Updated: May 6, 2022
I took a leave from teaching yoga during the entire month of August. During this time, I traveled to Italy to visit my friend Shane and her lovely family. Then I flew to Holland for a week to spend time with my bookend sister (we call each other bookends; she’s the eldest, I’m the youngest), her husband, my two nephews, and their giant dog Lupo. It was back to Basel for a few days after that, then a trip to Chamonix to see my friends from the Philippines who were there to take part and cheer on in the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc), one of the most popular ultramarathons in the world.
During this time on the road, it was a challenge to keep my yoga practice alive. In Ravenna, Italy, Shane bought a yoga mat that I could use (my baggage space was too limited to bring my own), after which she promised she would use it when I flew back to Basel. Knowing that she bought the mat especially for me motivated me to make her effort worth it, so every morning before she, her husband or her two adorable daughters woke up, I practiced diligently in their guest room. At my sister Mica’s house in Goor, Holland, I also borrowed her newly-purchased mat (bought in June and had never been used; she was glad someone would benefit from it). While the boys were still asleep or while she enjoyed her morning time alone, I practiced in their attic. The window in the ceiling was just the right spot to shed light on my morning asana sessions. In both Italy and Holland, I had my own room, so it was easy to find my my personal space to practice. On my final trip in Chamonix, however, space was an issue. I shared a cozy apartment with three other friends, and my practice space was the narrow hallway separated by the bathroom and a double-deck bed. On some mornings, I practiced as quietly as I could, careful not to wake my jet-lagged friend who slept only 30 centimeters away from me. Sometimes friends would slink through to use the toilet. On other mornings I would flow through poses while my friends chatted excitedly in the background, the smell of fried squid, scrambled eggs, and garlic rice filling our apartment. Sure, it was a great experience to find a little corner to practice in every place I traveled to, but I sure was happy to finally come back home. As I unrolled my mat on the familiar creaking wooden floors of Loosloo, as I saw the colorful candles that line up our big windows, as I came face to face with the big green oasis wall in the studio, I could only think of one thing: I’m back, and I love it.