In yoga, there’s a lot of talk about taking what we learn "off of the mat." We try to cultivate patience, grounding, flexibility, and strength in our practice, and ideally, we translate it into our daily lives. However, this exchange of learning on and off the mat flows both ways; there are times when we learn things out in the world that end up informing our practice on the mat. Most recently, I found a source of deeper understanding by sitting on my ass in the passenger seat of an old Prius for like, 500 hours.
When we think of yoga practice, we often think of poses. When I say road trip, people ask about my destination. The collective image is defined by moments made up of extended pauses. Pose after pose, place after place, there’s a name given to each blip in time.
But what happens during the seconds in between? When I consider how I get from pose to pose, I recognize that we aren’t given the vocabulary to describe it. They’re all considered “transitions,” even though they take varied forms that hardly resemble one another. It’s these unidentified moments, the in-betweens, that I find significance in.
This past summer, my best friend and I dreamt up a road trip with no specific end goal in mind. We started in Phoenix, Arizona, ended in Phoenix, Arizona, and made the journey West, North, East, and South take a glorious ten weeks. Perhaps inspired by the immediate onset of car seat-induced numb-butt, we quickly realized that the ride was, in fact, the destination.
If we wanted to make the most of the open road, we needed to be as invested in the going as we were in the getting to where wanted to go. It wouldn’t do the flying colors, forward-facing heart-to-hearts, and endless trade-off DJing justice any other way.
Rolling down the Pacific Coast Highway, certain things came to make our car-house feel like a car-home. Spending hours in a packed vehicle doesn't have to remind you of rushed, nauseating family road trips. Similarly, moving from pose to pose doesn’t need to be hurried, make you fear losing your balance, or be anything other than another part of enjoying the ride. Depending on what type of yoga you’re practicing, transitions might take up half of total class time. Try giving these moments as much intention and consideration as we’re taught to give the poses with names. You never know how the subtle changes you make might enhance your experience overall, on or off the mat.
Here are my top 10 must-haves for leisurely road tripping, or how I learned to pay attention to the beauty of transitioning from place to place (and later, pose to pose.)
1. A Double Car Charger.
DJ from one phone, navigate from the other... get back to the view faster.
2. Wet Ones, Kleenex, & Paper Towels.
So many things to spill, so much time to spill it.
3. Google Maps, downloaded.
Map your route and have it ready before entering areas without service.
4. Accessible Water.
Keep a gallon jug on the ground to refill cup-holder sized cups the whole way.
5. Incense Matches.
Revitalize a stuffy atmosphere in 10 seconds flat.
6. Polarized Sunglasses.
7. Flavored Stevia.
Makes even the most questionable gas station coffee taste reasonably decent.
8. Coconut Oil.
Lotion, massage oil, and great for cooking on a campfire.
9. A Handy Camera.
You never know when you're going to see a whale from the highway and capture your own reaction to it because your phone is still in selfie mode.... Tears, naturally.
10. Gifts, for the amazing people you'll meet along the way.
We gave away maple syrup tapped in my best friend’s home state of New Hampshire, because everyone loves a good excuse for brunch with new friends (especially off the grid, in the middle of a desert.)
Ultimately, we learned that the journey isn’t downtime unless we make it that way. As it turns out, the moments in-between are some of the most significant of all.
Already got the travel bug, or trying to catch it? Join us on June 25th & 26th for kayaking to a secret beach, setting up camp, doing some yoga, beers around a bonfire, journalling, starlit meditation, and all the rest. Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and wake up to yoga and meditation on the beach. It's nothing fancy, it's The Cheapest Yoga Retreat Ever (and you can sign up here!)