I’m just gonna come straight out and say it: Camping and I are not one.
It's not that I don't love nature. Actually, I adore it—especially sleeping under a huge starry sky, as I do on a sailboat for a couple weeks every summer. But rain, mud and dirt and likely snake- and eel-infested lakes are not quite my thing, particularly if that’s my only option for “bathing.”
The other day, though, someone asked me to go camping, which brought me back to my teaching experience at last year’s Wilderness Festival in the UK. I was forced into a pseudo wilderness—one where hipsters and yummy mummies abounded amidst nature and the elements. I can remember it clearly: the swamps, asphyxiating tents and, above all, dirty everything.
There, wearing my rain boots and stealing extra napkins from every possible refreshment stand to use as future toilet paper, I pushed the boundaries of what I consider to be “me.” And, actually, in doing so, I became more in tune with my current state of being. I danced in the rain, slept in a sleeping bag on the wet grass in the middle of the dance floor and then went to work the next morning, energized and excited.
So, when someone asked me to go camping and do it all over again recently, it reminded me that we can all be in our element anywhere, anytime, because of yoga. Yoga is meant to push our boundaries and take us to the wild side of who we really are. There, in that space—between where we feel comfortable and where we actually are in that moment—is where we discover our true selves and our true capabilities. Only when out of our comfort zone can we clearly see how dynamic our true natures are, and how naturally our inner dynamism exists.
If that isn’t a reason to jump on the mat, borrow a sleeping bag or do something crazy, I don’t know what is.