There's so much Yoga in Travel, and so much Travel in Yoga!
Bear with me.
Here's a little glimpse through the Gunas, the constant interplay of energy:
Rajas - The take off! The excitement, the getting ready, making plans, googling places, scheming, and the very upward feel of energy. Its the climb and the first few days of the holiday!
Tamas - The Arrived. A bit tired, a little weary, a tad worn out. Think: the reside from the first few days of exciting travel, of new smells, maybe the food is a little different, jet lag, rhythms maybe even seasons also contrasting from where you've been.
Sattva - The Return. A coming home to a sense and feel, of internal balance. The tending of one's self. Looking at yourself through the lens of Ayurveda you could use your own wisdom and sense of "knowing" what you need to restore you. I think here of: good sleep, Oils (Essential or an oil for some Abhyangha), Meditation, reading and for me ... quiet time. These are little but powerful ways of restoring balance and equanimity to one's soul. A balm to the soul if you will.
Essentially, Yoga encourages us to get to know ourselves. We do this through Asana, Mediation, Mantra, (there's plenty more here) and Ayurveda. When we do this, we have sovereignty over our self, and we become wise to know and feel what it is we need.... through our wisdom body, our Vijnanamaya Kosha!
Here's a few notes of the Yoga I got up to on my 3 week Vacay:
- On Board. I try to find little areas to stretch, usually its near where the food is prepped. So its quick! Arms up, stretching from finger tips to toes, taking this then into a side stretch. And then usually a forward bend. Careful of turbulence! Oh, speaking of turbulence which I'm not a fan of (who even is!!), Pranayama is my antidote. Its the most tangible way for me to calm my jitters, just the time to notice my breath, release my tight belly, and softly breathe is quite the medicine. On the ship, my SIL and I went and did some lovely Yoga together in the gym, beside people doing kick boxing, ab crunching etc.
- Theme Parks. So lately I've started to get really nauseous on rides, which isn't great if your family are really into it and you have a 4 day pass! With the simulated rides, I just closed my eyes. I felt into my sit bones on the seat, my thighs in contact with the seat and that seemed to help a bit. So a bit of sensory adjustment there, thank you to Pratyahara for helping me out there.
- People. So many people, queues, heat, noise. My antidote here is to find quiet. And sometimes that looks like I'm being antisocial, but its more self preservation. I need that quiet time to digest the day. And for me that looked like sinking into the couch on one particular night, and watching Eat, Pray, Love and on quite a few nights, an early night.
I love that this is underpinned by wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita, "no effort here is every wasted, even a little of this practice will shelter you from great sorrow".
Little moments, simple solutions, provide us with the art of taking care of our selves.
Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. Have some heart. Let your heart lead you.
There's a lot written, said and sung about our dear hearts.
A few years ago I did a workshop and a student asked me the following question after class (which I think is universal one), how do I listen to my heart? How do I follow my heart?
The past year I really delved into this. Some instances were intentional and some accidental. But through these experiences, through the Yoga of Svadhyaya (self study/reflection), working with Heart Codes (learned from Kelly Sunrose) through these, I began to really "know" this feeling. The feeling of my heart happy, of being true to my heart. And in Yoga we call this experience, this knowing; The Vijnanamaya Kosha. And its all yours!
The fun bit here is that, no one can do it for you!
You must do this yourself.
You must "know thyself" (a Greek Aphorism).
It is not a path for the faint hearted, but there is also no other path if you want to be happy!
Here are some ideas to think about and work with:
Asana: We do the physical practice of Yoga so we can unwind and unfurl the tense and tight parts of our body.
Pranayama: We sit and work intentionally with our breath, after all a calm and steady breath lead to a calm and steady mind. If the mind is racing around like a chicken, how can we possibly hear our heart?
Meditation: The balm of sitting quietly, here is the junction of the others meeting up. When we sit quietly, when we make time to be with ourselves and really listen, then, we might begin to hear the whispers of our heart.
Lately I've been really drawn toward True Heart Offerings. Aside from my love of J Crew, I've been definitely buying from smaller companies, which I feel have true heart offerings. Recently I've been loving the following:
theayu.com.au - For the most heavenly Ayurvedic Oils; perfume and body oil (great for Abhyanga)
thecleantreatsfactory.com - A true heavenly delight of foods and space. You might not want to leave!
goldengoosedeluxebrand.com - Just the cutest sneakers WITH STARS!! A definate splurge but its "where orthotics meets design"
So maybe start by noticing what you feel lifts your heart? It might be an inspiring word, it could be a book, maybe a cafe, perhaps a pair of shoes! Start there, notice your happy heart and its feels and it will lead you to your true heart.
There are many ways in Yoga to nourish and fill your tank. Each person can probably find at least a handful of ways to feel good through the practice of Yoga.
Lately, I've taken time to just sit outside, enjoying a warm drink and soaking up the warmth and feel of this glorious sunshine. Simple.
Did you know by just doing that, your nourishing and tending to yourself. Yes! I know, so simple but so much more. The Yogi's put names to 5 layers of our being, called Koshas. Sitting and soaking up the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air, is nourishment for two of these, your Annamaya Kosha and your Pranamaya Kosha, thats your skin or your most gross physical layer and your vital energy in non Sanskrit terms.
These koshas are subtle layers of our being, and are a way of looking after and nourishing ourselves, beyond the common lingo of “mind, body & spirit”.
If your looking to dive a bit deeper into the Koshas here are a small handful of practices (some of which you may already do) to get you started:
1. Soak up the sunshine (ahem, yes as mentioned above)
2. Breathe in the fresh air (special times; dawn and dusk)
3. Practice the Hum Sa Mantra (quietly saying to yourself; inhale Ham, exhale Sa)
4. Pick a Yoga Sutra, a poem, a value, set an intention and really feel into that, soak it up, embody it and let it become part of who you are and how you are in the world.
5. Find something in nature to be with that helps you settle into a sense of awe, a sense of honour and or reverence, for this magical planet we live on. Let yourself be omazed!
So just there, above are 5 sweet & simple practices. If you’d like to know more about these, Light On Life by BKS Iyengar is a great read. He was a householder like us, managing homes, feeding dogs, cooking meals. He shows us how to nourish these in ourselves, in our daily life. No moving to an ashram required!!
Sweet hugs to you.