Dearly Devoted

My husband often claims I’m “obsessed” with yoga and there are times where I’m sure he’s right.  I do talk about it quite a bit, even with people who probably are not all that interested.   But when something works not only for you, but also for the students you teach week after week in such a profound way, you can’t help but want to share it with as many people as possible.  And when I’m not practicing or teaching I am thinking about it.   It seems I’m always musing about a particular posture or a student’s issues and how to solve them and continuing to research and read about yoga to further my knowledge to best serve those around me…so maybe he’s right.  I am obsessed.

So as we prepared to for our trip out to Lithuania and Belgium this summer I was a little uneasy about the fact that there would be no Bikram.  In fact, a full 10 days of no Bikram.  This would be the longest break I had taken from the practice in over 4 years.  But everyone deserves a vacation from the day-to-day, right?  And it’s not that I thought I would instantly gain 10 pounds and my left leg would start acting up again.  It was more the calm mental state, that peace within, that I felt would wear off over the course of the trip resulting in me becoming an insufferable crabby brat that worried me more than a little bit.

But as we rounded the bend in Lithuania after surviving an 11 hour flight resulting in a 4 hour layover to then take another 2 hour flight into Vilnius we were instantly memorized by the beauty of the city with the sea of terra cotta colored roofs stemming from cream colored buildings with flowers hanging from baskets at each window.  It seemed as if all of what I thought my life was about – yoga, writing, singing, acting, and taking care of the dog and the house – drifted away in a single moment.

As my husband was a attending the Spirituality and Music Education Conference at the university to present his research regarding Vipassana Meditation and its affect on teachers and their decision making process in the classroom, I had tons of time to myself within the first 3 days of our trip.  Not one to sleep in and lay about, I woke up early with him to see him off each day.  And for those first three days I will admit I went through the Bikram Series.   I was stiff and achy from the trip and my body craved a good back bend and a better opening in my hips and shoulders.  But there was no heat, no humidity, and I was probably being a bit too easy on myself as I went from posture to posture.

When my husband’s conference was finished I no longer had the time in the morning to fit in my practice.  We were in a new country with tons to see and officially on vacation.  There are very few times in one’s life where you can shake off every single responsibility and label of what you are and indulge in the true essence of your Self.  That’s what this time was to me.

As the days passed and we traveled onto Brussels, continuing our vacation, I no longer really missed the yoga.  My body was fine, my headspace was happy and peaceful and I started to think that maybe I was too obsessed with my yoga practice.  I felt great and I wasn’t sweating in a hot room for hours on end.

The day after we arrived home I knew I had to get the hot room to conquer the jet lag and get used to the heat before I took the podium once again.  As tired as I felt as we went from posture to posture I was surprised at how strong my practice was that day.

It was only a couple of hours later where I realized the amazing effect of the yoga.  I had never felt so incredible.  When we were away and I thought I felt great it was no comparison to what I was feeling now.  I had forgotten what feeling good honestly felt like and though I don’t regret taking a break, coming back to my practice was the greatest reward.

So the obsession continues, but whenever my husband teases me about it I now correct him.  It is not an obsession, but a form of devotion.  Devotion to a life of well being in which my body, mind, and soul are striving to work to their fullest potential.

A break is always good as long as you keep learning.  What has your summer break taught you about your practice?

If you enjoyed reading this post you may also enjoy reading:

Make Every Moment Your Moment

Your Light Will Shine When All Else Fades

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

14 thoughts on “Dearly Devoted

  1. This is my first summer doing Bikram – and it’s so different from March-May – much more challenging but still just as satisfying afterwards. I have worried about missing a day and have thought about what I’m going to do if I go on vacation – would I be able to easily take another class at a different studio? Would I feel comfortable? If nothing was there would I lose my momentum? All that stuff – even though on vacation I always find time to walk in the morning if not run. I’ve only been practicing for about 3.5 months – so I’ll see what happens after 4-5 years!

    I would think most people would be afraid that if they take a break – it may result in never going back again! But, like walking, Bikram is something that is sustainable for life – I try to remember it’s ALWAYS there waiting for when I’m ready.

    • If you take a vacation and there is a Bikram studio nearby you should definitely go! It’s always fun to try out a new studio and have a different instructor. If there was a studio where we were I probably would have gone, but I think I was meant to take a break.

      Many students are worried about taking a break because they feel those first classes back will be rough. But that first class back is like every other day – no expectations – and it could go either way.

      Lovely to hear from you – hope you’re having a great summer!

  2. I love taking short breaks from my practice. It always gives you that perspective of how great it really is. And I feel newly energized and can do things I maybe thought I couldn’t because I’ve broken a bit out of the routine of it all.

  3. Interesting to hear there are no Bikram studios in Belgium or Lithuania (or maybe just not close enough to where you were). I’ve never been to Europe but I’ve heard from others that taking class in a different country in a different language is pretty cool. You may not know the language but you know the postures and the sequence and you can go along with it regardless. Sounds like it would be fun.

    My last sustained break from practice has been last August on my vacation to visit family in PA. It was the first time in awhile that I went 10 days without class and I haven’t gone more than a few days between classes since then. (I average a class a day and do doubles routinely to account for the quirks in my schedule.) Last summer, since it was a family vacation with my kids, I wasn’t able to squeeze in a class in the closest studio (Philadelphia) since that’s an hour from my hometown. This year I was excited to learn that there’s a new studio opening up near where I’m from, Bikram Yoga Lehigh Valley! Apparently the grand opening is the week before my trip so I should be able to get a class or two in this time. I’m not afraid to take a break if situation makes it necessary but I would certainly prefer not to. I’m definitely obsessed like you are, totally addicted, and crave class (or two) every day possible.

    • I actually would have loved to take class, but there is no Bikram in Lithuania and the one studio in Brussels was way too far away from where we were staying to squeeze in a class. It would have been such a great experience, but when the yoga is also your job and career it was good for me to take a forced break for a bit. It’s always good to travel, but wonderful to come home and get back to the hot room! Thanks for reading!

  4. Like Rutabaga I’ve only been practicing for several months… but I too had to have a break when visinting Belgium! Truthfully even if there were a studio nearby I couldn’t really have indulged… the following week I was on a bikram Yoga holiday in Cyprus but the temperature was nothing on the Studio. Returning was painful, very painful but I’m finally back there. Or close, at least. Today is a day off to make way for organising some things but I’m missing it already and will be back tomorrow!

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