11,301 km so far.
When we first set out on this trip, we imagined plenty of free time which we would spend advancing our yoga practices. Instead, especially for me, there always seems to be an excuse why we can’t practice.
Sometimes the excuses are valid: we just rode 100 km up two mountains; there’s barely enough room in our guesthouse for a bed, let alone a down dog; we want to go explore the city we’re in; we are camping in a mosquito-infested mud pit. That kind of thing.
Sometimes the excuses are far more flimsy: I have too much writing to do; the floor is dirty; I am too tired; I just plain don’t wanna. Today, I just wanted to sit by the pool.
One Pedal Stroke After Another
But I didn’t. I got up and went with Stephen to his class at Wild Rose Yoga. Rose had invited a group of students made up of dedicated practitioners, teacher trainees, and teachers. As I watched the room fill up from my mat, I knew this was going to be a fun couple of hours.
Stephen talked today about how focussing on the pieces of a journey – each pedal stroke, each yoga pose – can lead you somewhere you never envisioned at the start.
If I had set out to pedal 11,000 km through 19 countries, I probably never would have stepped out of my front door. It sounds way too hard. Instead, we decided to get on our bikes and see where we got.
Of course, it’s good to have goals. Rome to Russia was a great way to motivate ourselves on days when we felt like quitting or it was raining or we couldn’t find a decent camping spot. But as it turns out, getting to Russia was just a way to name our trip, it has nothing to do with what we actually accomplished, or the benefits that came from it, and continue to come from it, daily.
In the same way, doing the perfect handstand might be your goal in yoga, but its really every little action you do to get to handstand, and all the things you learn along the way, that change you.
Roses And Ravens
As always, the second I stepped onto my mat, I felt energised and revived. I have badly needed to do a real practice (not just a few stretches at the end of the day). To focus on each part of each muscle, and to work my body and brain in ways that a bike trip does not, is so refreshing after hundreds of kilometres doing the same work day after day.
I felt so lucky to do it in such an amazing setting among such a dedicated group of students.
Wild Rose is a warm organic space that has a similar atmosphere to my favourite studio in LA, The Raven. Hi Tony!
And the community, made up of students who come from all over the world – Thailand, Japan, Turkey, Australia, and Czech to name a few – are friendly and fascinating. Some live in Chiang Mai, but most are frequent visitors, spending a few weeks here at least once a year. It must be hard to build a community involving such a transient population, but Rose has done a marvellous job.
Thanks so much to Rose and Stephen for helping me drown out the excuses and get onto my mat!
Of course, yoga didn’t take all day, so we had plenty of time to eat, drink, and explore the Sunday walking street before night fell.
Until tomorrow. ♥