Asana Vacation: Life Without Asana Practice
Taking an asana vacation was not something I had ever considered before. I love my daily practice and feel that is the best way to start my day. As I planned my adventure through Europe I had every intention of getting on my mat each day. I imagined myself waking up, taking my mat onto the balcony of my hotel and moving my body. Here is what really happened. I woke up exhausted from the day before, slightly upset that I had slept in, missed my asana practice, decided I must be a bad yogi, and then began a day of fabulous sightseeing mixed with a moderate amount of guilt. That was until I began my official asana vacation. After five days of guilt I decided to let go of my rigid plan for myself and to actively live the other parts of my practice instead, the parts that maybe get left as an afterthought to the physical side of practice.
An asana vacation for me is intentional time away from my mat to actively live the other limbs of yoga. This can be fantastic rest for the body, and an asana vacation can also provide some deep insight about how the other limbs of yoga are being integrated into your life.
As I began my asana vacation I noticed was that I was more reactive in my interactions with people. Whereas normally my physical practice offered me some space for contemplation and mindfulness, during this asana vacation it became necessary to intentionally take that time, to breathe a little deeper moment to moment and create that same space through breath. I find asana practice a wonderful tool to keep my anxiety in check, and without that time on my mat I noticed that I was taking moments in my day to breathe deeply and stretch my body when I could feel my anxiety rising.
This asana vacation provided me some deep insight into why I get on my mat each day, and to see if I could find those same benefits though moment to moment mindfulness and knowledge. What I found was that there were moments where I was already living my yoga off the mat, as well as areas to work on. On the whole my asana vacation reenforced my dedication to this incredible practice.
Have you ever taken an intentional or unintentional asana vacation?
by Mark Atherton, ERYT200, Yogacara Teacher Trainer