A Special Contribution
by CHRISTINA WARNSTEDT
March 14, 2017
Follow me: you’re driving a windy back road on a sunny Sunday afternoon in search of something extraordinary, a new adventure to warm your heart and make you smile. Along the river, a big boulder is shimmering with warmth from the sun; you pull over, grab your book and find your perch for the next couple hours of life. Or perhaps this, you’ve skipped town on a Southbound flight, which will land on an island surrounded by endless crystal clear teal water and rich colored flora; flowers with shapes and smells you were not sure existed in reality. Not even bothering to wear flip-flops, you follow your inner compass directly to the water, breathe in a salty sea breath to take it all in, and then completely submerge yourself under.
These ‘Ah’ moments can happen for some on a daily basis, those that recognize the simple pleasures that present themselves, whether it be a chickadee flickering around your yard on a snowy February day, savoring every bite of a perfectly cooked burger or relishing in the stillness of a setting sun on the oceans horizon. Practicing yoga on the regular continues to prove its worthiness and importance in a world that is off balance. You begin to breathe deeper in moments of anxiety, slowing your heart down and calming your mind. This practice does not mean that one day you wake up and see the light but it means you wake up more often becoming more sensitive and developing a certain intimacy to this world around us.
As the humans that we have evolved into, no matter who you are or where you live it seems more and more difficult to slow our stride, our pace has become ever so fast, making it hard to take our eyes off the road or even worse our phones. Therefore, we make travel plans, and work hard to give ourselves a time to look forward to, moments to slow down and break up our routine; craving the day when our plane takes off and just like a time machine puts us in a new land, where no one knows us and we feel new again.
But have you noticed that there’s many a time we get to our destination and still feel anxious emotions bubbling inside. It takes discipline to slow down. It seems like the first thing we do is reach for our smart(stupid) phones. Opening the map app, perhaps searching for the closest bar or restaurant, checking social media to see what is happening at home, even though we have made it to our new place, the place that is supposed to make us not feel the need to touch that device.
Here’s the not so secret clandestine ‘AHA’ moment! We have the ability to enlighten ourselves no matter where we are and yes, as I mentioned earlier about slowing down, it does take a friendly discipline! Clear our minds and warm our hearts without even leaving our homes! I am one of those seekers of life, through traveling and becoming an explorer wherever I might be, in fact I live for my next destination just as much as I live for the feeling of coming back home. However, these travels would not prove to be as virtuous and fulfilling without my life-long yoga practice. I really believe this.
Our spiritual practice comes in many forms, whether it be Meditation, Pranayama(conscious breathing), Asanas(poses), Niyamas(internal restraint), Yamas(external restraint), interweaving all of these limbs into your practice will lead you to finding Samadhi, revealing pure awareness and interconnectedness. The more this practice occurs in your day to day, the more it gets in you and becomes 2nd nature, not mattering where you are, but especially showing itself in your travels. Allowing you to BE & FEEL where you are.
Mountain Pose or in Sanskrit, Tadasana, roots our feet, ground our body and stills our mind no matter where our travels might lead us. Being quiet and breathing for a few moments allows us to take in that newness that surrounds us, feel closer to nature and feel more like a local. I recently found myself practicing yoga solo on the rooftop of my hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. After working, playing and meeting amazing people for days in this beautiful city filled with character and history; I gained a new perspective of Charleston, seeing King Street while in a headstand. Upside down palm trees, bluebird sky and the South Carolina sun kissing the bottom of my feet!
Oh the places we can go! For what is life but to dream and do!!