Monday, June 23, 2014
In my experience, any time you go to a yoga retreat, it's like being in a bubble or a cocoon. Yoga, music, like minded people, joy, laughter, enthusiasm - you're surrounded & encompassed by all this. If you're lucky enough to get all your downward dogs in order before you leave, you don't have to worry or even be distracted by work & the other responsibilities of your every day life.
For me, being in a huge tent, taking class with 399 other people, most of whom I didn't know, was almost indescribable. I didn't know most of these people, but there was a connection. Being able to turn off my phone & focus, really focus, on what I was doing...taking care of me...my spirit sang. I was filled with relief, joy & love. My heart felt full. The entire time, on & off my mat, I was surrounded by joy & love.
And then it ends. And I left. We all left & went back home to our everyday lives. One of my friends once said she imagined it was what astronauts must feel like returning to earth. No one back home knows just how you feel & there aren't words sufficient to explain it.
So what do you do? Wait for the next Wanderlust? Sure..absolutely. Sign up for the next adventure! But what can you do in the days until then? This is what I took from my experience that I hope to use every day, on & off my mat, until my next Wanderlust experience.
1. Slow Down
I say this all the time, but I was also given this advice at the conclusion of a class at Wanderlust. At Wanderlust, I never saw anyone running to get to class or pushing someone out of her way because she was in a hurry. I did hear & see alot of:
"I'm sorry, were you here first?"
"No, that's ok - please, you go ahead of me"
Everyone moved a little more slowly. No one rushed. Folks were pleasant & gracious. Yes, we were all there for yoga. But you can still do this in your everyday life. Slow down enough to actually taste your coffee. Let the person with the full cart of groceries & crying children go ahead of you. Give someone else the last parking spot. Slow down.
2. Drink More Water
At Wanderlust, there were water stations everywhere. And everyone carried a water bottle. People laugh at the size of the water bottle I carry everywhere with me everyday! It's simple, even if you don't carry a water bottle with you, swap out 1 can of soda or 1 cup of coffee a day for water.
3. Connect with Someone...up close & in person
This weekend, I strengthened connections with current friends, reconnected with old friends & made new connections. There was still a lot of texting & social media action...in the middle of class with MC Yogi, he asked everyone to take out their phone, film the class & then post to Facebook & Instagram & tag him. Most of us did exactly that & it was great & funny. But people were also connecting face to face. There were a lot of high-fives & hugging. Next time you pick up your coffee, look the Barista in the eyes. Hold the door for someone & smile at them. Pat your co-worker on the shoulder. Or better yet, give him a high five & tell him he's awesome.
4. Focus on What You Love
We were all at Wanderlust because we love yoga...and music, and being outside. We spent the whole weekend immersed in yoga, music & nature. It was relatively easy to focus on what we love doing...we were doing it! And we were surrounded by others who love the same things & were doing what they love. Back to reality...maybe you don't like your job, or your car, or where you live. But here you are. It's ok to not like those things. And it's ok to feel like you're stuck - I've been there. But that doesn't mean you have to focus all your energy on the things you don't like or think aren't going right for you. Do you love yoga but couldn't get to Wanderlust? Let it go. There's always next year. In the meantime, can you get to a yoga class? Can you take a podcast? Can you just bust out some asanas in your house? If you focus on what you love, you can do it. And it may start small, but keep focusing on it & it will get bigger & better.
5. Be Present More
For me, it was amazing to be able to take class this weekend and not have to worry about anything while I was taking class. I turned off my phone (except during MC Yogi's class). There were no distractions for me. I was fully & completely present & it was amazing. At home or in my studio, there are always distractions. I often leave my phone on when I practice at home in case one of my teachers needs to reach me. Practicing in my studio, I pay attention to the heat, the lights...the dust in the corner. My classes at Wanderlust fed my spirit because I was fully present for the experience. It was a reminder to me that I need to be present more often in my life. Not just during my yoga practice, but for everything I do in my life. It will be challenging...it is challenging. But I know that my life will be better for it. I know that I will enjoy my life more off my mat. And so will you...