Vaulted ceilings in the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Here & Now.

Before our trip, I went to practice, and it felt like the perfect mix for me.  While trying to keep my focus on the present moment, my thoughts move toward the trip and how precious my yoga practice is to me.  Maybe I will bring books on yoga or listen to podcasts. Should I roll up my travel mat? More clothes?

No! I decided to experiment with the other yogic limbs and park my asana practice back at home.  I didn’t even sneak in a Sun Salute!

In Mid April, I ventured to Paris with my family.  Amazed by the architecture, people, art and environment. I was captured by the city, especially through the eyes of our children. Setting my physical asana practice off to the side to spend time with my family and be fully present in the “here & now”.

Yoga pose in the middle of France with Amy Barber.

Respect For All Living Beings.

One evening, before dinner, we walked passed a mother and child sitting on the street.  Clearly not wanting to be there, but didn’t have many choices. The mother and her child were refugees from Syria.  I felt an immense pain in my body and a full heart of love and compassion for these two human beings. I do not know their journey or the hardships that they have endured.  However, I offered kindness and gave then some money. The mother held her hand on my head and I held the child’s hand. I cried…. When I returned to the table to eat with my family, I thought of Ahimsa...respect for all living beings….more yoga off the mat.

We climbed the tower at Notre Dame the Saturday before the fire.  In awe of its history and massive presence, we toured the cathedral. Standing there, with my family and taking it all in.  On Monday, we returned to Notre Dame to take a Batobus on the Seine. We stood outside Notre Dame, an hour before we saw smoke. Then the fire took off.  It was surreal to be there moments ago and now to witness this terrible time.

Fire and smoke in the Notre Dame Cathedral, France.

The city of Paris came together.

We departed the Batobus and walked to a nearby bridge. We stood alongside many visitors and Parisians in shock.  Not knowing the details made it difficult to process. We decided to move on and leave the area. After dinner, we watched TV and read a bit about the tragedy. Luckily no one was injured or lost their lives.

The city of Paris came together.  People mourned and there was a sense of calm in the air.  A feeling of being one, a union. A very similar feeling that we try to experience and foster from our yoga practice.  It was truly amazing to experience yoga in a very different way and setting.

Garden in France.


Riding the underground in Paris is rather thrilling and quite efficient.  However, the crowds during certain commuter times, was a bit trying. It was a great opportunity to “turn inward” and I found myself meditating during these opportunities. Even when it seemed impossible, it was possible.  The practice of mediation is a very powerful tool to utilize in the moment and try it rather unplanned or scheduled.

How do you practice yoga off your mat?

1 Comment

  1. Ellen Earl on May 2, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    So happy to have been part of the experience!

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