Let’s face it. It’s easy in this town to get caught up in the act of doing, instead of the act of being. Your full schedule gets busier as you juggle work, deadlines, commuting, family and friends, and ironically even yoga. The next thing you know summer has long since come and gone, fall has slipped past, and it is full on winter (snow!)... What happened? When did your time on the yoga mat become just another thing you had to get done? And more importantly how do you recharge and reclaim that yoga buzz you get, the one that leaves you strong and confident and ready to take on the world? Yes, you could lock yourself away from the world for a weekend and live off of romantic comedies and ice cream (a temporary fix that could go bad fast - trust me)... or you could resolve to hit the yoga mat every day (another to-do item and more stress?)... or you could, as I discovered a few years ago, go on a yoga retreat.
Recently I did just that: I spent an amazing week with a wonderful group of yogis in Tulum, Mexico. My first yoga retreat to Tulum was in 2007 and I have returned at least 3 or 4 times since then. Time and time again returning to this magical place has renewed me with purpose and clarity. This time was no exception. When we landed in Cancun, I was exhausted and grumpy. It was the final days of Spark’s 40 Day Detox. I was admittedly missing my coffee and wine -- and my love affair with yoga had soured. Our first yoga class that evening changed all of that. It might have been simply practicing outside in a soft breeze with the sound of the ocean in the background. It might also have been the playful flow which released all of the aches and pains of the day’s travel. Yet as I reflect back on that week, I know now it was the act of finally being instead of doing. My schedule was radically simplified: yoga twice a day. Nothing more. Daily life was radically simplified: no hairdryers allowed, no shoes necessary, and delicious healthy food prepared upon request. It seemed at long last I was taking deep, fulsome breaths.
As the week unfolded, I witnessed my own thawing, so to speak. My yoga practice evolved day by day, minute by minute. There was a willingness, an eagerness to try those poses that have eluded me for years. My backbends were deeper, my hips more open... and then much to my surprise I opened up to life off the mat. I said yes to a bike ride to the Mayan ruins. I actually went snorkeling in an underwater cave (one of my biggest fears!), and more importantly, I rediscovered the power of friendship. Along this journey of self-rediscovery, I found new and old friends and laughed out loud for hours on end. I returned home recharged, renewed, and happy.
Reflecting now I realize yet again that sometimes we need to step out of our day-to-day routine and into a new environment to remind us of how alive we feel when we are present in the moment. Living in the moment empowers us and ignites our joie de vivre, that feeling of happiness or excitement about life. I encourage you to choose this path too. Step out of your day-to-day routine, explore what life has to offer, and in the process, rediscover your true power.
- Jennifer Heinsheimer