Lessons learned when we aren't looking

Earlier this year I spent 28 days in Nicaragua completing my 200 hour yoga teacher training.  It was in incredible experience and opportunity.  I had a chance to explore so many facets to life and yoga.  We don’t often get to plan all of the lessons we learn in intense experiences such as these. We more often find lessons in places we didn’t expect at all.  And Nicaragua was no exception for me.  


During my time there, all of our meals were lovingly prepared for us. Beautiful, healthy, fresh food.  I was so grateful to have our food prepared for us as we were so entrenched in yoga practice, learning how to teach, anatomy, and homework every single day.  But I absolutely struggled with the food.  While the meals were delicious, they were monotonous, and limited.  I ate a falafel wrap for lunch almost every single day I was there.  I was excited about falafel on the first day, and even on the second day.  The third day, I was less enthused.  By day 12  I never wanted to see falafel again.  There were a couple other lunch options, but none that really appealed to me.  Our lunch menu eventually changed a bit to move to buffet style, so instead of a whole falafel wrap, I had half, and some salad, and some hummus.  Breakfast was a buffet, but the same everyday, plus or minus avocados.  And dinner rotated according to days of the week.  Like I said, nothing was bad, but it was limited.  I’m accustomed to eating more carbs and dairy in my diet.  I began craving things like cheese, or toast with my eggs.  


I tried to look at it as a way to cut out anything bad out of my diet.  By the end of this 28 days, all those cravings will be gone, right?


Actually, they got worse.  I started craving things I don’t even eat.  Craving anything that wasn’t healthy for me.  All the sudden cheetos sounded really freakin good.  I wanted everything I couldn’t have.


Two powerful things I learned in this particular experience:


  1. Living a healthier life has to look like an abundance rather than a lack.  Adding healthy choice by healthy choice eliminates unhealthy choices by extension.  And it just plain feels better to make decisions this way.  For change to be sustainable, it must feel good.

  2. Change in any form has to be your decision.  Just because I was put in those circumstances, I hadn’t consciously chosen it.  I was thrown into it.  My resistance was at an all time high when I felt like a victim of the circumstance.  My options to eat anything else were taken away.  Since I wasn’t actually making the decision for myself, when I came home, I went right back to my old habits.  No one wants to be forced into change, it has to come from ourselves.

Many of the best lessons we learn when we aren’t looking.