One of the great things about Bikram Yoga is that it makes us very self aware. I don’t know about you, but I’m so much more aware now of my hydration, what I eat, and have a greater sense of self awareness in terms of my own physical space than I did before I started practicing. I also have developed a crazy ability to tolerate the heat.
Recently, I took a nine day trip to New Mexico. It was a pretty special event for me, because it was a vacation that I took all by myself. I had asked several people to join me, and none could. So I decided I’d be damned if I was just going to stay home and not have a vacation. I was going.
So off I went.
Well, let me clarify a bit, off I went tooling around a great deal in rural New Mexico where I was afraid to let the gas gauge dip below half a tank (a practice that served me well until I started to return to city life). I visited great places too. I went to Lincoln, Roswell, saw White Sands, sat in the hot spring water in Truth or Consequences, ran around in some ghost towns, and took in a rafting trip outside of Taos.
And along the way, I applied the following lessons I learned from yoga to my trip:
Stay in the Moment
Don’t start thinking about what you’re doing tomorrow and don’t let your mind get wrapped up in what ifs. Just enjoy the space where you are now. That’s not to say I didn’t plan for the next day. Of course I did. I reviewed my maps and read up on the places I wanted to see the night before. But I didn’t let my mind get caught up in worrying about rattlesnakes (The Boyfriend seemed terribly worried about this on my behalf), getting lost (never happened), or any other crazy thought that popped into my head. I had a mild freak out moment when I realized once how far out into the middle of nowhere I was, but I reassured myself I knew how to read a map (no GPS – it was that remote) and calmed myself down.
Yes, crazy thoughts did pop into my head. I acknowledged them but did not engage with them. I also dropped all preconceptions about what it meant to take a vacation by myself and just went with it. Turns out, it’s a very lovely thing.
This is the same thing as dropping all preconceptions about what your next class is going to be like or what your next posture within a class will be like. It will be what it will be, and you have some control over it but not 100%. Just go with what you’re given.
Is It Hot? I Didn’t Notice
At certain points, the heat really wasn’t too bad because of the elevation. At other times, like in Roswell, it was more noticeable. But it didn’t bother me. I was a bit peeved at myself for forgetting my hat in the car when I chose to walk a mile from one point of interest to the next in Roswell (when it was 95ish degrees), but I lived. And I stopped in a gas station to get some water. But seriously, 95 degrees? That’s a solid 10 degrees cooler than in the studio! I’ve got this.
I May Not Be Hydrated
Let’s be honest, my hydration isn’t optimal when I am on vacation. But the good thing is I know this. I am aware of how much I have/have not been drinking and I respond accordingly. I don’t put myself in situations where I’m going to get in trouble because of my lack of water intake. If I’ve learned nothing in my practice, it’s how to judge my own hydration levels.
You Can Do This
Anytime I found myself thinking, “Am I really out here wandering around all by myself?” or “How am I going to locate food when everything closes so early?” I reminded myself that I practice Bikram Yoga pretty much every single day. And that is hard enough in and of itself. So wandering around New Mexico by myself or locating food are not difficult tasks comparatively.
A Few Other Random Thoughts….
I didn’t do yoga. Ok – I went once in Albuquerque. But for the most part I did not do yoga for over a week. I didn’t even do crazy poses while I was out running around. I just let it go. And you know what? It was a great break. I did enjoy my one class – which I took later in the trip. I really needed it too as I was stiff. Having a mindful break from yoga can be a good thing. Yes, I was stiff when I got home and back into class again. No, I couldn’t go as deep in my postures as I could before I left. But that’s ok.
I cam back from this trip proud of myself. I did something I never imagined I could do – take a trip all by myself – and have a great time! But all along the way, I noticed how my practice made my trip a better experience. I have learned mindfulness, acceptance, and how to find peace within a given moment.