My husband and I camp a few times throughout the year. This started when we were first dating as I joined along on a campout he had every year with his father in the fall that we had met. Finding that we both enjoyed hiking it became something we shared together throughout the years always searching for a new trail we hadn’t yet conquered. When I had been gone for a couple of months performing in a show one of the first things we would do when I got back was hit the trails. It always gave us a space to talk over what was going on in our lives apart, as well as our lives together, and would bond us together after weeks and months with just phone calls keeping us in sync. As our passion for hiking grew we realized that we were going so far and for so long that we thought it might just be easier to get a tent of our own instead of driving home after killing ourselves out on the trails all day long.
What I love about our campouts is the quiet. Whether we just go alone or with friends, the silence of the woods surrounding us gives each of us a space to breathe, connect, and talk without any distractions. Being out in the fresh air all day makes the food taste better, the sleep deeper, and everyday living kind of slip away. Cell phone reception and Wi-Fi spots are not an amenity found in the sites we choose. When we are there its time to unwind and get back into the rhythm of nature.
But last year at one of our favorite spots, we were surrounded by campers that had no intention of being outdoors and living in nature’s simplicity. Radios blared from each campsite, movies were being played to their loudest decibel, a dart board was nailed to a tree, bean bag toss games were everywhere and there was a constant banging from impact as darts and bean bags tried to reach there intended target long into the night. My husband and I could barely hear each other across the campfire it had gotten that loud and it made me wonder why my neighboring campers had to be so distracted from being in nature. Was it that hard to just sit and be? To just enjoy the view and really listen to their friends and family in conversation? If they brought all of their distractions with them, what was the point of getting away to camp?
When we packed up the following morning we regretfully knew that it was the last time we would camp at that spot. It had become too touristy over the years and had lost its quiet charm. But places change and for us it was time to move on and discover new trails and campsites.
I’ve been thinking about that particular visit to the woods over the last week and how the people reacted to being in the silence of nature, trying to stuff it full of every activity and noise they could find in order to be comfortable, instead of taking the time to really get in touch with themselves and their surroundings. It reminds me of how we are now beginning to react to yoga. Yes, we want to do yoga. We want the peace, calm, and medical benefits it provides, but we want it under our own terms. We would rather have it be 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes. We want music blaring. It would be great if we could have neon lights dangling from our arms and blacklights on the ceiling. Hey, let’s do acroyoga! I want to hang upside down from the ceiling!! Or naked yoga – who need clothes anyway?
Now, I’m not saying that it’s not fun and not beneficial to do acroyoga, yoga with music, with blacklights, or stark naked. I’m just saying why? Yoga is a journey within. When you are at a yoga class you want to release outward distractions in order to truly take a look at you – your body, your breath, your emotional and mental state. You want to connect to your truest essence. And this takes time. It takes 90 minutes sometimes to release everything in the brain and body and truly let go.
The problem is we confuse yoga with working out. Yoga can give you a hot body. It most likely will give you the best body you’ve ever had if you truly to commit to it. But it will give you a lot more if you treat it less like a workout and more as a chance to connect with yourself. I often tell my students, “Dig deep.” What are they supposed to be digging for? They are supposed to trying to uncover themselves and everything they don’t even know they are capable of accomplishing yet. Because it takes time to find this. But when you finally release the outward distractions, what you find is more valuable than anything on this earth.
It’s your journey to take. Make it one that opens you up from the inside out instead of the outside in.
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