Travel Yoga & a reflection on “Once in a lifetime . . .
In the last few weeks, I’ve taken TWO life-changing trips.
1). To St. Martin in the Caribbean for eight days . . . to explore the island and teach yoga, breathwork, and meditation, twice a day.
2). To Malta in the Mediterranean for 11 days . . . to explore the islands and PRACTICE yoga without teaching. I saw it as an opportunity to slow down, work on my own practice, and immerse myself in the teachings.
It has been extraordinary. Powerful. Magical.
I’m still processing/integrating/reflecting. I intend to share more in future newsletters and posts.
Today, a highlight from my experience in Malta.
To begin, consider this quote from the home page of my web site:
Life is a process of learning, dismantling what you’ve learned or think you know, and then learning again.
Sometimes you think you know or understand a concept. And then, POW! Something happens and it reveals your assumptions were wrong all along. Or, something happens that makes you realize you “aren’t there yet”. You thought you knew and understood something, but . . . you were lacking some major insight.
Here’s a specific example . . .
I was sitting in the courtyard of a limestone bungalow in Malta with a group of teachers and students. We were in meditation when one of the teachers stated, “This is a once in a lifetime moment”.
It hit me.
There are moments in life that stand out as unique and unparalleled, yes. But are they limited?
For whatever reason, at that moment, I felt like I woke up.
It was like a punch in the face.
I heard the phrase “Once in a lifetime” and took it literally.
For the first time.
It wasn’t about the location or the travel experience being “once in a lifetime”. It was seeing the truth of every second being “once in a lifetime”.
I heard “once in a lifetime” differently than I had ever heard it before. And I sat there contemplating the exceptional nature of existence.
The Uniqueness of Every Moment:
EVERY moment is distinct. Life is a series of fleeting moments, each different from the last. Whether it’s a sunrise painting the sky in hues of pink and orange or a chance encounter that alters the course of our day, these moments are singular and unrepeatable. We tend to vividly remember the extraordinary . . . the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. The rest gets muddled, the daily monotony forgotten. But whether forgotten or remembered, each moment is unique.
And there’s another factor at play . . .
The Ever-Changing Self:
We are constantly evolving, growing, transforming . . . in every possible way . . . the physical body (on a cellular level), the mind, the spirit. The person we are today is not the same as the person we were yesterday, and this constant metamorphosis adds to the uniqueness of each moment. Our perspectives, emotions, and responses to the world around us are in a perpetual state of flux. Our perceptions influence the way we engage with others and with our environment.
So, if every moment is distinct,
and humans are constantly evolving,
AND the environment around us is in a perpetual state of flux (seasons, nature, the rotation of the earth, the moon cycles, etc., etc.) . . .
The phrase “once in a lifetime” takes on a literal and profound meaning.
The question is:
Do we truly know and understand this?
Do our actions and words reflect this understanding?
It’s so easy to fall into the monotony of our jobs and daily routines until something “significant” shakes us to the core.
This is why we practice.
That moment in Malta, for me, was a major call to mindfulness.
A few ideas for practicing mindfulness:
Create Mindful Rituals: Establish simple rituals throughout your day that serve as reminders to be present. It could be as basic as taking a few moments to consciously breathe when you wake up, savoring the flavor of your morning coffee, or setting an alarm as a reminder to pause and meditate during the day.
Use Visual or Tactile Reminders: Place subtle visual or tactile cues in your environment to prompt mindfulness. This could be a small object on your desk, a sticky note on your bathroom mirrow, or a screensaver with an inspiring message.
Practice Gratitude Daily: Dedicate a few minutes each day to reflect on and express gratitude for the experiences, people, or moments that made an impact. This practice not only fosters a positive mindset but also encourages mindfulness by prompting you to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of each day. Whether through journaling or simply reflecting in your mind, expressing gratitude reinforces the idea that every moment is distinct and unique.
Join me for Yoga: Whether at the studio or in my home studio for a class, workshop or private session, mindfulness is cultivated on the yoga mat. You can choose to practice breath-synchronized asana practice, meditation practice, and/or breathwork practice. These practices will extend into daily life, promoting mindfulness in everyday activities.
Embracing the idea that every moment is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence encourages us to be fully present in the here and now.
We can wake up to the beauty, significance, and intricacies of each passing second. But we might have to remind ourselves to stay awake.
How will YOU do so? I’d love to hear from you!