I am good at mulling things over. This can be a good quality— it leads to introspection, self knowledge, and considered action. But it can also lead to paralysis, and talking yourself out of things, and second-guessing.
Am I doing a “summer travel” series? I guess I am. I didn’t mean to!
So I love adventure and diversion, but deep down, I’m a creature of habit. I can adapt, but if I’m gone for a while, it starts to wear on me. I miss the hubs. I miss the dog. I miss my vitamix. Not necessarily in that order.
If you’re George Clooney in up in the air, you probably have this down to a science, but me? I’m not much of a business traveller. Vacation is different— you have built-in time just for doing what you feel. A week at a conference takes some work. I didn’t go a great job this time, but I did find some things that helped:
1. Pack what you need. This sounds obvious, but bring the stuff you use for exercise. I packed my new lightweight trail runners, so I could seize any opportunity (I use these). Bonus: if you pack them on the way there, and wear them on the way home, you made space in your suitcase for souvenirs! I also brought my ipod shuffle, because that’s my comfort zone for running. And this one’s a space-splurge, but actually surprisingly doable and endlessly worth it: I packed my travel yoga mat.
My mom gave it to me for my birthday this year, and it’s a lifesaver. It folds and lies in the top of my suitcase, even after I’d swear it’s full. Yes, some hotels will rent you one, and most yoga studios will lend you one when you’re there. But what if you’re a friend’s, or not at a fancy hotel, or don’t want to use a communal mat at hot yoga? You can practice without a yoga mat, but if you want a good, solid practice and you usually use a sticky mat, this will be the best thing ever. Continue reading
You know that idea that yogis are supposed to be serene and unflappable? That we meet everything with a peaceful “yogi smile” on our faces? Does it drive you crazy because that’s soooo not happening for you? I’ve come to two realizations about this:
1. Almost no one is always like that, it comes and goes, and
2. It’s a lot of work. Good work, but still, work.
I have definitely restrained myself from flipping the bird in traffic on the way to yoga, been pissed because there was a sub for my favorite teacher, and contemplated leaving when a fellow yogi I have a strange and unfounded aversion to set up near me. I am sure I did not have the yogi smile on. But. . . I stayed. And I think I might have had the yogi smile when I left, at least for five minutes or so.
There’s a lot written about how we practice yoga in the U.S.– everywhere from xojane to elephant journal. Is it yoga if you do it at a gym? What if you don’t chant? What if you don’t meditate/aren’t a vegetarian/don’t want to go to india? Can you still do yoga, or are you just working out?
My answer: yes. Is everyone who shows up for 4:15 poweryoga going to “do” yoga? I don’t know. Yoga is a practice. It’s a cycle, it’s a continuum. It’s a path. We move, and breathe, and yes, sometimes chant. This is part of yoga. This isn’t “yoga”. But if you can’t name all the yamas and niyamas, and if you don’t know the sansrkit for pigeon pose, you can still practice yoga.
Yoga teachers have different ways of guiding us.