3 Things Yoga Taught Me About Traveling the World
Traveling. It’s exhilarating, challenging, sometimes frustrating, but most of all, unpredictable and humbling. They say yoga is as much about flexibility of the mind as it is of the body. Turns out, it makes a great carry-on if you happen to be on the road. While I haven’t been everywhere, I did learn a lot from the situations I found myself in. I’m not going to say practicing yoga during my travels made me an enlightened beacon of calm, or that all I did was just breathe through it all and let go – because, honestly, who wants to hear that? -- Yoga did, however, create a perspective that I never would have had otherwise. While it’s great to be able to stretch after a lengthy flight, when you step onto your yoga mat, the relationship between you and the small rubber rectangle beneath your feet goes beyond tight hamstrings and hips. It’s the most loving, grounding relationship you will ever have, and a beautiful constant to come back to, time and time again. Similar to traveling; it gets rough, it gets raw, but guess what – there’s no one there to tell you right or wrong. You get to figure that out, all by yourself.
1. Confidence and Intuition
There’s a grace that comes with traveling solo. Think Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love. While it’s not all glamour and there’s some hard work involved (-- there’s a reason she went to India), you can be sure you’ll find yourself cycling along a rice paddy field or encountering an elephant at some point.
Coming back to your practice will fuel those ‘in-between’ moments, when you pause to let the energy subside and zone in on yourself. Through discipline, you evolve with a sense of confidence that can only grow with experience. While you weed through a rainbow of emotions: frustrations, fear, joy, euphoria… you learn to move more intuitively. You’ll get an insight into your own mind, understand your limits and embrace your edge.In yoga, you’re moving breath with body and creating an intense, mindful experience. The end result is a blissful sense of clarity.
2: Rhythm is essential to life
Rest assured, your journey will not always be a smooth one, but it’s knowing that you have control over how you react that makes a difference. Yoga keeps you in line with who you are, as you become attuned to your body and mind, and what both need.
Think of it as a yoga pose you’re just unable to do. Maybe it’s the way your body was made, or the way your bones are aligned. Whatever it is, if it doesn’t work for you, be okay with that.
The more you practice yoga, the more you get - dare I say it - a little more faith. You take the moment for what it is, enjoy it spontaneously and go with the way things naturally occur. There’s only so much you can do until you realize that much like being in the ocean, this movement is happening around you, not to you. If you don’t go with it, it’ll just pass you by.
3: Comfort zones don’t exist
When you practice yoga, being contorted into seemingly impossible positions teaches you a few things about yourself, and others. Yes, that person’s sweat just grazed my elbow. I think I smell that person’s feet. Must the person in front of me downward dog when I upward dog? – As hilarious as these situations are, they’re real. You learn not to sweat the small stuff, accept a little more, judge a little less.
No matter how complicated the pose or situation, you know enough about yourself to be able to handle it. The clarity of mind, compassion and patience that comes with a regular practice can often open up a whole new perspective.
As you’re navigating from country to country, you’re absorbing all this new information, experiencing situations you could never have prepared yourself for. Granted, you may fall on your face a couple times and get a few bumps and bruises along the way, but as it turns out, great things never came from comfort zones.