We’ve all been there. We practice yoga most days a week, if not daily. We have a good connection to our body and mind, and others see us as a fortress of calm. Then we travel to an exciting foreign place that jolts us out of the comfort zone, and suddenly our spirit feels disconnected. The body is disoriented and jetlagged while the mind wants to take it all in.
Yoga is an easy way to connect back, but it’s not just about the asanas. Everything that you experience in your travel can be seen as yoga when you are aware and connected. Yoga is, after all, the union of the body, mind, and spirit.
Here are three ways to connect to the source within, no matter where you are:
1. Slow Down And Find Pleasure In Less
We often rush from one place to another, not just when we travel but also at home. Instead of wanting to see everything, select a few places that appeal to you, and linger there. If one of these places speaks to you more than the others, return there for a deeper connection. Something there has touched your senses and awakened your spirit, and it can be as simple as the sublime, lively taste of that spaghetti dish with tomato sauce made fresh off the vines. Yes, spirit likes to be fed, and your taste bud is part of spirit!
2. Find Nature
Nature is the source of everything. The beauty of nature opens the heart and inspires. In the Chinese Five Element Theory, which is based on nature, Earth element grounds, Water soothes and cools, Fire warms and brings joy, while Wood element lightens the body and Metal clarifies. Just watching a wave hit a rock or admiring a waterfall can soothe the spirit. Get rid of your jetlag quickly by taking in some sun (Fire element). If you feel too heavy (which is usually too much Earth), lighten up by taking in some Wood. Look deeply into a flower in perfect bloom (a Wood element) and let the complexity of its beauty lighten up your mind. If you need to ground, walk barefoot, feel the soil beneath you, and let mother earth comfort you. And remember to breathe deeply (Metal)!
3. Allow Quiet Time
Leave all your electronics behind and get quiet. Spiritual teacher Ram Dass says, “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” Spirit is always trying to communicate with us but our minds are usually full of our own thoughts that we do not hear. Silence is also a state of mind - you don’t have to be in a quiet place to find silence. Writing a journal, setting aside a few silent hours a day, doing more yin yoga and pranayama are good practices to find quiet. During my month of teacher training in Brazil a few years ago, we’d spend the morning hours in mauna (the practice of observing silence), flowing quietly in our morning yoga practice. These were some of the loveliest hours – there is grace in the silence.