Yoga + Traveling - The Path to Expansion

Yoga is not only my career but a lifestyle I choose.  The yoga way has brought much understanding, healing, and knowledge to my life, as well as helps me stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.  I find, as I try to stay mindful and aware of my thoughts, actions, and my impact on the world, I grow a deeper awareness and understanding of myself, as well as those around me. I have had the most amazing opportunities to travel to 21 countries and 18 states in the US so far, and I've begun to see the comparison between yoga and traveling. Both shift your perspective, mindset, and expand you in ways you never knew possible.

Traveling opens your eyes to new places, people, cultures, history, and ideas.  You are constantly bombarded by uncomfortable situations, there's no sense of familiarity, and you are often left to your own devices and thoughts as the people around you are speaking another language. This has become a beautiful lesson in practicing what I preach and applying my yoga "tools" within these moments of expansion that can be wonderful but also challenging.  In these spaces and places which bring upon situations you may have never encountered, you become curious of those around you but also quite introspective.  Both yoga and traveling give you the opportunity and space for introspection and personal growth.

I also think traveling adds an additional level or challenge to your yoga practice.  It's often hard enough to maintain a yoga practice at home (internally and physically) in your normal day to day life, let alone while traveling.  How does one find balance between stimulating days filled with exploration, good food and drinks, and mediation, writing, exercise, mindfulness, decompression, etc.?  And how does one continue to be a light in this world when you realize just how big and often messed up this world is?  This subject will take a lifetime to explore but for now I will practice what I have learned.  While roaming the streets of Prague or Rishikesh, filled with tourist and vendors I have options,  I can sink into the crowd unnoticed, I can make a scene by being boisterous or rude, or I can maybe make small differences in each encounter.  Like smiling at strangers, being kind to those who are frustrated, maintaining a level head in crowds, not litering or pick up trash I see, being kind to over worked wait staff and tour guides, learning about the local culture and be understanding/ respectful to their differences and ways of life.  I think, these small acts really do make a difference and may just change someone's perspective of a tourist or your culture, and just maybe, you could be the drop of water that creates a beautiful ripple effect.  This is where yoga is not just a physical practice but a lifestyle and is integrated in all I do.

Also, allowing myself downtime is so important, especially on long trips.  I've learned it's ok to take an extra day in a city to order in food and do nothing but Netflix and chill or read.  It's ok to just sit outside on my patio and drink wine all afternoon.  It's ok to sleep in or go to bed early when my body is telling me it needs it.  Remembering it's all about finding the balance physically, mental, emotionally, and energetically no matter where I am.

Yoga and traveling have a mutual purpose for me, to grow.  To grow more intune and in touch with myself, others, the world around us, and the Universe.  Both provide the opportunity for growth and wisdom.  Both make us into better people.  And once you've had a taste of both, you will always want more.  "A mind that is stretched by new experiences, can never go back to its old dimensions."

Until the next adventure,

Aris

 

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