Four years ago I did my first Yoga Teacher Training course. I spent a month in the Austrian mountains surrounded by snow. Not the sludge I had seen before. When the winter's sun shone and we went for walks, we would be surrounded by perfect snowflakes. In this beautiful space, our small group ate well, exercised, and sat listening to people who had spent a lot of time thinking. It was one of the most magical periods of my life.
A little beauty
It normally takes a little while to wind down from work, and then time to wind up when you go back. I called it Concertina leave. You panicked to get things done before you left, and panicked to catch up when you get back. By having four weeks, and not checking calls and email, my mind and emotions were able to completely devote themselves to a healthy life.
A little unsquashed time
The days were very structured. But each moment made sense. Slowly, I was easing creaks out of my body and increasing my level of calm. I was surrounded by wonderful people. With time to think, there were moments when people broke down a little. Processing some of the stuff we keep bottled up when we are too busy. There was time. Time for the healing too.
A little exercise
At some stage, you come back to the real world. But it gives you pause for thought. I know there are these beautiful places all over the world where people live simple, fulfilling, affordable lives. It is interesting why that is not the life we aspire to? What is it that we return to?
I get frustrated with people looking at measures of 'poverty' which are relative. A common one is the percentage of people living below 50% of the median income. I am sorry, but that is a ridiculous measure. It ends up with you saying bat crazy things like 1/3 of children in palpably rich countries are impoverished. I prefer absolute measures of needs that distract you from living. Running water. Basic meals. Secure accommodation. Healthy lifestyles. Time and ability to read, think and be part of a community. The measures you choose matter. They are the things you will elevate in importance.
A little good food