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Yoga Vacation or Extension?

Shedding the old idea of rewarding myself.

When I was a software programmer my vacations consisted of maiming my hearing with ridiculously loud music and damaging the rest of me with everything unhealthy I could find to shove in my pie hole. Back then I needed to get away from my life, and vacation was a weird form of reward for all the work I’d done in the office. I didn’t realize until this past weekend that my vacation attitude has changed dramatically.

Grab the Remote!

My awesome acupuncture friend Sarah and I took a weekend kayaking trip last summer on Smith Island. We stayed on a tiny island called Tylerton that’s so remote we took a ferry to get there. She and I had such a blast we decided to extend the invitation, so six of us ate, drank and paddled all Father’s Day weekend.

On Sunday we’re all sitting around the breakfast table discussing how we can or cannot call our respective fathers. Some of us have Verizon and others have AT&T. None of us has good cell service and data is out of the question. I haven’t had my phone on at all – except to use my mindfulness app for meditation – and I’ve been tickled about it. Free of the bonds of cell service. But some are concerned with calling their fathers. I’m figuring mine knows I love him whether I call him or not. I can call him when I get back and he’ll likely still love me. And be tickled to hear about my trip. I joke that our cell phones are like that Coke bottle in The Gods Must Be Crazy. Helpful, but trouble if overused. And more divisive than unifying.

Yoga on the Dock of the Bay

The Inn of Silent Music has a dock with a boat ramp where we can launch our kayaks and paddleboards. I love taking my yoga and meditation practice outside, so the dock merged two of my loves: yoga and water! It’s actually much easier for me to meditate outside because my mind will attach itself to the water lapping against the pier and the sea gulls cooing at their breakfast. When it comes to my yoga practice it’s nice to focus where the water meets the sky. Aaaahhhh.

During breakfast I’d argued with one of our extremely strong, Type-A Manhattan transplant friends that I could teach him headstand without a wall. He argued that it requires balance. I argue that he’s plenty strong enough, that needing the wall is in his mind. Balance requires strength and he has plenty of that.

After our breakfast settles my girlfriends - who’d been watching two of us practice earlier - snatch up the yoga mats and have a nice pre-paddle practice. When the ladies are finished I call ole’ Type-A over for a lesson. He’s already seen me do a headstand on a paddleboard, so I figure he knows it can be done. The person who forgot about his mind was me.

I show him the eight steps to headstand that I’d learned years ago. He kneels down and already skips over step one. I try to say “breathe” and he’s throwing his legs up in the air. SPLASH. He’s in the drink. His head pops up laughing. He’s mooning our buddy on the porch as he pulls himself out of the water. Pure hilarity.

I begin to analyze what went wrong and give it another go. Then I realize he’s me. And I’m him. We’re both in a hurry. I smile and realize his headstand can happen another day. The splash was plenty of lesson. For now.

Get Back, Not Away

While walking with my other awesome acupuncture friend Katie I realize that vacation is no longer an escape. It’s a way to reboot. But instead of destroying my body and mind I’m replenishing my good habits and exploring the nuances of practices. It’s not like I didn’t drink copious amounts of wine, but my body knew when it was time for bed. Because enjoying the day meant a good night’s sleep, meditation, yoga, delicious food, and a paddle.

It feels much nicer to use a remote island to change my perspective than to use a remote control to change the channel. And to change the channel with a paddle and a paddleboard instead of a remote control. Peaceful and awesome if I pay attention.

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