I’ve wanted to do a post on yoga as a spiritual practice for a long time, and my college friend Kelsey Kopecky is the perfect person to share just how vital yoga can be for the traveler and pilgrim. Kelsey is a member of Kopecky Family Band, whose star keeps growing brighter and brighter, which makes me so excited for them (this summer they even played on Jay Leno)! Somewhere I have a mix CD Kelsey made for me many years ago with a few of her original songs thrown in. Maybe I should frame it to share with future generations?
Anyway, with success also comes many weeks away from home, touring and promoting their record Kids Raising Kids (listen to it here and purchase it through iTunes). Amidst the chaos that tour life can bring, Kelsey has found joy and a sense of rootedness through practicing yoga. In today’s post she gives us a peek into her tour life, her practice, and how returning to the mat keeps her connected to the Sacred.
(PS: I also love her other music project with another friend from college, Laura Sink, called Feather and Belle. They’ve been recording recently, which I hope means we’ll be hearing from them soon!) -Lacy
I joke that I am a professional traveler and a part time musician. I’ve been on the road going on three years solid with my band, Kopecky Family Band. Although none of us are related, these five boys feel like the brothers my mom never gave me.
We tour the continent in our airport shuttle bus that we converted into a “mini” tour bus. The guys built bunks in the back so we each have a place to sleep during those all night drives from Denver to San Diego. We laugh at new impressions we are working on as we try to agree on whether to have a Back to the Future or Jurassic Park marathon. From our first six-week tour to our first late night television appearance, we have stood by each other and called it an adventure.
This vagabond lifestyle can be taxing on both my body and mind with little normalcy and structure. The answer for my body, mind and spirit: yoga.
Before soundcheck I roll out my mat and sit. I take a deep breath, exhale, and let go. I release the stress between my shoulders from the 8 hour drive to the venue, I feel my sit bones supporting my whole body as I let my spine grow tall. I inhale and picture my breath nourishing me, softening my edges and irritations. I listen to this soothing ocean sound filling my belly, and exiting with all that I don’t need.
Here I am made aware of a sound that is my constant companion. I realize how easily this sound has been drowned out in the hustle and bustle of travel, with the to-do lists and stories of “what ifs” whirling around my head. Then I remember the journey is the destination.
“I remember the journey is the destination.”
I only have this moment right here, on top of my mat, on this grimy floor covered in beer from last night’s event, in yet another city, before another show. In this moment I feel presence. This is the place where true happiness, wholeness, and contentment is. And then I remember–this experience of presence is available in every moment, even without my yoga mat.
“I only have this moment right here…
This experience of presence is available in every moment,
even without my yoga mat.”
Yoga recognizes that you and I are no different, and that we are divine beings. Operating from this place of union offers us the space to be vulnerable in our life experiences and to truly see God in others and in ourselves. From here we can be creative and accepted.
TIPS FOR STAYING CENTERED ON THE ROAD
1. Find a practice that works for you
Maybe it’s a DVD that you can bring with you and play on your computer. (My favorite is Sean Corn’s Detox Flow). Also search youtube and Hulu for yoga channels–the resources are endless!
2. Make a sacred space
Light a candle, burn incense, put on soothing music. Invite yourself to relax and be renewed.
3. Listen to inspiring podcasts along the way
My favorites are “Transparent Yoga in Everyday Life,” “Tara Brach,” and “On Being, with Krista Tippet.”
4. Laugh everyday
Never underestimate the power of hilarious comedy. My favorites are Pete Holmes and Aziz Ansari.
What keeps you centered when you travel?