Dorothy was right,”There’s no place like Home.”
Yoga is more than just releasing tension from the muscles or bringing greater ease into the shoulders, or even calming the nervous system. While it can be all of that, it can also be a way of coming Home. Sometimes, I come home and the floors have leaves and dirt that we’ve tracked in from the garden and a little sweeping is in order, or there’s an odd smell from the kitchen, so I take out the compost. Sometimes there’s a garden bouquet of roses, iris, or honeysuckle on the table, and I just take them in with a deep delicious breath. Each time I enter our home, it’s a little different. Even if we’re not expecting visitors, I like to do a few small things to make our living space more comfortable.
Similarly in yoga, when you come to the mat, it’s like walking in the front door. Immediately, senses greet you. Can you take the time to say, “Hello, how was your day?” Or do you jump into the kitchen and start cooking and follow the to-do list of yoga cues?
What would it feel like if you arrived on your mat and enjoyed those first precious moments to transition mindfully from whatever you were doing to being Home… exploring, wandering through your garden of muscles, bones, organs, and breath?
What if instead of jumping into your regular routine, you noticed the quality of breath in your lungs and fluffed up their pillows a little bit?
What if instead of being in a pose waiting for the instructor (or yourself) to tell you when to come out of a pose, you took the opportunity to notice where emotions are landing in your body? And after acknowledging them and considering which of those feeling are no longer serving you well, sweep them out of your heart or liver or fingertips with your exhale offering a bouquet of prana as you inhale? Can you imagine how that quality of sustained attention and kindness might affect your entire practice?
There’s a homecoming gift within each breath. Could you slow down enough to unpack or at least acknowledge a few of those gifts with some measure of gratitude and grace?
While time out in the world can be rejuvenating… maybe a vacation or retreat, for me there’s often a sense of “I need a vacation from my vacation” Translation: I just want to be home. I often bring back some artifact… a touchstone to remind me of what was important about that adventure.
While retreats can offer something uniquely deep and special, the thing is, in yoga or any embodied movement practice, you don’t have to go on vacation to feel that sense of Homecoming; just being out in the world at work or play and then taking time for yourself, to move with mindfulness and curiosity and kindness and compassion can bring you many of the benefits of Homecoming.
And even better news: your Home is portable … available to you within a breath’s notice.