A week in San Francisco: How do I practice yoga when traveling?

Clear, distinct, unimpaired discriminative knowledge is the means of liberation from [ignorance].

—  Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.26

I’ve been in travel mode for the last month: east coast, midwest, and now west coast to say goodbye to friends and family before M and I take the big trans-Pacific flight for our round-the-world trip. The biggest challenge so far is creating routine in the non-routine nature of traveling. How do I create time, motivation, and money to do things that are important to me, such as maintaining a regular yoga practice, continuing to grow as a yoga teacher, exercising regularly, and spending time thinking about and writing in my blog and website?

With all the new and stimulating sights and sounds around me (see below for our San Francisco adventures), it’s tempting to go explore, walk around, get out there, go go go. And I know once we leave the country, this will be even more so. But there’s a side of me that says “Soyee, don’t forget about me! I need to  — go for a swim or bike ride. I need purpose — dedicate time towards long-term goals. I need introspection — ponder and check in with yourself.”

There’s also a bubbling soup simmering on the inside. Factors like exciting surroundings, my partner M and I sliding into woohoo-vacation-adventure-together mode, and more time to sit and ponder add up and make it challenging to create and stick to a routine.

Yoga Sutra 2.26 says discernment is the key to getting unstuck. To use a Buddhist analogy, getting unstuck is like a lotus growing out of mud and muck and rising above it to the surface of the water it sits on. I’ve realized these past few weeks that this is a great opportunity to practice discernment, because I will need to become aware of what’s going on around me and within me as I continue to travel. I think it will help me stay conscious of my needs as well as help me process and enjoy what’s happening as I go from place to place. Like a diamond hard blade (the mythical vajra), discernment cuts through avidiya, or ignorance. By practicing yoga off the mat, I hope to get myself to practice more yoga on the mat, on-the-go!


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