As the weather gets warmer, many of us will be spending more time away from home. We can all agree that there’s nothing like a good vacation, but this can be a little disruptive for some yogis. Without our favorite teachers, locations, sessions, and times our practice falls to the wayside.
But, what if we told you that it’s possible to enjoy yoga even when traveling? Skeptical? The following tips will be sure to change your mind:
- Plan ahead
Before you get to your destination, research the availability of public classes in the area. You may inadvertently find a yogic gem away from home.
Another great way to practice while you’re away is to research online classes. Bookmark a variety of interesting videos, of different levels and lengths, to switch things up. You can even download a yoga/meditation app, there are plenty to choose from in the major app stores.
- Pack your yoga gear
Don’t miss out on your asanas simply because of a lack of proper clothing. To prevent this from happening, put at least one comfortable and cute yoga apparel in the suitcase that pulls double duty as a traveling ensemble.
You may also want to consider buying a yoga mat that’s specifically made for traveling. These don’t provide the most cushion but they’ll keep you protected from foreign surfaces as well as give your feet and hands something to grip.
- Set an intention for your trip
Taking the time to set your intention before you begin your trip will help make any unexpected disruptions much easier to deal with. And, it doesn’t have to be anything complex. Your intention can be to simply tell yourself to be patient, be positive, or to express gratitude.
- Use airports in new ways
It’s no longer strange to practice yoga in airports. So many people have fallen in love with their asanas, that some airports have built special places for yogis to practice.
If you’re too shy to do downward dog in the airport lounge, consider taking advantage of the seating area. Not sure how that will work? The following ideas will help you practice while seated in the waiting area for your plane:
- Raise your hands in the air, interlace your fingers, and turn the palms of your hand skywards. Stretch your hands up and over to the right and then to the left.
- Cross your ankle over your thigh and lean forward. Do the same on the other side. This pose stretches the outside of the hips which can get pretty tight when traveling long distances.
- Put your left hand on the armrest on your right-hand side. Put your right hand behind your back and twist to the right. Do it again on the other side.
- Get some fresh air
Any room you can retreat to, close the door, and find peace and quiet is always a good option. But, if you head outside to do your practice, you get to experience the smells, sounds, and other sensations of your new environment.
There are magical places in virtually every town, like local parks and other beautiful spaces, that can help bring another dimension to your practice. So, don’t feel self-conscious if others are watching you. Chances are, you will never see them again. Plus, you may become their inspiration for trying yoga for the first time.
- Necessity is the mother of invention
No straps, blocks, or bolsters? No worries. Use stacked blankets or pillows as bolsters, sturdy objects (like books) as blocks, and a belt or scarf for a strap.
- Create a yoga/meditation space in your room
Set up a space for yoga (complete with a blanket, pillow, mat, and, candle) in your apartment or hotel. Doing so will help inspire you to keep up with your practice.
- Use the furniture in your room for alternate purposes
The furniture in your room can be used to achieve the therapeutic effects of many poses. For instance, laying on the edge of your bed and letting your head hang is a great way to give your spine traction. It also helps to keep your circulation moving after a long car and/or plane ride.
You can also use the edge of the couch to do backbends. Relax in this pose for at least 5 minutes and see for yourself the benefits it will reap.
- Every little bit counts
The all-or-nothing concept isn’t always best, especially when it comes to yoga. Don’t forego your practice simply because your schedule doesn’t leave time for your regular 90-minute flow. You can do some sun salutations when you get some free time, even if it’s only five minutes. You’ll be surprised how many of these pockets of time you’ll be able to steal.
- Take a vacation from your physical practice
When your body is tired from traveling and needs some rest, doing a rigorous physical practice can cause burnout or even injury. Taking a short break from routine will give you a chance to recharge your batteries.
So, don’t panic if you are forced to abandon your practice. Yoga is deeper than simple postures. Expand your perception of practice to include restoratives, meditation, and any healthy rituals that help summon a feeling of peace. Some options include:
- Lay on your back with your feet up a wall for five minutes
- Enjoy at least 3 minutes of quiet meditation each morning
- Create your own gratitude practice by naming at least 3 things that you are grateful for
- When it’s time to wind down, spend some time reflecting on the events of the day and write it in your journal.
- Stay present
When we are constantly on your phones checking social media, reading emails, etc, it’s easy to zone out, even when in an exotic locale. Do your best to stay present and take in every single moment of your trip. This, believe it or not, is a yoga practice of its own.
With planning, commitment, and a flexible attitude, it’s possible to gain the benefits of yoga even while traveling. And, if you follow the above tips, you won’t have any reason to discontinue your practice. Safe travels and, as always, namaste.