A New Habit

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This summer, Mark and I had a few days away together at a yoga farm where we had a chance to slow down, connect with the earth, and take a look at what we want more (and less) of in our lives.

Mark has known for years that his lower back pain was most likely due to stress, but also due to his lack of flexibility and need for a strong core. Stretching was something he knew he should do, but didn’t often make time for.

So each morning while we were away, we took advantage of the gorgeous yoga studio on this property to do our own yoga practice. After the second morning of doing yoga, we realized how much it was helping his body, how good it felt to both of us to start the day off connecting with our bodies and breath, and how we wanted more of that in our lives.

The pragmatic part of us knew that it is a lot easier to make big plans while relaxing on vacation than it is to implement them once you return to real life. And we had the added challenge that “real life” was about to get way different. If we couldn’t start and keep a yoga practice under normal circumstances, there was no way we’d be able to do it when  factored in the complexities of nomadic life.

We returned home committed to try to keep up a daily yoga practice. And we just passed the milestone of 45 consecutive days!

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Doing yoga together has had fabulous consequences… those we hoped for, and several that have surprised us. Our hope that stretching and strengthening would help Mark’s back pain has come true. He is reporting no pain during the day, and much less tightness after his soccer games.

We have been surprised at how much we enjoy the challenge of figuring out when and where to do yoga everyday. This goal has led to sessions with amazing views, with having to move furniture to make enough room, and to purchasing “travel” yoga mats that fold up into our luggage so we can take it with us on the road. Most days we practice for 30 minutes or so. Some days, we have to squeeze in a quick 10 minutes. Other days, we go for an hour with a 10 minute shavasana (or shavasa-nap as one kid calls it).

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Another surprise is how much others have wanted to join us. Most notably, the kids. We offered, and they initially declined to join. But after watching for a few days, they starting asking to join us. Now, we have to check with them each morning before starting, and they get upset if we forget to ask first. We’ve also been joined by Mark’s Uncle and his girlfriend when we were visiting with them. The six of us, on his deck, overlooking the water, all in warrior pose is a sight I can only imagine (and so WISH I could have captured on camera)… it was one of my favorite yoga sessions to date.

The kids joined us today for our first “official” yoga class in a studio with a real teacher. I enjoyed being able to focus solely on myself and my own breath, rather than counting or thinking up what comes next to lead everyone. But mostly, I enjoyed doing something I love, that feels so good to my body, that is benefiting the body of the one I love, and helping my children learn and grow in their own bodies… and getting to do it with my family.

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Meditation is creeping in to our practice. I’m hoping intention and more of the spiritual practice of yoga will show up in our practice over time as well. But for now, I’m feeling so grateful that morning yoga is now a habit, and confident that we’ll be able to overcome the nomadic challenges that our practice will face.

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