Earlier this week, my dog Cody took me for lovely trail run.  I say he took me because he’s that fast:)  The air was crisp with a hint of fall in the air, dew was still fresh on the leaves.  The sun’s rays were just starting to poke through the leaves.  All we could hear beyond our own footsteps were the crickets and the birds.  As I made my way along the trail and took everything in with all my senses, I thought to myself…this is yoga.

Cody soaking it all in:)

A few days prior, I was losing sleep over the stress of a move across country we are about to embark upon.  As I lay awake staring at the ceiling, obsessing about things that needed to get done before our departure, I realized my thinking patterns were stuck in the “what ifs,” of the future.  In that moment, I made the active choice to stop this destructive thinking.  I sat up and meditated on where deep in my psychie these thoughts were stemming from.  And not only did I find resolution, I became more accepting and comfortable with the emotions that were showing up.  As I drifted to sleep I thought…this is yoga!

Many of my students have taken some fabulous vacations this summer.  When learning about their exciting travels, the same discussion kept coming up.  Everyone kept talking about how it takes at least 3 days to relax and chill out before one can actually acknowledge they are in “paradise.”  This got me thinking…wow.  This life is too short to bank on 2-4 vacation weeks out of the year to find paradise.  And that’s not including the subtraction of the 3 days per week to chill out!

Can we find this in our minds…the answer is YES!!!

Why must we go somewhere to give ourselves permission to be worry free?  Don’t get me wrong…I love a white sandy beach.  But if you really think about it, paradise is not a place.  It is a state of mind.  It is when we give ourselves permission to take the mind out of the past and/or the future.  We decide to be fully present.

Life can get hectic.  We have jobs to do, errands to run, and bills to pay.  Sometimes we get caught up in the rat race and just go through the motions.  And sadly, oftentimes it takes a monumental event or a crisis in our life to grab our undivided attention and become fully present again.

The same thing can happen in our yoga practice.  We become very good at our physical practice.  We have the alignment of each pose down to perfection, and we learn to shut down the mind.  To tune out.  But perhaps the essence of a true yogi, of being fully present is to be just that.  To have the ability to soak up every aspect of the pose.  To allow the senses to fully experience each pose and to be okay with whatever arises within us.  Same goes for the daily grind…to be able to be fully present and to not let drama in our external world get the best of us.  More like tuning in.

So, what’s it going to be?  Are you going to bank on finding paradise 2-4 weeks out of the year to create space in the heart and mind to be a little more free?  Or perhaps you can find paradise in the here and now…your call:)