Today I woke up with a pretty intense travel hangover. Most people call it jet lag, but I think travel hangover is more accurate. It’s that achy, dizzy, out of touch feeling you have when your body is confused about the time zone and your brain is confused about your general existence at 7 am on a Thursday morning.
Like any responsible working adult, I attempted to fix my fogginess with caffeine. I considered wine, but it was 9 am, and I was too groggy to justify such a bad choice. When the 12 oz. dose of caffeine didn’t work, I figured I should have more. When in doubt, always choose more. That’s not really my mantra, but today I couldn’t come up with a better solution. Of course the solution didn’t work. So I spent the majority of the day in a haze, stuck somewhere between contemplating life and getting through all of the work that piled up during vacation. The travel hangover is an odd headspace to be in.
Since all that legal stimulant didn’t work, and more than two cups of coffee makes me start to shake, I did what I always do when I feel off. I went to yoga.There’s still a small part of me that clings violently to my past and the Catholic ideology of punishing yourself, even when you already feel bad, so I went to hot yoga. My assumption was that it would be sort of like hell, only with better music and some aromatherapy. But doing core work and power yoga in a heated room is difficult even on the best days, and I knew how intense this class could be. Despite all of that, I also knew that I was guaranteed to feel better the second I was done.
The class was hot, but not unbearable, since it wasn’t packed full this time. I didn’t even slide or slowly slip out of downward facing dog because of the layer of sweat on my mat. (Yea, create that mental image. It’s not pretty and now it’s burned in your mind forever. You are welcome.) But, as predicted, I felt wonderful after class. I was human again. My mind was clear. My body knew what it was doing, and where it was going. When yoga is done right, it has this amazing ability to sync breathing, movement, and mindfulness all at once. It creates a mental and physical state that is focused only on the present second at hand. This is its secret. And when you feel it, you realize it is one of the few things you can count on to bring balance back into your life. But of course, if yoga doesn’t work, you could always try throwing back some wine.