Vacations are a superb way to recharge the batteries. Sometimes I don’t know when mine need recharging but I seem to schedule my get-aways at the right time. A work colleague has observed that about a week before I leave I am extra testy and impatient. Wow – I guess my vacation scheduling skills are right on!
It takes me a few days to get fully into vacation mode – that is, forget about deadlines or rushing to my next teaching gig. Many people ask me if I teach yoga while away – and the answer is NO! While I absolutely love teaching, I think a break is needed. That said, it is not uncommon to advise friends and visitors how to help alleviate some type of pain – lower back, knees, wrists, shoulders – with a few quick yoga moves. Impossible to eradicate the yoga teaching completely it seems.
What helps put me at ease quickly is the change of scenery. Living the fast paced life in the city, the calming effect of the Umbria’s glorious pastoral scenery including olive groves, vineyards, cypress-topped hills, sunsets and, in early summer, fields of poppies.
In Toronto my fitness activities are pretty much routine – get on my yoga mat about 5 times a week, run a couple of times a week and walk my dog. While away it takes a new shape. Most mornings it starts with either a run or walk along any number of country roads or corso verde (green pathways); then on my yoga mat for a shorter-than-typical practice that focuses on my hips, hamstring and upper body. This in addition to miles of tourist walking – whether to a hilltop town visited many times or to a new destination.
There is no better way to experience a town than by walking the myriad of paths, roadways and lanes. And, by the way, hills galore! I am constantly amazed at the men and women of all ages that traipse these mountain side roadways daily. The result, strong legs, glutes and hearts. Fuelled by the Mediterranean diet with abundant fresh vegetables, pasta, pizza and local wines seems to work for them. This trip we visited what has to be the most hilly city in Europe – Lisbon.
Of course exercise is always important but even more so when you want to enjoy the delicious food – which never disappoints. Eating seasonally in Italy is natural and their farm fresh bounty starts in April. I was so lucky this time to enjoy my favourite fruits, strawberries and cherries in May and then come home to enjoy them again here. A day of walking also needs to be rewarded with a refreshment and a gelato – no shortage of these either. Let’s just keep walking to burn those calories.