With just a few weeks of summer left, it seemed like there was road construction and detours everywhere I wanted to go. These detours really hit home when the road into downtown Vermilion was shut down for a few weeks of repairs, leaving me with a big ol’ detour on my way to teach beach yoga classes in Vermilion.

At first, this detour really pissed me off. Why couldn’t they wait until the summer season was over? Why did I always forget about the detour, making me worry on the way to class that I would be late? After a few days of this unnecessary stress and angst, I decided to turn it around, put a smile on my face, and enjoy the scenery on my newfound path. I enjoyed the view of the vineyards along the way, took the time to stop at a bakery I’d never visited, and received inspiration for a yoga class theme.

Why not look at the detours in your life through a new lens, perhaps embracing them as an opportunity to try something new? I have to say that smiling and enjoying the scenery as you go sure as hell beats the alternative of getting pissed off.

We’re all faced with many annoying things that can detour us – judgment, fear, ego, failure. We can let what other people think about us detour us and keep us from our path, or we can be true to ourselves and let go of the judgment. I found a really great quote about this that I shared in my classes:

“If you let people break your spirit and detour you from your path, then you have not been true to yourself or those you’re here to touch, those who believe in you.” –Allison DuBois

We can beat ourselves up on the yoga mat when we fall out of a balance pose or struggle to touch our toes. Or, we can look at these detours through a new lens and approach our yoga practice from a place of love, knowing that each time we fall out of a balance pose, it’s not a failure, but simply another detour that will lead us to grow in strength and in balance.

I gave my classes a couple of examples of people I had encountered recently who had major detours in their lives and chose to smile and enjoy the scenery when they did.

Ginny Walters 200 E-RYT & 500-RYT on the Rollenator

One of those examples was Ginny Walters, a yoga teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. Ginny encountered her detour this summer when she took a fall down some stairs and ended up with a dislocated fracture that led to surgery and eleven screws in her ankle. To a yoga teacher who loves the outdoors, being restrained to a couch is pretty close to a death sentence. But this did not stop Ginny from doing what she loves. Just two weeks after the surgery, she found herself a contraption called the “Rollenator” (actually I think its called rollator, but I like rollenator better) that she could rest her knee on, and she rolled herself back into the yoga studio to teach classes! I’m sure she was in a great deal of pain when she did this, but I can tell you firsthand, you would never have known. I was lucky enough to attend one of her outdoor beach classes in August where she glided across the boardwalk, assisted students, and taught an amazing yoga class.

Ginny told me that she could never have gotten through the fracture without her practice of yoga. When she was injured, she took comfort in the fact that she could still breathe and could continue with her pranayama practice. This practice brought her stillness and peace to overcome her anguish. She is now enjoying getting back to her asana practice and learning new ways to modify all the poses to accommodate her injury. Again, she’s taking the detour and embracing it as an opportunity to learn more about her practice, how to help students with injuries, and to be patient with the body as it heals.

To quote Ginny, “Life is such a journey. We can only hope we find encouragement and enlightenment in everything we encounter.”

Ask yourself, are you embracing all of the detours life is throwing at you? Or, are you missing some of the opportunities they present? Open your eyes, rise to the opportunity, and enjoy the scenery that those pesky little detours provide. Your life will be sweeter and a hell of a lot more fun when you do!