenacity will carry you when you are willing to put in effort, work, and sacrifice to catch the “waves” that await you. The horizon is limitless.

Paddle with tenacity in life, the ride is really exhilarating and sweet.

With love,



5 Surprising Questions for Body Love

Self-Compassion: The New Self-Esteem?

Self-Love, Taking Risks & Changing the World: Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen

Affectionately described by many as a yoga scientist, Amanda Kriebel is an innovative Doctor of Physical Therapy and Yoga Teacher who humbly claims to be a student of life. Contact her to schedule and appointment in person or via Skype. Learn more about her and her exclusive videos: www.awarenesspt.com | Facebook | Instagram @amanda.kriebel | YouTube Channel