EVEN IF YOU aren’t on a wellness-focused
retreat, there are ways you still can incorporate health into your vacation.
Costco member and yoga teacher
Christine Chen seeks out health and wellness
as a necessary component of every single
one of her travels. In Chen’s recently released
book, Happy-Go-Yoga (Grand Central Life &
Style, 2015; not available at Costco), she
devotes two chapters to travel health
Chen recommends taking a “smartphone
siesta” to alleviate stress. While seated, place
your phone behind your head, then a pillow
on top of the phone. Relax your shoulders,
lean back and close your eyes. Inhale through
your nose and when exhaling make an mmm
sound. Repeat the breathing sequence 10
times. (You don’t really need the phone, but
the idea is to take a break from it.)
If you’re driving in an unfamiliar city and
need some peace of mind, Chen recommends Car Kali. While stopped in traf;c or at
a stoplight, press your foot firmly on the
brake, cross your arms and grab the wheel.
Now inhale a big power breath, stick your
tongue out, exhale and make an ugly face and
a ;erce, monster-like noise. Don’t worry: You’ll
never see those drivers next to you again.
Meals are an important aspect of wellness and healthful travel. Author John Ayo
devotes a whole chapter in his book to what
foods make the most sense for wellness.
Here are a few tips to follow on the road.
• Enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
• Limit local cuisine indulgences
to a reasonable amount.
• Skip the bread basket.
• Avoid meat and potatoes together.
• Drink lots of ;ltered water.—HL
anywhere Present sense
By Jim Starr
I THINK MOST people not only want to
be better o;, they also want to be better,
period. A lack of spiritual context may be
undermining the e;orts of millions who
try to improve themselves each year. ;ese
people may bene;t from an outside-the-box option that does not occur to them—a
Like so many other men, I was doing
my best within the con;nes of contemporary Western tradition: working for a living, paying bills, raising a family and
looking forward to weekend barbecues
with friends. A;er experiencing a curve-ball in my plans in the form of a devastating sports injury a;er college, almost four
decades ago, I underwent a profound spiritual transformation, which led me to ;nd
deeper signi;cance in my life.
If it could happen to me, it could certainly happen to you. In that vein, here are
some suggestions for spiritual emergence.
Lose the notion that you’re “not the
type.” I was an apprehensive, cynical and
pragmatic guy who thought all the New
Age stu; just wasn’t for me, but the emotional suffering triggered by my back
injury ignited an improbable series of coincidences—such as my exposure to alternative health treatments and the teachings of
a spiritual guru—that shook me out of my
Realize that misfortune can be a
portal leading to spiritual actualization. Traumas o;en lead to change for
the better. There have been several
breakthrough moments made possible
because of my injury.
;e back injury, and the desperation
that ensued when traditional doctors
seemed to have no answers for me, was the
necessary chink in the armor that made it
possible for me to even consider trying
an o;-beat New Age therapy like Rol;ng.
Once I tried it and saw that is was not only
legitimate but magical, the ;oodgates
opened up. My cynicism was exposed as a
sham, and I began to build a life for myself
based on this newfound so;ness.
I spent six weeks in an ashram, where
my heart began to open and where I ;nally
got to see that I, too, was a human being
with deep feelings. And I took on a spiri-
tual teacher, under whose guidance I no
longer fret about the meaning of my life.
Understand that transformation may
upset social mores. Changing my lifestyle
to one without meat or alcohol was di;cult, because my extensive network of
friends bonded via barbecues and other
social opportunities to drink beer.
But, in the end, I was looking for
something more profound and meaningful in my life. ;e people who really care
for you—family, close friends and new
friends—will be there for you through
Embrace the notion of a “spiritual
vacation.” An extended visit to an ashram, a spiritual hermitage or a monastery
can be like a deep-tissue massage or a
relaxing vacation, in that a pilgrimage
stays with you. When I get back home to
my normal routine and surroundings I’m
always amazed at the di;erence the vacation has made.
Most of us are on a kind of autopilot, a
track we’ve been on since our birth, but
you don’t have to follow the track inde;-nitely into the future. More of us can wake
up from this arbitrary path and live a truly
amazing and beautiful life. C
Costco member Jim Starr ( jerseyyogi.com)
is the author of Jersey Yogi: ;e Unintentional Enlightenment of an Uptight Man
(11th Dimension Publications, 2015; not
available at Costco).