There’s no place like h”OM”e
One of my favorite parts of vacations, is coming home. I just got back from being abroad for over 2 weeks. I first led a yoga/Pilates retreat on an awesome Escape to Shape in Puglia, Italy. Then, I met my amazing husband in the Alps (Wengen, Luzerne and Weggis) for 10 days of hiking, cycling, adventure and relaxation.
Both of the experiences and vacations were beyond awesome. I felt like it was one of the best Escape’s I had done; and being in one of the most gorgeous places on earth with my husband, was magnificent. But, coming home is like taking Savansana (final relaxation).
Every time I go away, I feel as if I’m taking a really long yoga class. I discover new things about myself, I come up against frustrations, I’m often pushed to my edge, I have to deal with new territory, new feelings in my body and open up to different ways of taking care of myself.
I actually used to be terrified of traveling. I am such a creature of habit and always feel safest in my comfort zone, on a schedule, and in a familiar environment. I loved being in school as a child and having structure, order and a routine. When summer time came, I often panicked. It has taken me a long time to learn the art of letting go, going with the flow, letting things unwind and being fine with doing nothing.
On vacations, routines are usually thrown out the window. There may be some structured activity; but there’s always unexpected weather to deal with, foreign languages, foreign foods, as well as trains, planes and automobiles! I think one of the most important things I’ve learned throughout the years and through my yoga practice can be summed up by Jon Kabbat Zinn’s famous words: “Whereever you go, there you are.”
In yoga class we are always discovering more about ourself. The same is true when we travel or vacate our safety zone. We aren’t vacating ourself or leaving a part of us behind, we are bringing our entire being along for the ride. I often laugh at how quickly people will change their entire lifestyle, just because they are in a different country.
I’ve learned how important it is to find an anchor or support, an inner compass so to speak. No matter where I go or how out of place I may feel, I can always come back to simple tools like breathing, observing, meditating and stretching. I always find time and space no matter where I am to do these things. This way I can keep learning to find the ease within the effort, the letting go within the structure, and the art of being with any discomfort that may arise, as well as being fully present to experience all of the magnificent events as well.
At the end of a really great journey wether it’s abroad or right here on my yoga mat in my own living room, I always know I can lie down at the end and come home. Come home to myself, to my own inner state of being, my own natural state of beauty and bliss. Every practice, every trip just continues to strengthen that inner sense of “OM” and contentment and help me grow in to a more well-rounded person.
After coming home or out of a long savasana, I wiggle my fingers and toes and come back up to sit (unpack and look around my apartment), seal in the practice (look over all the fun photos we took while away) and know that I will repeat the journey over and over again throughout my life with nothing to fear. I want to know as much about myself as I possibly can and continue to know more about this incredible world we live in and experience it all!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!