Years ago I loathed the nearing of the end of a holiday, already missing all the beautiful experiences and adventures I had had. It is only since Yoga has become such an integral part of my life that I’m now looking forward to coming back home to my usual practice.
Yoga has made my life so enjoyable. I usually feel healthy, confident, uplifted and radiant. Of course the daily practice is something to look forward to. But it is all the healthy habits yoga has naturally, effortlessly, and kind of unnoticeably helped me form over time, that I also miss when away.
Too many compromises, but always a solution
On holidays, we sometimes have to make compromises, which can affect the quality of our sleep, the food we eat, the timing of meals, and the air we are breathing; also, the company we spend time with is not always favourable and fully to our liking.
I have spent some years travelling, which only later I found out is suggested in the shastras to the more serious yoga adept; travelling is supposed to be of great benefit. To the outsider it might sound like a wonderful thing to do. Admittedly, some of the experiences I have made on my journeys have been incredible, character forming, extraordinary, and so special that I would never want to have missed them. I have seen so much indescribable beauty, experienced the most astounding hospitality, kindness and love. I’m still humbled by the good fortune I have had and the richness of it all.
But I also haven’t forgotten how much work it is to travel, the preparations, the risk you are taking – especially as a woman travelling alone – fatigue, exhaustion, and the frustration you are sometimes feeling when things go pear-shaped, and you are all alone trying to figure out how to resolve problems. You have to make every decision on your own, sometimes feeling very lonely and vulnerable. One often feels out of place, misunderstood, and with the feeling of just not fitting in.
Travel helps break habitual behaviour
But it is exactly the being thrown out of our comfort zone, which is the most valuable experience. It develops our resilience and shapes our character. The yoga shastras recommend travelling for that very reason. It teaches us living simply, and also tolerance, as we gain more insight into different cultures, and ways of living. There are always reasons and conditions as to why people behave the way they do.
Re-establishing healthy patterns
Soon after my travels had slowed down a bit, I took over North Sydney Yoga. In a natural kind of way, without me noticing too much – because I initially would have very much disliked that – I followed a strict routine of regular sleeping hours, set times as to when to practice and eat, and of course lots of teaching and the running of the school. It was the first time in my life that a structured life of this kind, made me happy.
The reason for this is that yoga helps you feel all these wonderful things I keep raving about in the kind of articles like this one, for which I’m writing for you all. Our bodies and spirit function extremely well with an established routine, where yoga – our spiritual growth, physical and mental wellness – take centre stage, and with it all the healthy, enjoyable habits of supporting the practice. Establishing set times for the practice is crucial. Even beginning with just 2 practices per week is a good starting point.
Cultivate a routine you can truly look forward to any time, and particularly when returning from a holiday.