By Adrienne Boland
We all have things we want to do or need to do but it is inevitable that something gets in the way. I call this conducting “life maintenance,” the things that aren’t fun like paying bills, taxes, grocery shopping or planning a trip can be stressful and add to the chaos of everyday life. I find that I am constantly putting these responsibilities off in the quest for fun or adventure. Then they all pile up and next thing you know you are spending your weekend and free time taking care of these tasks. Or, you could be cramming them in all together and leave yourself no time for a fun break. I have also found myself cramming as much fun as I can into life, which isn’t a bad idea, but sometimes I lose track of myself and need to reground and have some down time to appreciate and reflect.
A good example of a fun cram session I am currently experiencing includes me currently sitting in an airplane coming back from a vacation in Puerto Rico, the flight is long and my cankles are growing with every minute I sit in this tiny seat. However, this was not just a trip to Puerto Rico and back. I started my journey in Denver, flew to Spokane, then drove to Nelson B.C, flew in a helicopter to Kokanee Glacier, backcountry skied for 8 days, drove to Moscow, Idaho, then to Portland Oregon, flew to Puerto Rico, circumnavigated the island, rode a ferry to Culebra and now I am back to Portland for a few days before heading back to Colorado. Whew! Now that is some jam packed fun! Magically I was able to find time, not much mind you, to do some yoga postures to relieve my muscles and bones from traveling and hiking aches and stiffness. I will have to say this is the first time in a few months that I have actually had time or a space to do so. Funny I cannot fit it in when I am at home, but suddenly on vacation I am able to squeeze a little practice of movement and mindfulness into my routine.
Another piece of my yogic puzzle included reading a book about Dharma, our life’s calling. Yoga is more than the asana, the movement, it is also the act of thinking about who you are and what you bring to the world, your light. One of the favorite passages was “you are what you seek.” This brought new perspective to who I am and how I have chosen to live my life. I am always seeking fun and adventure, and that has become a piece of me, defined my being and provided quite a bit of entertainment to my friends and family. These people who I love and appreciate think I am off my rocker most of the time for gallivanting all over the world, doing random things, talking to people, and making friends with a variety of characters. Interesting people and places bring new meaning to life, and provide me with perspectives to learn and grow from. Nothing in all of my formal education ever gave me what traveling did for my ability to form relationships and create connections with people that may not routinely be a part of my life. These people have become my family, and I wouldn’t trade any of them. Although it has been a rocky road, my path has always left me looking for more experience, and “enlightenment” you might say.
The yogic philosophy doesn’t leave me when I leave my mat, I practice it with the people I meet and the way I live my life. My asana practice however could be improved at the current moment both to alleviate some of the physical effects I feel from travel. My mind is free and always thinking about my next experience whether it be in my room, a tropical beach or within a studio surrounded by others. I feel the need for the connection to others, myself and the teacher. Just as waves crash on the beach and retreat as do our habits and routines. As long as we keep our minds in yogic mentality and treat every experience, every interaction as a way to learn and grow for ourselves and help others in the process we are practicing yoga. As modern humans we get busy. That is the nature of the world as we currently know it. Take time to be present and calm once a day, if you have time for a class, GO! If you don’t spend a few minutes stretching, go to a park and sit with your eyes closed, or do something kind for a stranger. The feeling you get from these activities will bring light and joy and help motivate you for the next day and building your practice; however you choose to apply it to your life. Mix it up, play with it, and find something that works for you. You don’t have to be a super yogi to practice yoga, the act of moving and thinking with a new perspective is the first step to living a fulfilled life. Your mind and body with thank you for taking time to appreciate who you are, and what joy you bring to others. That is yoga.
“The most important exercise we will ever do is reaching out and lifting someone else up.”