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.
This world can be exhausting if we done take time to slow down, take stock, and revitalise ourselves. Because aint nobody going to do it for us. The Yogi's saw this, and noted it down, all those many moons ago!
Our senses draw us out of ourselves. Think about it for a moment; listening, looking, smelling, tasting and feeling. Each day we are pulled by our senses, think of a smell as you walk past a bakery, or what you see as you scroll through your Instagram account, or what you feel as you make your way through your day, what you listen to? (and whom you listen to!), what you eat during the day, just as an example.
No wonder, we are wiped out, exhausted, done, full (yet empty) and tired.
All day this goes on, and if we aren't in the habit or practice of turning out we will probably burn out. This looks different for all of us, but could be: over fatigued, stressed, over it, sleep deprived, cranky, irritated and just plain done.
The antidote to this is the juice of my practice at the moment: Pratyahara! This is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and is a balm for this tired but wired feeling we may have.
Pratyahara can be summed up here quite nicely from Osho "go within or go without". Its about drawing the curtain on our senses and drawing inward.
It might looks like this:
Perhaps the first 5 minutes when you get to Yoga, you roll your mat out and lie down and close your eyes. Do you feel that little exhale, the letting go as you relax into the mat, the turning in? Hmmmm, yes.
Coming home to yourself.
Taking a rest from the pull of the world.
Turning down the volume so you can listen to the still quiet voice within.
So good, so necessary.
Lately I've been noticing how this practice for me is reflected in the New Moon. I like that we can't actually see the New Moon. I feel like this is no small coincidence, as its often the time to reveal new intentions, dreams, habits, rituals etc. Making these intentions we begin to bring things unseen into being, matching perhaps their development to the cycle of the moon from darkness to the light of the full moon, from a dream to a plan, from a wish to a form.
I think thats why I feel so drawn to the new moon, even though I can't see it, I can feel it. It feels more calm, more soothing than the full moon, maybe its the thought of the possibility, the dreamy state of just thinking and feeling into intentions.
More on that in another post I think, otherwise this should post should have had a different title!
If we don't go within, how can we ever create the life we dream of, if we don't draw in how can we listen to our souls voice, our intuition, our conscience. All these tools we've been given for creating a skilful life lie within, so in the words of Osho "go within or go without", I recommend going within!
Here's a few things to try on the way to Pratyahara:
- Music // Find a long piece of music, say 10 to 15 mins where you can completely drop into the sounds.
- Incense or candle // Light a stick of incense or a candle, sit, close your eyes, smile & breathe.
- Japa Mantra // With a mala, silently repeat a word or a sound that resonates with you. Work your way around the 108 beads, or seeds on your mala to calm your mind and feel it draw your attention in.
- Asana // Do a slow, relaxed physical practice and really drop into how it feels in your bones, your muscles and your soul.
When we draw in and practice Pratyahara, "We become aware of where our energy is moving or congested, and have an opportunity to feel and sort out through what is bottled up in our emotional or psychological blocks". Great words on this practice from a favourite book of mine called The Yogi's Roadmap by Bhavani Silvia Maki.
Until next time!