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This inspiration came to me at four AM in a hotel, somewhere in Nebraska, as my husband, two dogs, and I adventured across the country moving from Illinois to California! I learned a lot about my practice while on the road:
1. That just because it may not LOOK like my "usual" practice, doesn't mean it can't feel as deep, as good, or as fulfilling.
2. That sometimes allowing the body/mind more rest, rather than getting up to do a "full practice", is the most Yogic (i.e., compassionate, peaceful, aware) thing I can do.
3. That with a mind set on increasing awareness, any landscape or situation can be an opportunity to practice (i.e., to observe the body mind and to take action toward greater awareness.
The first day of our trip, I set my alarm, got up when I usually do, and completed the morning routine and practice that I had usually been doing. It felt OK. As we were packing up the car and getting everything ready to leave, I noticed I was feeling impatient, irritable, and anxious for what was to come. I caught myself holding my breath and breathing shallowly many times throughout the nine hours we drove that day.
The second day, after a night of little and restless sleep, I decided to be gentle on myself. I set out to do a shorter practice, that was focused on more seated and supine postures with longer holds and deep breaths, to allow the tension and stress that had accumulated from the previous day to begin to release; and it DID! My body exhaled, my mind began to slow, and despite driving (well, riding; my husband drove the whole way!) for 15+ hours that day, I remained more peaceful, present, and adaptable to when we made stops, when and what we ate, and how late we drove into the night. In other words, I RELEASED the expectations of how I thought it SHOULD be, and remained present with what WAS.
The third and final day of our trip, I chose not to set an alarm. I woke when I woke, and showed up on my mat with what time was available. As my dogs clobbered me with good morning kisses and excitement (an act that would normally annoy me when trying to focus), I took a few moments to be with them and show them love back. As I was watching them, I watched how they woke their bodies, instinctively moving in a way that would open up and release for greater ease of movement. I decided to try the same approach in my morning practice. I took a few moments to check in, notice how my body/mind was feeling, and move accordingly. It was slow, deep, fluid, and grounding. My breath was full and even. In total, my practice was under 20 minutes, but it felt more "complete" than it had in a while. I thought back to the ancient Yogic story of how Sages created the initial body postures that lead to a state of greater awareness and enlightenment: by watching how nature moves and copying it. Our dogs didn't need a class, or 200+ hours of study to learn how to open up their bodies, they simply trust their instincts. They don't "try" to meditate; being 100% present is all they know.
And I thought, how would we move our bodies if we hadn't been told what was "right" and "wrong"? How would we breathe if we weren't trying to do 100 million things at a time, or if our minds weren't focused on some painful past or stressful (and IMAGINARY!) future? How present and happy might we be? I'm taking a lesson from my dogs on this one; they carry greater wisdom than they'll ever know.
I hope this serves to increase peace, compassion, and awareness toward your own practice; whatever that looks like from day to day.