What my camping trip taught me about yoga…

Camping!

Last weekend, I packed up the kids and the car and went out of town for a camping weekend. When the girls and I found the campsite, it was already amazing. Jenn and her girls had gotten there in the early afternoon and set up. She had coolers full of food by the picnic table, chairs around the fire ring, and hammocks swinging from the trees. We unloaded and settled right in. After Sloan arrived with her bags of food, folding table and another hammock it was like camping at the Hilton.

We spent the weekend visiting, singing, eating and laughing. Hazel dedicated some of her time to making a case for leaving early, but I didn’t give in. The kids braved the freezing cold swimming hole while Jenn and I sat in the sunshine and Sloan read her book in a hammock. Nora and the younger girls traveled to neighboring campsites making friends along the way. The kids floated sticks downstream. They peed in the woods…and all over shoes and pants. We still have some training to do in that department.

There was a quiet moment on Saturday afternoon when all campers engaged in quiet activities and I made my way to a hammock. When I got in, my body conformed to the sling shape and the fabric sides of the hammock nearly closed up around me. I was the delicious filling of a hammock soft taco.

With the sides of the hammock covering my peripheral vision, I could only see a narrow strip of the sky and the canopy of trees above me. In the few minutes that I was taco-ed up, I became more settled and calm. My eyes had a direction to go and something to focus on. I saw so much more of the trees and sky through this narrow opening than I did when everything was wide open.

It made me think about this thing of directing our attention – something that yoga helps us to be able to do. When my eyes weren’t attempting to take in the huge span of what I could see right to left and up and down, I felt different. When I let myself stay and my eyes be still, I  really saw the canopy of the trees. I watched and thought about only that, and I relaxed. Our senses seek stimulation, and each has its own particular ‘foods’—colors, noises, movement, and sensation. The senses wander around looking for this, but when the senses line up and follow the direction we choose for them it feels different. Less frenetic. More purposeful.

There’s a way we can create hammock tacos for our senses when we are wanting to connect to the special things in life. When we direct our attention and can be fully with an experience, our system feels different. Focus and attention feels good. When we are with our friends around the campfire and our senses are listening, feeling, and seeing that, then that’s what we get to take with us. That’s what we connect with and that’s what we remember.

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Ojai Women’s RETREAT

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REAL LIFE. REAL TOOLS.

AUGUST 31ST TO SEPT. 5TH, 2016

This 5-day retreat is specially designed to teach you the art of unlearning and letting go of old patterns that have long since lost their usefulness while also providing precious leisure time which allows these new skills and understandings to become more rooted in your daily life.

We teach YogaAyurveda and the Alexander Technique in a practical and meaningful way so that when you return home you will have useful tools to keep this new, balanced relationship going—not only within yourself but with everyone around you.

Carol P. Prentice ~ Amanda Green ~ Sydney Laurel Harris

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