Why traveling is like yoga
I recently visited Paris for 8 days, after nearly a decade since the last time I’d been there. It was filled with so many explorations, emotions and self-discovery.
They say three times a charm, but for me, it was the fourth.
If you know anything about me, it’s that I love yoga and that I
Enter the yoga and traveling comparison.
Making the comparison
During the trip, I had become more present, alert, appreciative and grounded. Much like what I take from being on the mat. Let’s explore these…
Seeing Paris like never before
So although it was not my first or even second time there, I explored the city each day like it was my last day on earth. And I walked so SO much.
Being present, for me, also means being alert. So my sensitivity kicked up a notch, which meant that I was paying attention to much more of what was going on around me. Paris is not a quiet place, so in this sense I was exposed to a lot of noise pollution. On the other hand, I took moments for me, to just sit down and take two breaths. Quick reboot and then continue.
I’d worked out some extensive routes in different areas at the start of each morning, and after a few days, I worked in some of my favorite spots for revisits.
Righting the regrets
Righting the regrets is my way of saying that I finally immersed myself into some of the cheesier, more obvious spots the city is well-known for, those that I couldn’t stomach in previous visits. However, there’s a reason why some spots are famous! And so, I just jumped in! I went deepsea diving level deep into the Louvre exploration, and I’m still not done. Word on the street is that if you spend 10 seconds at each painting/artifact, you’d still need 4 full days to see all this museum has to offer. How about that!
The other thing I also righted was going to the very top of the Eiffel tower instead of admiring it from afar. And what a sight it was.
Fulfilling a dream, realising an idea, or righting a wrong helps us wash away heavy sensations, replacing it with light and child-like energy. And like children do, they see things with fresh eyes and through a mind full of wonder. I had many, many sentiments like these.
Seeing old things in a new way
What’s great about appreciation? It gives you that energy to see things in a new way. Or simply removes the block that prevented you from seeing an old thing in a new way.
It’s like a domino effect. And in this instance, I got to see lots of old places in new ways. It also gave me the energy to explore in ways I never thought I had the capacity to.
In this way, we can valuate how practicing yoga regularly prepares you for traveling.
The yogic explorer
I’m not the best walker. My legs ache after not a lot of time walking or climbing. This time was so different because I just kept on going and finally overcame that block. If I walked a good 5 hours each day, for me, that’s huge! Plus accounting for the fact that
A mix of appreciation and seeing the old in a new way? Being able to speak French while there! This was a new turn for me, and completely changed
You have to take the metro to get to different spots, and their system is so crazy. There are so many train lines, so you have to plan out your route if you don’t know their system, language or city. And if you get lost, you gotta read, or ask for help from Parisians.
favouriteexperience is hard to pinpoint, but it surrounds my explorations of visiting the homes, hangout spots and places of past literary and artistic legends. honouring
An example is one such day I was exploring The Left Bank district, where I walked and walked and found myself in the 6th arrondissement. I’d unwittingly stumbled across a place I’d heard about and watched a movie scene about, but never really planned on going there. This place was the Polidor restaurant, where greats like Fitzgerald, Hemingway and many more spent their days drinking coffee and writing.
It hasn’t changed much. You can still see the old flooring, walls, super-thin turning stairwell, and old wooden doors. They have also kept a number of their older menu options. So I really felt like I jumped back in time. Somehow, even with that notion I felt fully present and appreciative.
And it didn’t end there.
Calm and grounded
What is important to note here is that through all of the busy and fulfilling explorations, calm was at the center of my experience. Maybe it’s that I’m different; more mature now than all those years ago, maybe it’s the meditation and the yoga, maybe it’s everything, who knows. But it doesn’t really matter.
The result is that there was enough of all these ingredients that I felt completely liberated even when I became scared.