As a yoga teacher, it’s common to have your “weekend” fall sometime during the week instead of on the actual weekend. Last summer I had two free weekdays. I fell in love with my middle-of-the-week weekend, and I dedicated one of my two days off each week to visiting a different Illinois park. I had just finished teacher training, so at first it just started as time outdoors to practice and sequence in nature, which has always proven to be more inspiring than inside at a table or even in a studio. I started with local forest preserves and quickly became addicted to finding new parks, new trails, new spots of beautiful serenity. Did you know that Illinois is home to more natural forest preserves than any other state in Northern American? I know, I was surprised too. Lucky for us!
I found myself alone and sitting in these parks (I had visited a total of 13 by the end of summer) for hours. Species of birds I had never seen before. Up-close and nearly frightening encounters with deer. A family of ducks bathing in the stream to my right. A couple enjoying a picnic in the field adjacent. Untouched limestone. I had found places of peace.
When you become anxious, tense, upset, and reactive…rest. Rest until peace returns. Stop what you’re doing. Take a moment, an hour, or an entire day to find the sweet spot. Take all the time you need to restore peace. Breathe deeply. Look around, and breathe in the quiet and natural beauty of the world around you. Let it be a sanctuary that soothes and calms and heals your soul.
Places of healing and repose can be found everywhere. Find them a couple blocks away. Hop in your car and find them in the town over. Take an afternoon and find them at the end of a road trip. Find them on your patio or in your very own backyard. Then, discover those places in your own heart. Go within, and then go deeper. The universe holds the antidote for all of your anxiety and fears and reactive behaviors. It offers all the healing you need. Healing is right around the corner. Where do you find yourself when you need to restore peace? What are your favorite places of repose? No, really. It’s almost summertime again, and I have new sweet spots to discover! Share with me!