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Vacationing on a 30 Day Challenge September 7, 2011

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I made it through the first week of the 30 Day Challenge, but it was harder than I thought. The student who encouraged me to do this with her isn’t a long time practitioner nor does she have any kind of teacher training experience and yet she made it through the week effortlessly. She seemed a lot more energized and enthusiastic after a week of practicing and I’m supposedly an “experienced” yoga teacher.

I love to practice and I thought it would be fun to roll the mat out every day, but the commitment to practice over a  long holiday weekend was met with quite a bit of self-induced resistance. Vacations are a time for me to disconnect  from electronics, life’s daily routine, and the need to be so regimented. I typically don’t eat as healthy, I don’t get as much rest, and although I love to take classes when I’m out of town, my personal yoga practice usually falls by the wayside. The result is a self-imposed brawl of emotion, as it usually takes me several days to recuperate from being so undisciplined.

This vacation was different because I wasn’t able to disconnect. There was always an underlining sense of responsibility because no matter what I did, I knew I had to practice at some point and it forced me to make better decisions. If I was out having a good time with friends, I always had it in the back of my mind that I had to get to bed at a decent hour and if I was out laying at the pool, I knew I couldn’t have a cocktail without thinking about how it would affect my practice. I also had to be mindful of the food I ate knowing a heavy meal would just sit in my belly and cause much discomfort the first time I went in to a deep forward fold or a wholehearted twist.

In the moment it was an inconvenience, but when I got on the mat, I closed my eyes and was thankful for not being one of the ones starving to death. With hands at heart center, my intention was always to offer my practice to those I was supporting. It got me through the 90 minutes and became a beautiful invocation of my commitment to always keep an open heart.

Driving back from vacation I felt unbelievably grateful for having made the commitment to be responsible and practice every day. I have a tendency to live my life with my head in the clouds, but it’s not ideal to live or hide behind rose colored sunglasses because life eventually comes along and knocks you back down to earth so you can be more in touch with the moment, which is where life really happens.

Practicing yoga every day kept me grounded and connected without having to be catapulted there. It didn’t take a jet ski accident, or a humbling remark from a yoga student, or some other life lesson. It was simply me staying true to my commitment and doing something not because I necessarily wanted to, but because I had to.

When we take care of our bodies, our bodies take care of us and we live a more balanced fulfilling life.  It doesn’t come effortlessly and often it takes a lot of work, but that’s just like anything else. We get back what we put in and if we continue to punish ourselves or abuse our bodies and not be mindful of our thoughts and/or emotions, we eventually get a good swift kick in the butt because life is here to teach us.

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