25May Yoga From Afar
During my teacher training in early 2007, I was told that the real practice would begin after the training was over. How were we, the students, going to incorporate yoga into our lives in the real world?
As it turned out, for the next two years yoga was my professional life and a bit of personal life as well as I was the manager and a teacher at Pilgrimage. I breathed yoga, both figuratively and literally. I had access to beautiful teachers and classes throughout the day. I would meditate with Sujantra on Tuesday evenings. I had my space, and my practice was a constant friend.
When I started on this 15-month travel journey with my husband Tom, I left that consistency behind.
During travel, I struggled to find my own practice without a studio and without the guidance of an instructor. I had also left my yoga mat in Buenos Aires, and struggled without that tool as well. I would try with a bath towel, or simply on grass, and both left me slipping and sliding. I tried various yoga studios and teachers, and outside of my first two months in Buenos Aires, I struggled to find a teacher and a studio that I connected with, that I believed in. Aside from some breathing exercises, my practice effectively took a break for two months.
And then I visited a friend who asked that we practice on her roof. I unrolled the two camping pads that we had been traveling with, walked up onto her terrace over looking the city of Cordoba, and practiced morning yoga. It felt so good. My body was tight, but it welcomed the movement, and the breath.
Since that morning, I’ve unrolled that trusty camping pad made out of foam, and regained my practice. In the hostels, I’ll practice in the morning in-between my bed and the bathroom. Or I’ll go outside in the chilly mountain air for more connection with nature.
My practice is not that long or in depth. I’ll take about five minutes standing, breathing, and finding my intention. I’ll move slowly, starting with five to ten sun salutations, feeling the connection to my breath and body. Perhaps that will be it, and I’ll join my hands at my heart and say ‘Namaste.’ Other days I’ll continue, playing with balance, twists, backbends, and inversions. I’ll let my body and breath lead the way, not feeling attachment to a length of time or specific asanas.
Even after my two month break, my body still knew the movements. My mind relished the pause. My breath took me deeper. My inner spirit knew the practice as well, and welcomed me back.
You can keep up with Blair’s travels at her blog www.tomandblair.com.