Traveling on my own and being totally alone for 10 days I did expect to learn more about myself. I was not disappointed. I was not thrilled with everything that I discovered nor was I totally surprised.
When you have that much time to be alone, to practice and to meditate you can't help but re-connect with who you are, who you used to be and where you want to go. I found the asana practice easy and it just worked. While away I had very little if any back pain and felt as limber and flexible as ever. Whether I practiced on my balcony or on the beach I felt great and was so blessed to do it almost every day - even twice sometimes. My meditation practice was an entirely different story. I often tell my students that the most difficult thing to block out during mediation is the noises in your head. You can eventually forget about the birds, and cars and other noises but you cannot run away from your thoughts. My practice was no different. I thought that being in such a secluded place would make my mediation easy but no such luck. There were several days that I had to stop after five minutes due to frustration or other things that I needed to deal with and write down. I stayed present to the process and took care of myself.
I often struggle with food. I am not necessarily and over or an under eater I just nibble and don't remember to eat or I eat too much. In this environment I was able to be connected to my body and eat and drank when I felt like it. Much to my surprise I ate a lot less and less often than I feel I do at home. This could be because I was not constantly in contact with food and the choices available to me were for the most part healthy and always delicious. I also ate a purely vegetarian diet. I do this at home as well but it was nice not to have to prepare food with meat because someone else wants or needs it.
I was re-connected with my sleep pattern before having children. I like to stay up late, wake up early and have a nap when I can. I did this daily. I would go to sleep around 11 and sometimes later and was up and ready for yoga practice at 5:30 most mornings. My afternoon nap was accepted and enjoyed with relish. This is something I almost never get to do at home. My sleep at home is often erratic and interrupted. I wake up and go to bed tired and frustrated, something I never experienced once while being away.
I had my eyes opened to the reality of my personal life. I knew before I left that things in my life are not as I had wanted or planned for them to be. It is up to me now to change those things and make myself happy. I spend most of my daily life trying to ensure that everyone around me is happy and content. I have gotten lost somewhere along the way. Daily my time is spent making sure that my three children as well as the children I care for or the extra kids that are in my house are fed, content and have things to do. In the evenings I make sure my husband has what he needs before I head out to teach classes to give again to my students. I am learning that if I don't make sure that I am taken care of, no one is going to do that for me. My children won't that's not their job and my partner won't for his own reasons. It is all up to me. My expectations when traveling were to figure out what to do about my work situation. I was very surprised to have my personal situation put in my face, now I need to deal!
As for my work situation I know that needs to change but now I need to figure out how to do it. I want to teach yoga full time. I think that this endeavor is at least a year away. My daughter is still home with me full time and I cannot afford to place her in day care full time, nor do I want to. I would love to combine yoga and travel and have a few colleagues who do this. Taking people to foreign countries and teaching there is something that I would love to do.
For the mean time I will try to focus more on me. What makes me happy and what makes me tick. I still feel a bit lost but at least now I know what I need to be looking for.
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.