Practice in the quiet, familiar space of the yoga room. Took almost all of the session to finally start really breathing again.

Travel makes me stop breathing. New places; loud noises; the city; being somewhere different; strange food; unfamiliar noises; odd smells; being lost in a new environment; a different schedule; strangers; social events; staying in a hotel; trying to find cabs; attending a conference.

That’s what practice every day at the same time and in the same place solves for.

At the Kwan Um school, when you are first learning koans, your teacher teaches you that hitting your hand against a table or floor can be used as an “answer,” as a means to cut off discriminative thinking (or at least as an attempt). The hit brings you back to zero; it clears the slate.

So it is with morning practice. I am familiar with the yoga room; I am conditioned to breathe there. Deep breaths, unaffected by daily dramas, or by the circumstances of the moment or the day or the week. What incredible freedom.

Strange to finally get back to the breath, only to recognize how constrained it was during my trip. I practiced while I was there, but it wasn’t quite the same. I couldn’t quite wipe the slate clean, because I wasn’t in the daily practice place where I can actually SEE (day after day after day) the slate.


One Response

  1. totally fascinating that I have an almost diametrically opposite experience! I find that I am finally AWAY from home practice, around people, away from worries/money/school, not near the familiar, FINALLY. of course, i’m stone extroverted, too.

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