Curious what it’s like to study yoga at an ashram in India? Here was my experience.

 

I spent a week living in a spiritual community in India. There’s a sentence I never expected to utter.

 

If you read this blog, you know that I practice yoga regularly and that it became a much bigger part of my life after a traumatic experience abroad (when I experienced and truly needed its healing power.) And if you didn’t know? You likely could’ve assumed given that I live in San Francisco (where yoga clothing is the mainstay on the city streets.)

 

But what you might not know is…I was kicked out of my first ever yoga class. Yes, let’s rewind back ~13 years to when my friends and I tried yoga for the first time in high school in my somewhat-hippie hometown. We were asked to leave after we couldn’t stop laughing when the class launched into ‘Lion’s Breath’ (which, if you don’t know what that is, I dare you to get on the ground on all-fours right now and exhale loudly through your mouth with your tongue out.)

 

So while I’ve come a long way maturity-wise since then (here’s hoping,) I thought back repeatedly to that moment when I was struggling at the ashram in India. That’s right, I struggled. Big time.

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You don’t have to carry all that baggage with you.

Ask any seasoned traveler for advice and it’s likely you’ll be told: “pack light!”

While I’ve never been particularly good at packing efficiently for trips, (though I’ve gotten better!) I realized the equivalent of packing light has been at the center of my life at home since the new year started.

For so many of us, the world seems a bit heavier than usual right now. Intentional breaks from the news and/or politics can help. Personally, the heaviness has prompted some reflection about where I spend my time and energy. I’ve begun a process of thoughtfully letting go of people, places, things, and any other clutter that no longer serves me.  In the midst of all this San Francisco rain, it has become a “spring cleaning” of life, if you will.

So often we don’t recognize the confines of our own schedules, commitments, and demands. We take on more than we can juggle and find ourselves out of balance and unintentionally ‘dropping the ball.’ (Ladies, this can be especially true when feeling the ‘you can have it all’ pressure.)

Yet things are different when we travel. Often it begins before the trip even does. When you only have so much room in a suitcase, you’re forced to say no; there’s a finite amount of space (especially if you fly budget airlines.) You have to examine the purpose, function, and worth of every thing you choose to bring.

What if we took this approach to our lives as a whole, where it’s so easy to pick up more and more without stopping to think about what may be weighing us down?


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my simplest self-care tips, inspired by hygge.

Or, unintentionally cozying up to a new Danish word.

Hello, friends! You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. I’ve always strived to share with transparency in this space, so perhaps I’ll start today by telling you that it hasn’t been an easy year for me with regards to writing. I do still write full-time for a living, but it has been challenging for me to write the personal pieces I often share with you here.

Many times I’ve pointed to the block that is still haunting me — yes, you guessed it — telling the full story of my robbery at gunpoint and bus hijacking in Colombia at the end of last year. There’s so much I want to say, but so much pressure (from myself, mostly) to get it right.

It’s fitting I should mention that event now, because that was the beginning of the self-care practices that inspired this post. After the hijacking, my sense of security, my view of the world, my ability to trust myself…all of these things came into question. I suffered from PTSD and sought treatment when it began affecting parts of my life. And while I’ve learned more from it than I can begin to write, perhaps the simplest way to begin to share is to tell you how I learned to take better care of myself.


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