I’ve just returned from a three-week trip to Nepal. During that trip I spent 11 days trekking.
“Trekking,” as it turns out, means mountain hiking. (Hmmm. Probably should have looked that up before I booked the trip.) Trekking, in fact, refers to very, very, very tall mountains; not the wussy little hills of the American East Coast, but MOUNTAINS. For the last few weeks, for me, “trekking” meant specifically the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, where I very nearly did not make it to Annapurna Base Camp with my beloved friend and teaching partner Jovinna Chan.
We found ourselves at the end of day 1 of our 10-day trek considering that we may have made a terrible mistake: We were in no shape for this; we’re yogis and dancers perhaps, but not athletes; Jovinna, recovering from knee surgery, had been mostly inactive for months; neither of us had done any training for this whatsoever; and we both hate the cold. Good planning all around on our part.
We found ourselves way out of our comfort zones and fully exploring our edges of strength, stamina, physical discomfort, personal hygiene, dietary preference, cultural expectation, and more. We encouraged one another with every tool in our A Wild Life Sanctuary toolkit. Everything we know, practice and teach about working through challenges came into play. We seriously considered changing our route and giving up the goal of Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), but over and over again we met people who said, “You can do this.” The best advice, given to us over and over again, was so simple, and it turned out to be the number one lesson of our journey: “Bistarai, bistarai.” Nepali for “Slowly, slowly.”
I got to ABC by counting to 10 over and over and over again: Inhale, step, “one”. Exhale, step, “two”. Inhale, step, “three”… We added a day to our trek (increased it from 10 to 11 days) and our ingenious guide Anil Yatri gave us a day off. We discovered the joy of Slow Trekking — taking time to absorb the magnificent beauty, to enjoy a masala tea or hot lemon, to converse with fellow travelers, rest, take photos, journal — and I found myself dreaming, already, of returning to Nepal to lead a Slow Trekking, Yoga and Meditation Retreat (It’s already in the planning stages for Fall 2019! Specific dates and details TBA!)
“Bistarai, bistarai” became the theme of this incredible journey. It allowed us to meet our edges and work through them with patience, compassion, and humor. My old self may have gone to one extreme or another; either a) given up, or b) pushed too hard and too fast, resulting in exhaustion or injury. As it turns out, both Jovinna and I finished our miraculous journey in good health, uninjured — tired for sure — but pain free.
Aug 24 – 26 Dance Into Joy
Aug 26 – 31 The Fun Project: Play, Dance, Voice, Yoga
Check out my UPCOMING EVENTS below. In addition to those listed, I’m also planning trips to Newburyport, MA, Fairfield, CT, and South Kingstown, RI. I’ll also be leading two 200-hr YTTs at Kripalu in 2018! Check out my EVENTS page and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.
Happy Thanksgiving. May you overflow with gratitude! And may you savor every moment of this holiday season, which goes by so quickly. Remember, “bistarai, bistarai”, slowly, slowly…