By Silvia Mordini
When you travel, your habits reveal themselves. You learn what triggers impatience, fear, anxiety, physical patterns of pacing, sitting and standing, and where your body holds tension. The more that travel reveals, the less we can blame on our home environment and circumstances. Being away from our typical routine shows us where we habitually knee jerk our reactions instead of responding mindfully.
“I recommend travel [as therapy] for my clients,” explains Michele Ritterman, a clinical psychologist and author in Berkeley, California. “Therapy is all about getting out of rigid mental states, leaving the same old, same old behind. Travel stirs the pot. One feels and experiences something different in their body and le viola: The impossible becomes possible.”
Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you hit the road:
1. Do you feel different physically?
Interrupting patterns and being in new places is an opportunity to change those habits that don’t serve us. For instance, if you travel by bus for four hours sitting the same way (like I did recently in Costa Rica) you’ll learn the precise habit that causes you low back pain, and the way you can change your position to reduce that pain.
2. Have your sleeping habits changed for the better?
Even our sleep patterns change when we travel. Being in a new time zone can open our eyes to new opportunities. For instance, if you are typically a night owl, but are traveling in an area such as Baja, Mexico where they refer to “Baja Midnight” as 9 p.m., you may learn a different way. Perhaps in a jungle environment, you will feel the naturalness of sleeping earlier to fall in sync with your environment. On the road you might soak in more natural light, automatically synchronizing your sleep with the cycle of the sun and moon instead of using artificial light. And when you return home, any time difference might give you a new perspective on changing your home wake-up time to 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.
3. Has your commute improved?
If you always drive to the gym or yoga studio at home, you might engage in more foot powered movement or cycling while abroad. You will grow more aware of sedentary habits and how you can change those patterns. You often have no choice but to walk, talk and make bolder decisions — whether it’s trying a new activity, choosing the path to your next destination or discovering a different facet of the place you are visiting.
4. Are you dressing differently?
Travel even reveals your dressing habits. If you alternate between wearing a black suit or black Luon at home, you may find parts of the world where that formality or the material makes you uncomfortable in the heat or humidity. If you are aware, you will automatically change what you’re wearing. Maybe you will incorporate more colors or different materials into your wardrobe. Maybe cuts will be looser and less structured or perhaps more stylish, depending where you’re traveling.
5. How’s your hair?
Even the way you wear your hair is a habit, and when you travel, sometimes just the change in humidity forces you to discover new styles. Perhaps your eco-solar powered retreat center doesn’t have the wattage to support your hair dryer or flat iron. I once almost burned down a Tuscan Villa because my hair iron literally caught fire in the bathroom! If you are by the ocean frequently, then wash-and-wear-hair can easily become your new way. When you are somewhere new with new people, you have permission to experiment with your hairstyle a bit more.
Sri Swami Satchidananda writes, “Yoga believes in transforming the individual before transforming the world. Whatever change we want to happen outside should happen within.”
Travel shows us where we are stale and stagnant. It demands that we be more audacious, while at the same time revealing our mental, physical and spiritual habits. We can use this as an opportunity to unlearn harmful or limiting habits and incorporate new patterns into our lives. As Osho writes, “Happy people are always changing.”
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
ABOUT THE WRITER
Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training. Join her on Twitter to keep inspiring greater happiness by answering the question #YRUHappy. Connect with Silvia on Twitter and Facebook and learn more about her story at www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com.
Feature photo by stevec77