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“Home again, home again, jiggety jig!” – my dad, as we pulled into the driveway from every single vacation of my childhood

There is a particular feeling to coming home. It’s hard to put into words. It’s part release and part relief. It’s a sense of being firmly grounded and centered. I imagine it’s the way a toddler feels when she crawls into her mother’s lap after a long morning at preschool – happily exhausted by her adventures out in the world and just as happily snuggled in for a rest in the most secure place she can imagine.

My dad’s cheerful little ditty has been on repeat in my heart and mind of late. We have been fortunate to travel a great deal this summer. Whether our trips have taken us near or far, it always feels nice to come home. Home is where we regroup, get organized, clean up a bit (my Lord, the laundry!), settle down and get centered – all necessary before we can be ready to pack up and hit the road again.

Never a super-light packer, on each of our trips this summer, I have schlepped an extra bag. While my yoga mat can be a bit unwieldy on flights, I almost never leave it behind. After I stuff in a block and my towel, that extra bag is full!

You see, no matter where I am in the world, I find I am happier when I sneak a little yoga into my days. Stepping onto my mat feels like coming home. My practice is where I regroup. Where my thoughts become more organized. Where I clean up my body by sweating out toxins, stretching out kinks and twisting out tension. My mat is where I settle down emotionally and mentally. It is where I get centered again so I can live more like the kind of person I hope to be.

These are the tangible gifts of a contemplative practice and they are profound. The intangible gifts – the long-term changes to your thought patterns, the clarity you gain, the deep faith in and hope for the world around you that develops as you practice – will transform your entire experience of life. All of these gifts make lugging that extra bag seem like a pretty small price to pay.

No matter where you wander this summer, the next time you come home to your practice, pay close attention to how you feel. You just might find yourself smiling and singing as my dad taught me.

Welcome home,