Resting half pigeon helped me throughout the camino
There are many ¨caminos¨ (aka: The Way), both official and unofficial. I choose to start on the more popular Camino Frances that makes its way across northern Spain from the French border finishing in Finisterre. I walked for 10 days averaging 15 miles (about 24 kilometers) per day. Although I was alone for the first seven days (my friend Natalie joined for the final three days), I was never truly alone. There were other pilgrims from all over the world who I could talk to either while walking or at the end of the day over a beer and tapas.
One of the reoccurring reminders I received on the camino (which came with an Australian accent) was to make sure I was doing my camino. This reminded me that there was no right or wrong way to do it.
If I needed to only walk 8 miles the second day because of tired, unadjusted feet, it´s okay.
If I needed to stay in private hostel instead of a 100 bed per room public hostel, it´s okay.
If I stopped for an hour to read a book and eat lunch at 10am, it´s okay.
If I needed to take a taxi on the last day because of hurricane-like winds and rains, it´s okay.
These decisions were part of my camino. After a few days walking, observing other´s caminos I found my own rhythm and inner compass. No matter what, I was always progressing.
If you´re interested to learn more about the camino there are many books and a movie with Martin Sheen (who is from Galicia!) called The Way. Paulo Coelho first was inspired to write after walking the Camino Frances. His first book was The Pilgrimage. Maybe you will be inspired by these works, but ultimately it´s up to you to choose your way.
Tomorrow I leave for northern Spain to start a two week pilgrimage. I will start in O Cebreiro and walk for seven days (about 100 miles) to Santiago de Compostela. There are many Caminos (“Ways”) in northern Spain and throughout Europe and I have chosen to do part of the Camino Frances.
Once in Santiago, my friend Natalie (who I met through couch surfing in Nepal!) will join me and we will hike to Finisterre– once known as the “end of the world” — on the Atlantic Coast. I´m very much looking forward to walking, meeting people from all over the world, and discovering little villages in northern Spain.
Hopefully I´ll meet some yogis along the way who want to release tense, sore muscles after long days of walking!
Fear. We learn a lot about it in our yoga practices. And then because of our practice we realize how it manifests in our lives.
Sometimes what I most fear is attempting what I know can be done.
Recently, my fear was gathering people to practice. How do I get a group of yogis together in a city where I´m only passing through? I had an idea from day one, but it took me nearly two months to overcome the fear of failure to give it a try.
Couchsurfing has been my travel companion since 2007. It now has a function that allows users to create events and gather people together. Arriving in Madrid with language confidence and more time for social media, I created the event. To my surprise, I taught two classes with fourteen students in each on my birthday weekend!
The practices in the park were beautiful because they brought together people from all corners of the world: Bolivia, Malaysia, France, Spain, Turkey, Ireland, Germany, Suriname…the list continues.
We all practice yoga for various reasons. For me, yoga gives me a sense of peace and calmness. I became a teacher to share this tranquility with others and ideally, globally. By bringing cultures together to share in a practice of the mind, body, and breath is by one of the many definitions of yoga or “joining together.” I´m so grateful to have replaced a fear with a stunning, global yoga community in Madrid.