I was at a family gathering this weekend and my uncle mentioned how long it has been since I've posted on my blog. I realized it has been about 2 weeks without updates! And, oh! do I have updates! The past couple of weeks have been amazing. Let's start at the beginning.
My husband and I went to Cedar Point. We are both huge roller coaster fans, so this is an annual tradition of ours. I love being thrown at the earth at over 100 mph! Being a coaster professional, I know very well the benefits of post amusement park yoga. The increased pull on your spine alone from many of those rides, makes me want to hold uttanasana (forward fold) for 30 minutes. So at 11pm, after a long day of being flung through space, I rolled out my mat and decompressed. I have never felt better falling asleep after a long day at Cedar Point.
I have taken at lot of what I learned in that restorative workshop and woven it into my daily home practice. I did primarily restorative postures for my post-CP practice, and I used it every night during my backpacking adventure later in the week.
Normally, when I camp, I don't practice. Yoga for me is first and foremost a meditative practice. When I am in the woods, I already feel calm and don't need to meditate. However, I promised myself I would do yoga EVERY day, no exceptions! So I invented some strange melding of power vinyasa and restorative poses that could be done at night inside my tent.
I went backpacking, not typical camping. My husband and I carried everything we needed several miles into the forest. My yoga mat got left behind. This got me thinking. Why do I NEED my mat to practice? Shouldn't I be able to do some form of yoga no matter where I am? It rained everyday we were in the woods, and the ground remained a soggy mess of old leaves. If it had been dry I would have practiced outside, under the trees and stars. Instead, I practiced inside my little tent. This tent is so small that I couldn't fit my "down dog" into it. I found ways, through mostly core exercises to create a great internal heat. I even did some modified sun salutations, where I used child's pose in place of down dog. It was a great learning experience.
At some points during my practice in the woods, my breath seemed to echo the songs of the frogs and crickets. Yoga became even more of an amazing meditative process. I have never felt so at peace in the middle of a forest before. It was as if the woods and I were connected. The universal prana, the life that connects everything, was tangible during my yoga practice. I have left that week feeling an even greater since of camaraderie to all beings of this planet- from the little spider that made a web in my tent, to the fawn and doe that wandered into my camp, and now the squirrels in my backyard. I am beginning to understand that human beings are not at all separate from the animal kingdom or natural world. We may try to distance ourselves, but in the end, we are all the same breath, the same prana, the same inhaling and exhaling life force.