Monday, August 27, 2012

Yoga Classes and Catholic Masses

It's been a loooooong summer vacation from this blog.    And I truly want to get back to blogging, to thinking and writing about health and wellness and to doing more about health and wellness.  This summer has been bookended by two awesome vacations, one in early summer that took me to both coasts (Maine and Northern California) with Montana in between and a late summer trek by car to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. 

They really are smoky!
What is a vacation?   The word shares Latin roots with the words vacancy and vacate, so it has something to do with space, emptiness and openness.   While there has been frantic activity to be sure, especially in Maine and California with kids, moves and San Francisco sightseeing and visiting, there has been much quiet and solitude.   Quiet and solitude as in not doing much of anything.  In both Montana and Tennessee, there was no access to cell phones, newspapers or the Internet.  In Montana, there was no television.  So, lots of reading, thinking and sitting. 
Yet always from my childhood up to today, there is never a vacation from the obligation to attend Sunday (and post Vatican II, Saturday) Mass.  No matter where we were, we found a Catholic Church.  There was no discussion, no debating, no break.  And as a adult with a family of my own, this tradition has continued.   It has made for some challenges.  Try finding a Catholic Church in Salt Lake City or the Cayman Islands.  Since the advent of the Internet and a great website,,  the task has been made much easier.   But what wonderful memories of grand and tiny churches, in places ranging from the Brompton Oratory to Hilton Head.  And on the most recent vacation in Tennessee, the absolute luxury of two Masses (on Sunday and one for the August 15 Feast of the Assumption) that were celebrated right in our rented vacation villa, thanks to two priests who were with our group and vacationing too.   While vacations bring adventure and new places, there is something comforting about finding the universal Church wherever I go.
Lately I have added a new vacation tradition, with taking yoga classes whenever possible while on vacation.  Not as predictably found as Catholic masses and with content not nearly as consistent, I have done yoga in Puerta Vallarta, Puerto Rico, on a cruise ship and on a dude ranch in Montana. 
The photo doesn't do justice to the view from the yoga studio, but you get the idea.
(Note to fellow Yoga Teacher trainees -- the Gatlinburg Tennessee location appears to be woefully underserved.  Wedding chapels abound, but no yoga studios).  I have travel yoga memories now etched in my head, including arising from Savasana this Memorial Day weekend to gently falling snow outside in the Absaroka Mountains in Montana and to rocking on a cruise ship in choppy waters in Alaska trying to keep my balance. 
On vacation, we still eat -- we need to keep those prayer and exercise routines going too!