Hi friends welcome to March! Dave and I went on a quick getaway to Costa Rica last month, and I’m still dreaming of beaches, rainforests, and sloths (they are so cute in real life, and we even got to see a mama sloth hanging with her baby!) The trip was exactly what I needed to relax after a stressful January – good food, good company, no to-do list, no crying babies! Ironically enough, I also practiced more yoga than I had in months during our short time abroad….without doing a single down-dog. Here’s how:
I disconnected. One of the habits I’ve been least successful in kicking has been my attachment to my phone. I know I check it more often than necessary, and definitely waste precious time looking through stuff that really adds no value to my life! On vacation, I set my phone on airplane mode and only used it to check in on the kiddos once/night. I was also really mindful about using my phone to take pictures. Whereas in the past I’d normally whip out my camera the second I saw something beautiful, I really tried to just observe and appreciate what was in front of me and embed the memory in my own mind vs. capturing it in a photo. I recently watched an interesting Ted Talk on this – check it out here.
I was really present. It can be tempting to plan out our days and schedule activities on vacation so we don’t miss out on what we’re supposed to see and do there. But full itineraries often leave us little time to really savor our experiences. During this trip, Dave and I took it really easy. We made no plans and simply let the days unfold moment by moment. We ate when we felt like it, rested when we felt like it, and went on adventures when we felt like it. And because we had no idea what was next on our agendas, we were able to commit fully to each activity.
I embraced my body. One of the things I was most anxious about before our trip was how I’d feel about being in a bathing suit for the first time since having Matias. Yes, I know I’m skinny, but my body doesn’t look like it used to before I had my boys. It’s not bad, it’s just different, and different is not always easy to accept. Once we got to Costa Rica, however, I made a conscious effort to embrace my body and not get caught up in comparing myself to other women on the beach. I shifted the focus away from what my body looked like to how my body felt, and was able to really enjoy being in my on skin.
I was grateful. Every morning in Costa Rica, after my first cup of delicious coffee, I meditated outside for 15 min. Starting my days with a few moments of grounding breath and stillness made such a big difference in the way I experienced the following 12 hours – which were filled with more gratitude and way less complaining! In the past, I’ve fallen into the trap of comparing vacation-life to real-life, and the latter has always come up short. This time, Dave and I spent more time chatting about how awesome our life at home is than lamenting that we’d have to get back to it eventually.
I danced. I don’t mean this in some metaphorical way. Dave decided to play my Latin Favorites playlist on Spotify one of the nights we were hanging out on our balcony…and 2 songs in I was out of my chair singing out loud, salsa-stepping and booty-shaking like it was my job. I have always loved to dance, but I’ve found fewer and fewer opportunities to do it as I’ve grown up. Letting my inner Shakira come out full-force that evening made everything that followed more colorful, joyful, and fun.
We’ve all done it: taken the cute yoga pose pic in front of the ocean or a beautiful landmark to share on social media. We’re yogis, so we do #yogaeverydamnday and we’re proud to show it, right? What I’ve learned over the 10 + years I have been at this, however, is that truly practicing yoga is a lot harder than getting into crow pose on a rock or a handstand on a beach. If you’re so focused on getting the right shot that you miss out on noticing every last detail on that rock or beach, then you’re not practicing yoga. If you take the photo and spend the next 30 min criticizing how you look in it, then you’re not practicing yoga. If you’re so dead-set on getting your asana in that you miss out on a spontaneous opportunity, or sticking to your kale-and-avocado-only diet that you miss out on trying local flavors…..then you’re not practicing yoga.
Asana is only one of the 8 limbs of yoga according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Our physical practice is important as an access point to our inner bodies, but perfecting asana should not be our end goal. Wether it’s on vacation or on I-610 traffic, we’re truly practicing yoga when we are able to let go of our attachments (to our phones, expectations, and appearances) and connect with the present moment fully, as it is.