Yoga on the road: monkey mind

While traveling through Asia, I struggled to keep my daily practice. I whined and blamed my external environment for making me ill and keeping me off of my mat. Amidst the noise, heat and nausea – I discovered that my biggest distraction was my undisciplined, monkey-mind.

A year ago, when Rik and I were in Asia, I struggled to keep up my yoga practice. I was perplexed: how do I maintain my practice while Im away from my home and my daily routine? With so many changing variables, how can I make yoga a regular part of my life? I tried my darndest, performing awkward asanas in the oddest of places. I strategically squished my mat between my bed and the door, or when this was physically impossible, I stretched out (albeit self-consciously) in hostel hallways.

Much to my dismay, my daily routine became a distant memory. I blamed it on the ever-changing environment, the heat, the bugs, the incessant honking of horns – anything that distracted me from my breath. I realized that I was supremely distracted; I was the blissfully-ignorant owner of a noisy mind. I attached to distractions to find an easy way out. If I sat still, I would have to face the noise that was inside – the fears and apprehensions that were arising. I was out of my element, away from the comforts of home, of family – I had left the nest and I felt like I was falling out of my tree. I had always fashioned myself a worldly and adventurous person, and here I was – a paranoid, penny-pinching tourist. My inner critic was hurling furious frustration. I looked for salvation on my mat.

If I wanted to fit yoga into my life I needed to make time and space for it. When we arrived in Railay, I was relieved to unpack and settle down for awhile. Rik and I encouraged each other to bring yoga back into our lives. In the morning, we pushed our mosquito-netted-bed aside and magically transform our bungalow into a private studio. I became fond of our sweaty studio – the gentle breeze that flowed through the door and the clucking of roosters beneath the wood floor. Ahhh, I was lost and now I am found. I vowed that I would keep up my practice. No matter how irregular my life had become, I would find my way back to my mat. I had the best of intentions, but this amounted to squat because I was lacking discipline. Alas, we left Railay and I didn’t see my mat for a long, long while.

Practice, practice…