While I travel, my yoga practice largely goes neglected. Now and then, a moment will move me to get in a sun salutation or practice a few balance poses—most often when I’m perched in a precarious place (like in the Badlands in South Dakota). Largely, though, my practice stalls and for no reason at all. Something I love about yoga is its continuity: Yoga is yoga, and the poses in a practice are the same, whether I’m in Lexington, London or Luxembourg.
I broke my travel-yoga hiatus when I was staying at the Hare Krishna temple in Utah. In addition to rewarding work and community, we had daily yoga. For the Hare Krishnas, their bhakti yoga is a form of prayer. I appreciated this different perspective on the mostly physical practice I’ve had for some time. The temple’s Salt Lake City location even held a “yoga rave”—kirtan yoga—one night. Instead of listening to crackly sounding, faux-Indian music from an instructor’s iPod, we did two hours of yoga (some of the most difficult yoga I’ve ever done, might I add) and three hours of dancing to live kirtan music, involving the Hare Krishna mantra and harmonious instrumentals.
Since leaving the temple, I’ve neglected to take my yoga mat out of my car even once. Last night, another Idaho-farm volunteer and I ventured to Ketchum, Idaho, for the 12 Hours of Om yoga event. I did the 50-minute flow yoga class, and I hate myself for not practicing every day. It was the perfect mental and physical balance practice for my week. The class was nothing like the ones I did in the quiet of the temple or like any I’ve done in a yoga studio or gym. It was held in the town square, amid shoppers, commuters (it was 5 p.m.), tourists and traffic. It was also a stupid 88 degrees, and more than half of my mat was squarely in the sun. I’ve never sweat so much during a yoga class that was not a hot yoga class.
The flow was not too fast and not too slow, and I was reminded of my new conquest: bird of paradise. I started my practice of this pose in the security of the temple. I get the concept and can sort of wiggle my way into it in a rather uncoordinated and mildly embarassing manner, but I was not confident enough to attempt it in the town square. Next time.
During yesterday’s shavasana (corpse pose), the instructor pointed out that taking this pose in this setting required trust and internal serenity—what with strangers and vehicles and noise all around. She reminded us that, like much of yoga, this practice of trust and internal serenity can be brought with us into the rest of daily life. That’s a nice idea, and I hope it will motivate me to bring out my yoga mat more often. Like right now.