A Refuge from the Commotion
A few days ago I returned home after being away in amazing, yet very humid, polluted and congested cities. I stopped in Hong Kong on my way back, got sick and was running a fever. As soon as I walked off the plane onto lush, welcoming Thai soil my whole body relaxed and I started to feel better. Although I was still sick, I felt as though the environment was working with me to help me get better, rather than against me.
Hong Kong is a fun, vibrant city, and I completely understand why many people love living there and in other cities like it. But as a practitioner of yoga what I am reminded of whenever I go to places like that is how necessary it is to have yoga retreats like Samahita Retreat Yoga Thailand, as a haven for residents of those cities. It becomes obvious why outsiders call what Paul and Jutima have created here “heaven” and “paradise.”
It is easy to get spoiled when you live on a yoga retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand, and I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world quite like Samahita Retreat Yoga Thailand. But if you try practicing in a place like Hong Kong’s Central after living and practicing three years in a place like Samahita, it is clear how an environment can either support a practice or work against it. And the vibration of where you live not only affects your practice but it also has a direct effect on your overall physical and mental well-being.
Here are a few tips for those who live and work in busy cities like Singapore, New York, Hong Kong, London, etc. These could apply to everyone, whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for a while.
Practice Tips to Help Stay Sane and Healthy Amidst the Craziness.
- If it is possible, try living just outside of the city. Or try to find a quiet neighborhood where there are more trees, fewer cars and less noise pollution. Although the location may be less convenient, the greater sense of calm will be worth the commute.
- Wake up an hour or two before the streets come alive, especially if you live in a busy area. It is much harder to try and practice after the streets get busy and noisy. Of course it is better to practice later than not at all, but the quality of your practice later will be much lower – the busier it is outside, the busier your mind will be.
- Find nature wherever and whenever possible. Discover some beaches and/or hiking trails outside of the city, and work in a few yoga poses – maybe even 5 minutes of sitting with the breath — after your favorite outdoor activity.
- Instead of always going to the gym or studio for class, once or twice a week you could go to the park, find a shaded spot to put your yoga mat and bust out some sun salutations and standing poses.
- If you have a rooftop, why not wake up early before your neighbors and sit and meditate, work with the breath. You don’t have to force yourself to do this every day, but it is easy for many people who live in cities to go the whole week without spending much time at all outside, especially if the weather outside is unwelcoming. Get out before it gets too hot, or put on a few extra layers if it is cold. You don’t have to stay out long; 10-20 minutes can be very positive.
- Take time each day when you do not have any outside stimulation. When you are not talking to people, reading, on the computer, working, watching tv, etc. Just be with yourself. Maybe you have a seated practice using one or more concentration techniques or maybe not. Maybe you take 10 minutes, maybe more. But do make this appointment with yourself each day. Tune inwards.
- Have a yoga retreat or a destination where you can escape to regularly, wherever that may be. It’s important to have somewhere you can reestablish your connection to practice and to healthy living, where you can calm any inner turbulence caused by the stresses of daily life.
Live well, practice well and be happy!