Sometimes, I feel like I can't even breathe. The actual exercise of inhaling and exhaling is severed by a thought of something forgotten, or a schedule too full, or a project not yet started. Deep breathing – the kind they taught me in yoga class with soft music and incense burning – isn't something I feel capable of outside the yoga studio. I somehow get enough air in my lungs to survive, but sometimes it feels like the type of breath you gasp for when you're on the verge of drowning. I know this about myself, so I also recognize my need to recharge from daily life. I think everyone needs to press that little red reset button and recharge, disconnect, and escape. Even for a little while, and even if that escape doesn't involve a beach of white sand and umbrella drink.
My family has a tradition. After the last day of school, we get out of town. Literally. With two young kids, our extended weekend adventure isn't extravagant because, well, it doesn't have to be. That's not the point. The point is to get away; as the car packed with snacks and pool toys travels farther away from life-as-we-know-it, I find myself relax. The stuff, the schedules and projects and tasks, are left somewhere back there. Behind us. As the mileage markers tick along, I can feel my body ease into the seat and finally relax, the deep breathing of my yoga class now a possibility in a car that smells of goldfish crackers and spilled juice.
Our little recharge getaways have included trips down to Table Rock Lake. Staying at the family-friendly Stillwaters Resort, we swim, cast a few fishing lines into the lake, rent a boat, race each other in go karts, and spend at least a little time at Silver Dollar City. The most memorable part of each trip? Laughing at the billboards on the way down and counting the number that advertise Fantastic Caverns. We couldn't help it; we had to stop there on year on the way down to the lake. I mean, how could a hundred billboards be wrong?
St. Louis, a four-hour drive from our house, was our most recent weekend destination. The City Museum, St. Louis Zoo, and Magic House are all very manageable over an extended weekend, but the trip to the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch was the highlight for my boys (my fear of heights and my husband's need to comment that the wind was making the structure sway while we were on top dropped it lower on my list). And, we had a few unexpected surprises while staying at the Doubletree Hotel at Union Station, a nighttime visual display shown on the lobby's ceiling nothing short of magical for two little boys (not to mention the warm chocolate chip cookies).
So, try to take a yoga breath. If you find it hard to accomplish the deep breathing that we all need to achieve any sort of balance in life, plan a little getaway. Go ahead; get out of town. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you for it.