How yoga helped me stay grounded before flying.
By Veronica King
I find it surreal to write this piece on my parents’ kitchen table in Adelaide. The trip, which was canceled 3 times due to border changes, seems to have been lucky for the fourth time. In recent years we have been surrounded by fear, separated from our loved ones, and unsure of whether something we were really planning would go ahead. As I prepared for this trip, I knew that my practice would help me stay stable and grounded. I share it to share hope and to share the true treasure of our practice, grace.
How do you feel about yoga when you practice on the mat?
It took me a while and the right teacher, who shared the philosophy of yoga along with the asana, to understand that the purpose of yoga is to embody the teachings of life, our relationships, our choices, and our response to the world. (Not just when we’re on a yoga retreat). After all the Bhagavad Gita takes place on a battlefield, in the eye of the storm of life we delve into the teachings to guide us. We are often in a crisis that we are deeply transformed by.
Organizing trips again in 2022 is how some principles of yoga helped me:
This journey was to take place in its own window of time, in a divine time. He should let go when he thought it would happen and allow it to develop when the conditions were right. I kept trying to schedule the trip, I used the same credit 3 times, I knew that the more I insisted, the more disappointment and emotional distress arose. In January I decided I couldn’t keep postponing my life so I could make this trip, I was blocking the flow in other aspects of my life. So I totally gave up. I let go of the “do” and gave myself permission to be with how things were. To stay there.
Prepare and make informed decisions:
In each practice there is a warm-up to prepare the body for where we will take it. Over time we learn our limits and constantly practice what we can, so that one day we may be surprised by access to the new posture, or transcend the pain and tension we felt before. Gone are the days of rapid exploitation through Tasman, there was a lot of research and additional hoops required in this window of opportunity that opened. When I traced the logistics of pre-departure tests, isolation on arrival, isolation on return, and travel certificates, I decided that yes, that was plausible.
Leap of faith:
At some point when we are trying to put ourselves at a standstill we need to trust that we have the strength to hold on, lift our feet and go. As much as I like to know meticulously how my trip will go (as a travel exaggeration, it was unfathomable to think that I would leave with the possibility that the criteria for returning home to NZ would change while I was away), all the rest of my life pointed to this particular moment as the right time. I meditated and decided that this was the moment of faith.
The power of the present moment:
Throughout the week I swore in silence that I would stay in the present moment. I didn’t make big statements about it, I kept quiet about not spending time talking to a lot of different people.
I was harnessing the energy of prayer to keep me anchored and present in every day. I didn’t want to be dissipating my energy and faith, I couldn’t allow other people’s beliefs about whether or not it was possible to distract me.
I also wanted to contain my anticipation with an almost zen quality to my thoughts. I couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel to hug my mom.
When you think you have given up, enter a little more:
The night before the flight, the closest I had actually been to flying, I received a notification from Air NZ. “Due to strong wind conditions, tomorrow’s flight may not take place. Here is a link to book again.”
Wait What !!! ??? Wind, really, after that time was the wind what was going to stop me? I paused in the middle of the panic reaction, looked at my husband and said, “There’s nothing you can do with the wind, let’s see what happens in the morning” and he was right. I would get up and go to the airport and hopefully during the night the wind, and my destination would have a chance to find out. Unlike past times, a delayed flight can change the window required for the validity of the pre-departure test and with $ 250 this would be a challenge for the overall time the trip had to complete (spoiler alert there was a 3- hour of wind delay but this story has a happy ending).
We have had to really live our yoga not only to survive but to thrive in these times.
There is a different time when the muscular memory of yoga becomes an incarnation, a time when we transcend the carpet and practice in every space imaginable.
May your yoga practice serve you beyond your favorite positions and the nature of life. For so many, who are waiting for reunions with their loved ones, they do not lose hope, the forces of love, connection and faith are strong. And to quote my teacher and mentor Katie Lane, “You are much stronger than you think”.
I will never forget the day, quote a few years ago, I write you an emotional message: “Now I understand, my yoga has just come to life. I understand what you wanted to teach us.”
Veronica King is the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox, a longtime yoga teacher, and the founder of The Yoga Nidra Project, a registered online library. Now back home in New Zealand, and very grateful for the opportunity to complete this journey.
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