I’m often asked what it was about yoga and travel that drew me to take my break from reality. What was the purpose behind my explorations and adventures around the world? Something I’m always taken back to in this journey is to remember my why.
I began this path for many reasons- to find new inspiration, challenge myself, learn, grow, explore, meet new people, immerse myself in new cultures, to deepen my yoga practice, and to inspire others along the way. Those of you who are familiar with the practice of yoga and meditation might know the feeling it gives you that leaves you wanting more…more peace, more calm, and more ease. In the end, realizing it was actually less that you were looking for all along. Less thoughts, less stress, less doing…and more being. Ultimately, a realization for the need to disconnect to the outside world and the never ending thoughts of our minds, and connect more to your own inner world and peace. In that way, you can consider yoga to be a tool that can help you somewhat uncover your true path and purpose, all while recognizing the beauty in the stillness of each present moment along the way.
The year before I sold my life away and left for my year-long adventures around the world, I attended a yoga retreat in Costa Rica where I met a number of people who forever changed my life. I met a yoga teacher who encouraged me to follow my heart in taking a Yoga Teacher Training. I met an eccentric and free-spirited fellow yogi who inspired me to let go of all the fears I had and to have more trust in the universe. I also met myself. That inner child self that I had started to somewhat bury beneath the pains and struggles of my mind. The thoughts that tend to tell one who they “should be” and what they “should be” doing. All the while feeling a shame and guilt beneath it all and knowing that none of those thoughts are real. What is real is the inner voice that guides you to the path of joy that you experience when you listen to your heart and get past the worries of your mind. It was an intense learning and awakening that I will forever cherish and be so grateful for.
The following year I decided to take a break from my career as an elementary school teacher to attend a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Bali, Indonesia followed by more travels around the world. After building my experience as a yoga teacher, I eventually went on to take my learning to the next level by embarking upon an immersive 300-hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training in India where yoga first originated. It was another remarkable experience that brought so much growth, appreciation, and learning into my life. All of these life-changing adventures led me to my career now as an author, yoga teacher, and travel advisor.
When first explaining my decision to my former students, I told them that I planned to learn to teach yoga to find ways to help kids, parents, and people everywhere find the calm and ease that yoga helps people learn. Utilizing the practices of yoga and meditation was always something that I incorporated in my classroom as a teacher. I noticed first hand the many struggles and daily stressors that so many children were experiencing in our society. I saw the gift of yoga to be a part of the solution to those many challenges. That is when the idea for my now published children’s book, ‘Mindful Wonders: A Book About Mindfulness Using the Wonders of Nature’ first came to life. I’ve always used nature as a form of meditation myself and I long recognized the need for children to be more connected to the beauty of the Earth. Written to inspire mindfulness and meditation, “Mindful Wonders’ helps to calm the mind and connect people to their breath and the beauty found in nature. Using imaginative language and illustrations, this book encourages children to connect all the wonders of the world around them to their own inner peace and love.
With the launch of the book, and seeing one of my whys manifest itself into reality, I am reminded of the importance of focusing on your goals and working towards them (no matter how hard it might be for others to see or understand your vision).
I hope to be like those I mentioned who helped to inspire me along the way to follow the path that has taken me to where I am now. Every single life experience is meant to help us learn and grow, not just as one, but together. Our society at this time is especially showing a great need for an awakening, and for me, I see yoga and meditation as one of the many ways to help bring that light to all people.
My hope is that in reading this, you too will find some inspiration to follow the path that your heart might be calling for, whatever that might be for you. Let go of the reasons it won’t work, and always remember your why that it will.