I am not into New Year resolutions, but this year I made a vow that every New Year’s Day from here on out I would try something new. The idea came to me as I was sitting at a camp site in Patagonia, Chile, on New Year’s morning staring at this view. Now I realize I may not have the opportunity to do something as amazing every New Year’s Day as I did this year, which was to trek almost 16 miles throughout Torres del Paine National Park, but the experience inspired me to think that every year should start by testing my comfort zone a little – from traveling someplace new, to trying a new food, to taking a different route to my favorite store. The possibilities are endless.
While I am an active person, I have never camped a day in my life, so signing up for a 10-day trek in Patagonia took me way out of my comfort zone. But the trip was calling me, and it felt like something I needed to do. I went for it, and it was amazing. Not only did I keep up, I kicked butt, got to see an amazing part of the world, met fantastic new people and had a ton of laughs and new experiences along the way. It reminded me of something I try to tell myself every day – how capable I am if I let myself be and just try.
Spending all this time out of my comfort zone and away from my normal life and routine also made me appreciate how important my regular routine is. Ayurveda is a firm believer in routine, and dinacharya, which is the daily self-care routine that is a tenant of health in Ayurveda, is one of the first things I speak to clients about. It covers a variety of things from the ideal time to rise, morning cleansing rituals, yoga, meditation and daily oil massages to keep you healthy.
Now when you are dirty and in the wilderness and on vacation, many of these things are not accessible, but the beauty is many are. My sleep schedule was way off as the sun was setting at 11:30pm and rising at 6am, but I was still able to meditate. While showers were scarce, I was always sure to oil at least my feet at the end of every day – much to the amusement of my travel mates. Daily oil massages are an important part of keeping yourself grounded, and with all the movement, keeping this ritual kept me down to earth while soothing my aching feet.
In the coming year, I encourage all of you to continue to seek new adventures while ensuring you have a strong regular routine to build from along the way. They are not contradictory but supportive. I will discuss dinacharya more in upcoming blogs and am giving a workshop on the topic on January 26 for those of you in the NYC area. More information can be found here: http://benturshenmeditation.com/calendar/ayurveda-workshop