Jaimal Yogis and Ethan Nichtern ride the waves of meditation and imagination, in a discussion on surfing, creativity, graphic novels, and fatherhood.
Jaimal Yogis is a bestselling author, teacher, and surfer, who recently released City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm – a Dharma-focused middle-grade Scholastic graphic novel series with illustrator, Vivian Truong. He also wrote Saltwater Buddha & All Our Waves Are Water – merging his passions of zen and surfing. Jaimal has published award-winning journalism in The Washington Post, ESPN Magazine, The Atlantic, and more. He currently resides in San Fransisco with his wife and three boys.
Sign up for Ethan’s Year-Long Buddhist Studies program for 2022 on David Nichtern’s digital mindfulness platform, Dharma Moon
Surfing, Meditation, & Spirituality // Waves & Water
Welcoming author, teacher, and surfer, Jaimal Yogis, to The Road Home podcast, Ethan Nichtern invites him to share his dharma origin story. Born into a family steeped in mindfulness and Buddhism; Jaimal reflects on running away from home to Maui at the age of 16—finding spiritual insight through surfing, struggling, and meditation. Through this lens, he dives into dharma lessons learned through water and waves.
“While I was learning how to surf, I started trying to teach myself to meditate under a tree on the North Shore of Maui. I did it, was terrible at it, and was a terrible surfer. But I think because they were learned together I instantly made a connection between waves of thought in my mind and waves in the ocean. So that’s been a theme for me in my writing and in my practice.” – Jaimal Yogis
Lei’ohu Ryder & Maydeen ‘Iao share on Maui, Ram Dass, & the spirit of Aloha, on Ep. 9 of Walking Each Other Home
Is the Water Alive? // Dragons in the Clouds… (15:55)
Pondering the Moana inspired question, “Is the water alive?” Ethan and Jaimal explore perspectives on consciousness, spirituality, animism, the universe, materialism, imagination, nature, and connection.
“I feel like the way that meditation practice has opened me up, when it seems to be working in the sense of, ‘I feel so happy and so connected with everything,’ that’s when the world, and animate objects, and certainly the ocean—which is alive—it feels that way. It feels like it’s all connected and I’m flowing into it.” – Jaimal Yogis
For more Jaimal Yogis on surfing the waves of existence, tune to Ep. 201 of Mindrolling
City of Dragons // Fantasy, Imagination, & Fatherhood (30:30)
Sharing how he reads Mop Rides the Waves of Life: A Story of Mindfulness and Surfing with his daughter, Ethan asks Jaimal about his transition to writing for children and younger audiences. From here, they dig into his new fantasy graphic novel series with Vivian Truong, City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm—Jaimal noting fatherhood as the inspiration behind his imaginative new ventures.
“Meditation feels like a portal out of the materialistic cage, where the world is a little more malleable, and dream and reality are a little bit closer. For me, as a kid, books like the The Phantom Tollbooth and the Narnia series felt similar. When I’m reading those books with [my kids] I’m getting some of that. I think it’s why I was so excited to create a fantasy series, ‘City of Dragons.’ As a kid, those places of wonder and awe really felt very close to a mind I was trying to get back to as an adult through meditation. ” – Jaimal Yogis
For more Ethan Nichtern at the cross-section of mindfulness & parenting, tune to Ep. 8 of The Road Home
Photo via Jaimal Yogis