Monday 15 April 2024
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The Yoga of Travel


The time has finally come. September marked the last month of The Alchemy of Flow and Form: Advanced Teacher Training at San Marcos School of Yoga with Gioconda Parker and Christina Sell.

I learned a lot at my 300 hour teacher training: who I am as a teacher, what my authentic voice sounds like, and how to teach more effectively from that place. However, there is certainly one thing it prepared me for that I was not expecting: All Of The Driving. The San Marcos School of Yoga is 30 minutes from my house in Austin, TX, without traffic, so I spent at least three hours every weekend of training commuting back and forth between home and school.

That’s right. One thing they don’t tell you in teacher training is that, if you’re lucky, you are going to spend a good chunk of your life, from now until forever, driving. And not just driving, but traveling in general; trains, planes, and automobiles. Whatever your form of transportation is, you will be doing it a lot.

When you first start teaching, it’s probably like five different studios, on opposite ends of town, with fifteen minutes between classes. But then, even when you’ve been teaching for a while, and you’re teaching five privates at five different houses and then classes and then workshops, and THEN, if you’re really lucky, you’re traveling to DIFFERENT cities, and different states and countries… You’re traveling a lot. That’s great! It means you’re working, and if your goal is to make a living, that’s pretty important.

But sitting in a car, or on a plane, or a train for hours on end seems kind of counter-intuitive to the life of a traveling yogini. Many people, upon hearing that yoga is “what I do,” assume that my life is all green smoothies, yoga pants, and meditation. Ok, I mean, it kind of is, but it’s also sometimes two hours of sitting in a car every day driving from class to meeting to studio to class… And let me tell you, nothing is less conducive to calm and relaxation than sitting on 1-35 thru downtown Austin during rush hour traffic.

So, I’ve compiled a list of “Things I’ve Learned” about life and yoga from repeatedly almost getting side swiped by oncoming traffic and shaking my fists in the air, angrily and repeatedly. And then, of course, a playlist to make your commute (or train ride, or plane ride) a little more enjoyable.

1. Patience.

Sometimes I’m sitting at a stop and go light for two…three…rounds before it’s my turn. It can be frustrating, but as long as I stay in the driver’s seat, and I don’t throw a fit, get out of my car and walk away, eventually it’s always my turn and I can go about my merry way.

It’s not easy, though, and sometimes it feels as though you’re wasting your life away waiting for the light to turn green. Stay in the driver’s seat. It’ll come. Patience.

2. Benefit of the doubt. 

I’ve never really understood that saying, so I looked it up… Here’s what had to say:

“Benefit of the doubt refers to an adoption of a positive opinion or judgement when there is some but not sufficient evidence to think otherwise.”

They go on to say that in legal terms, benefit of the doubt is referred to as reasonable doubt. The first documented use of the term reasonable doubt appears in 18th century English and American case law.

Simple, right? Adopt a positive attitude even when there is some evidence to the contrary. That guy cut you off when you were trying to get over to the other lane? It probably wasn’t intentional. Maybe he’s just having a bad day and he’s running late. I would like to not be judged solely based on when I am feeling crappy and make the wrong choice – you can choose to take a deep breath and let it go when someone else isn’t on their best behavior, either. Trust me; way less stress.

When in doubt, tip the scales towards the positive.

3. Just go for it.

Once you’ve made the choice to pull out in front of oncoming traffic real quick, or pick up speed to make it through a yellow light, you have got to go for it. Otherwise, what happens? If you second guess your choice to go, and slam on your brakes at the last second, then so do the five other cars in line behind you. Now, you’re the cause of a six-car pile up, and you’re going to get wherever you were going a lot…slower…

When I made the choice to start teaching yoga full time, I was definitely tempted to second guess myself and go back to my day job with my proverbial tail between my legs, begging for my job back. I wanted to slam on my breaks and take it back, but I didn’t. I chose to keep moving forward.

Make the choice to go for your dreams.

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