I love noticing patterns in my life, and then noticing the way those patterns, or habits, affect the way I interact with other people, make healthy or unhealthy lifestyle choices, or even affect the way I breathe. Patterns are the foundations of our lives, from clearly observable patterns in the physical world to the more subtle patterns of action that create our samskaras. I welcome situations that put me face to face with my patterns and force me to recognize the effects they may be having on my life. Making such a drastic change as moving to another country has allowed me a rare opportunity to see observe the patterns I use to fill my time.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
While managing a busy yoga studio in Austin, TX, I often found myself working many more hours in my workweek than was in my job description. I believe that this is an inherently unhealthy way to live. I think it is vitally important for people to have balance in their lives, allowing ample time for committing to a livelihood — earning income, as well as ample time for physical health, time for friends, and time for family. I think that if any one of these areas becomes unbalanced, than all areas suffer. Por ejemplo, if you are working, working, working all of the time, not only do your relationships with your friends and family suffer, but so does your work performance. I believe it is important to rejuvenate, in order to be able to more fully offer all that you can in all areas of your life.
That said, I was not always able to live up to my expectations of myself. During my last few months in Austin, I found myself working more hours, and leaving less time for my mental and physical health. This is a pattern that is easy for me to fall into, as I have always devoted my time to jobs that resonate deeply for me. The work feels less like work, so I do more of it. At the end of the day or workweek, when I find I’ve poured all my energy into my work — even if that work is something I love — I still find myself feeling drained. My body cries out to me if I have failed to make time for my asana practice, and my spirit cries out to me if I’ve not carved out time to escape into nature, or spend an evening with loved ones.
One of the changes I anticipated in my life when contemplating this move was a slower work schedule, with more empty hours in my days. Imagine my surprise when I find my calendar filling up and filling up and filling up! I am excited to be able to devote so much more time to teaching yoga here. I am also excited to help grow and promote the yoga studio where I am working. I am pleased to be able to step into a role of support here that utilizes much of what I learned working in Austin. I am currently collaborating with the other yoga teacher on staff to increase the yoga offerings at the studio and increase the services available within the yoga classes, and I find myself having more conversations with people who have never tried yoga before. I am grateful to be able to have a venue to catch all this extra energy, knowledge, and passion.
My time away from the studio is filling up just as quickly as my work schedule. I am devoting between six and eight hours weekly to work one-on-one with a teacher and to learn Spanish, with another two to four hours devoted to studying on my own. I’ve been gifted with a small guitar, and I hope to be able to include a few hours every week working with a teacher to learn guitar. Learning, studying, reading, writing, working, loving — and so the hours and days fly by. I’ve only been in town for 17 days, yet I’ve slipped seamlessly into a new schedule.
I feel a sense of gratitude as I work to balance my tapas — my practice of asana and my spiritual study — with the obligations I place on myself in the external world. I’ve created new boundaries here in Nicaragua, boundaries that act as foundations and give security, and boundaries that I can push against as I stretch to find the ultimate expression of myself within this space.