Even as an ardent lover of ice cream, I will admit that somewhere near the bottom of the pint, I lose my taste for it. Only an impassive commitment to the work sees me through to the end. Likewise, early in my practice of yoga, I experienced a loss of interest. I’d grown bored and only the routine was sustaining me.
How easily this happens: We grow bored with our possessions, our professions, even our ice creams. We crave the first bites. I think that’s what draws us to traveling, where there’s no end to novelty.
The mindset of a tourist interests me. Somehow ice cream tastes better. Sunsets are certainly more beautiful. And strangers are always more beguiling. But, in fact, I know this isn’t entirely true. What’s true is that, as a tourist, I’m more open, more receptive, and more curious.
Which is why I’m thinking of that time when my interest in yoga was restored in an instant. One afternoon, my teacher entered the practice room, asked for our attention, and declared we’d move through practice “backwards.”
She clarified she’d instruct us through the postures in reverse order, having us start where we usually end. In all other ways, it was a normal class. And just like that, yoga felt new to me. Like a first timer, but with better balance, I returned to being a tourist. By way of a jolt to my perspective, my interest was reawakened.
I remain impressed by how this one event freshened my interest in something I thought I knew so well. It was a lesson in how to become a tourist without leaving the neighborhood.
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