Have Mat, Will Travel
by: April Anne
I recently had the opportunity to go to Florida to see my best friend and her family. A trip that was a sheer blessing and was all made possible due to her cousin, and my friend, Shawn. The following is not my standard article, but my actual journal entries from the trip. So without further delay, I present to you, my recent adventure…
Aside from bedroom toiletries I am all ready for tomorrow. We are planning to leave here around 9/9:30am for the airport. Hopefully it won’t be too busy and we can fly through security. I know my flight isn’t until 11:30am, so why would I want to get there so early? Well I figured since this is my first trip traveling alone and my first vacation in more years than I care to admit, I would, as my grandma would say, make it an adventure. My goal is to see how many people I can befriend and how many strangers I can get to do, or interested in yoga with me in the middle of the airport or at the beach.
Now contrary to popular belief, I can actually be quiet and shy; airports usually have this affect on me. For one, I hate flying. Second, all that stress and drama just isn’t for me. So… what better place to work through this right? Truly live my. So I am going to break out of my safe and cozy shell and be outgoing and friendly to strangers. Armed with my Chihuahua, a tiny suitcase, camcorder, camera, and note pad I am going to begin my adventure.
I am both extremely excited and scared to death about this. But I am just going to go with the flow and make the most out of this life experience. So as I add the last songs to my iPod (see the end for a special playlist I put together from my trip) and double check my luggage I am mentally preparing myself for tomorrow. Regardless if anyone joins me, I am going out there with a smile and a suitcase full of optimism! So with heavy eyelids, I shall bid you farewell till morning…
Been flying for about an hour or so now. Arrived at the airport with no problems, everyone I encountered was wicked sweet. It’s funny how if you send out the right vibes everything changes. I use to hate traveling and flying, why? Because I was miserable and insecure I let it become stressful and miserable. While we were driving down to the airport I turned to my good friend, best friend, and angel on earth, oh and also my business partner and roommate; and said, I am going to make this fun! So after saying our goodbyes I grabbed my bags and headed into the airport.
As I checked in I encountered a few very nice people, all immediately in love with Mojito of course. Just tossing this out there, cute Chihuahua’s make for great icebreakers. As we made our way around and through security, where I was told by a very sweet guard to, “Never stop smiling, Senorita, it’s good for the soul.” Once through security we found our gate and made camp. I sent out a few texts, made a phone call or two, and then laid out my mat towel. I had mixed reactions from friends about what I was about to do. Yoga in the middle of the airport? ”Are you crazy?” ”I think it’s awesome!” ”I’ve seen crazier things.” ”I’d join you if I saw you.” Were some of the responses I got. Unfortunately Gate 19 was very tine so it was hard to get people involved. I did get people talking though. So at least I made an impact. I am also pretty sure someone posted about me on Facebook and another took my picture with their phone. All around me I heard conversations turn to the topic of . A gentleman off to my side began telling a fellow passenger about how is 20 year old daughter just got into yoga. A lady in a wheel chair drove by and said, ”That looks like a lot of work,” she laughed as she passed by quicker than I was able to reply back. Mostly I got looks. If anything I opened their minds to the idea. For myself it brought about a deeper meaning, how far I’ve come. ’Old Me’ would never have done what I just did. ’Old Me’ would have been worried about what people would say or think. ’Now Me’ was enjoying life and not caring what others thought. ’Now Me’ just had a great mini workout!
While boarding the plane I helped a woman put on her bracelet, wished a couple on standby good luck, and began chatting with two people. I forget how it came about, probably started with Mojito, but it turned to yoga. A gentleman who plays both football and basketball wanted to know if it would help him. So I took the time to tell him the benefits, even told him about my studio when he asked where I taught. Regardless if he comes to me, he is now really considering adding it to his life. That pretty much brings us up to the present, where I am seated between a quiet gentleman and a budding photographer; who I will be giving some contact information to about photography classes. Needless to say, I am having a ball and making new friends, even if they only last for the flight.
Still on Arizona time, where it is only 10:39pm. A lot to write about since my last entry. Ok, so Atlanta’s gate was extremely tiny. I was only able to do some poses on a chair. Got a ton of stares, the guy talking to me prior to the yoga didn’t know what to make of it. So I began to get discouraged. After we boarded the plane a gentleman walks up to me and tells me how impressed he was with what I was doing. I believe his exact words were, “Wow, you are very bendy,” he went on to say how he and his wife were very impressed with what I could do. Goes to show that even if you don’t think you’ve made an impact you probably have. Before the man went back to his seat he told me he might have to give it a whirl sometime.
After a full day of traveling and yoga I was more than ready to meet the bed I would be sleeping in. After some much needed rest we had plans to go to lunch and then to the beach. I packed my purse with my bikini, camera, camcorder, and possibilities, and headed out to see what today would bring. After a lovely lunch of sangria, Mahi, shrimp, and fries we were off to Lantana Beach.
I was a girl on a mission once out there. I was determined to find someone to do yoga with me. I decided to throw ‘Old April’ completely out the window and just dive in… Which meant walking up to complete strangers and starting a conversation like I’d known them all my life. So I took a deep breath and jumped in. Surprisingly this came to me a lot easier than I had anticipated.
The first person was very kind, but declined. I later found out they had a bad P90X experience with yoga and were shy. I sat and chatted with them and I think I was able to restore their faith in yoga. The next person also declined. This time because they didn’t want to make a food of themselves. But I was able to chat with them and let them know you don’t have to be a pretzel to do yoga. Third time was definitely a charm for me. Not only was I more comfortable in what I was doing but I found someone willing to chat and do yoga with. I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who called himself, 360, a break-dancer originally from New York. He was at the beach with his son, 180. Both are part of a break dancing troupe there in the area. He actually invited us to a get-together at a local church. I would have loved to have gone but I already had plans for the night. The passion and energy he had about his dancing and yoga practice was contagious. I later found out he wants to open his own studio and teach people how to break-dance. After I turned off the camera we must have chatted for an additional half hour. It was a real treat to have met and interviewed him and his son.
I must admit, I had no intention of doing an actual interview with him. Especially since I had never interviewed anyone before. As crazy as it is for me to admit, I had a blast interviewing him and I am looking forward to the next opportunity to chat, do yoga, or interview a person.
On a side note, it was amazing to be able to do yoga on the beach! The ocean air blowing through my hair, the cool salt water dancing around my hands and feet (at one time it knocked over my pigeon!), the sun high in the sky. The air fresh and clean, the sky and sea blue. It took my practice to a whole new level. I didn’t want to stop or leave. Sadly I eventually had to. Covered in sand, hair drenched from a wave attack, skin now sun kissed, I was on cloud Ohm.
I didn’t care that the ground was uneven where I was practicing, or that I had sand in places it should never be. I was calm, centered, happy. I was living life and thoroughly enjoying every moment.
The last two days were spent with my best friend and her family, the soul reason for this trip. Not much time or room for yoga, but it was filled with lots of love and good memories.
As I write I am currently on my flight back to Phoenix. This morning as soon as I woke up we headed down to the beach, one last time. This time this trip was purely selfish, no interviews, etc. Just me, the sun, the sand, and the ocean. as soon as we hit the sand my sandals were off. I relished in the feeling of the sand between my toes, warm from the early morning sun. As I made my way toward the shore I let all my thoughts disappear and just lived in the now. My friend set up camp away from the water (where he kindly took photos and even some video).
Doing yoga on the beach had to of been one of the greatest gifts I have received in a very long time. I remember doing a backbend, water rushing past me, the sun warming my face, and thinking… This is living. At that moment I felt so unbelievably happy, at peace. At that moment I knew everything would be ok, it will always be ok. As I continued to move and breathe, flowing in and out of the water, body and soul meeting the sandy earth. This was the reason I left my mat at home. To connect on a whole new level; emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.
It was amazing moving through my practice here. I didn’t think about what pose I was going to do next, I just flowed and let the waves lead me. Looking at the footage that my friend shot of me I was quite surprised by what flowed. I effortlessly moved from Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose) into the splits, ME! If someone had told me years ago that I would be doing things like that I would have laughed and thought them mad, but there I was.
After my soul awakening practice I collected some seashells to take home and then walked on the pier at Lake Worth Beach, where of course I had to do some poses. A lady walking by commented on how beautifully I held my poses. I graciously thanked her. After that we rushed to meet with my best friend and her husband for lunch. Then back to where I was staying to shower the ocean off of me and to pack everything up to leave.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any time to do yoga in West Palm’s airport, I was able to find a stuffed gator for a friend though.
Once in Atlanta I ate my packed lunch and settled in to do some yoga. I had a 3 1/2 to 4 hour flight ahead of me and would need it. So I set up camp in front of my seat. I really wished I had set up my camera, the reactions I received were exciting and surprising. Apparently I caused a bit of a scene, in a good way. Lost in my own world, I was completely unaware of it all. People watched as I moved from simple Sun Salutations to forward folds to poses like Compass. At one point I heard a little girl turn to her parents and ask if they could do what I just did, they chuckled and replied no.
Once I was done and preparing to board the plane I had people coming up to me saying how I made yoga look fun and easy, one guy (who lives in Arizona) asked me a ton of questions about it and by the end I had given him one of my studio’s cards.
I had approached this trip with openness, a sense of adventure, and time to break out of my shell. I can honestly say all of this was achieved and more! I met some amazing people, did my first interview and loved it (even if it isn’t the best, I did it!), and did yoga in unique and life changing places.
I am sad this adventure is coming to a close, but I am excited to see what the future has in store for this yogi…
Blinding- Florence and the Machine
Wake and Be Fine- Okkervil River
Strange Times- Black Keys
Rumor Has It- Adele
When the Devil’s Loose- A A Bondy
Make You Move- John Mark McMillan
Awake My Soul- Mumford and Sons
Go Do- Jonsi
The Mercy Wheel- A A Bondy
re:Stacks- Bon Iver
Between Two Lungs- Florence and the Machine
Blindsided- Bon Iver
The Valley- Okkervil River
Inni Mer Syngur Vitley Singur- Sigur Ros
The Cave- Mumford and Sons
Hometown Glory- Adele
Glory- Radical Face
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