Last week I was in Cuba. I went with my twin sister Molly, her husband, and their 10 year-old son. It was an incredible trip in many ways: we met amazing people, heard incredible stories, saw revamped old cars, we all got along, we enjoyed doing the same kinds of activities, we were grateful for my sister's mad Spanish speaking skills, ate good food, and Molly and I celebrated our 39th birthday in Las Terrazas on April 13th.
Traveling provides a great opportunity to see how the practices of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda translate into a traveling life when everything you need fits into a backpack and privacy is a little harder to come by. Some days during my travels, meditation became noticing the beauty of the colors of buildings and feeling the breeze and sunlight on my skin, smiling at the children who played in the street, and tasting the amazing flavors of fresh tropical fruit.
I did do some yoga, although I admit to missing my yoga mat. After so many years of having a pretty consistent yoga practice and teaching several classes a week, I was curious to see how I felt being in a place where yoga wasn't so much a part of the culture. I asked a woman I met in Havana if there was yoga there and she said there was in the Chinese part of town. We walked through Havana's Chinatown one evening but didn't find any sign of yoga happening there. Maybe its secret?
I did some rooftop yoga at our casa in Las Terrazas, which is a lovely reforestation project in the mountains, but mostly I let go of routine and my yogini identity for a week. Honestly, it felt kind of good. I believe that one of the greatest gifts of yoga is to be able to flow with whatever happens and wherever you find yourself. Yoga is an important part of my life and I have enjoyed reconnecting with it upon my return, but I never want to be so rigid about something so fluid as to force it into spaces where it doesn't naturally fit. Cuba was a wonderful experience and it is also nice to be back in NC, on my yoga mat!