Going out into the world is a wonderful and an exciting adventure. Many of us see traveling as a tool for growth, which it most certainly is. However, traveling isn’t always swaying palm trees, yoga pictures on the beach or delicious smoothie bowls (I wish it were!). Traveling can, on the other hand, test us at any moment, and force us to make quick decisions right there and then.
As yoga enthusiasts like we are (that’s why we are here reading this blog right?), we all know that yoga aids us in staying calm, being centered, and giving us a much needed well-rounded perspective of our current situation in life. So, it’s important to try and keep up a regular yoga practice during a trip away.
If, like myself, you are travelling after your Yoga teacher training; here are a few tips that I’ve used to help me keep up my yoga practice when I’m out on the road.
1. Practice anywhere and everywhere
Unlike having a regular place to practice yoga, it can be hard to find the right spot to lay down your yoga mat when traveling. Being creative and finding the time and place to practice can be challenging. But when you are out exploring the world, there’ll be some stunning and interesting places to move your body (Sounds like a win-win situation for me by the way).
For example, I’ve practiced under palm trees on beaches, in guesthouse gardens, at airport lounges, in windowless rooms, and on balconies. I even went as far as gently practicing a couple of standing poses in a bathroom in a hostel, while safely holding onto the towel rail next to me! It really doesn’t matter where you practice, as long as it is safe.
Sometimes in smaller rooms, space may be an issue too. So find ways to modify your flow by focusing on modified sun salutations, standing postures or seated poses. Be adaptable with your space and with your practice.
When traveling, it really doesn’t matter where you practice, as long as it is safe.
2. Find the time to flow
After you’ve found a space to roll out your mat, you’ll need to plan out when it’s going to be practical to practice. Maybe you’ll be busy all day, excitedly exploring a new city or an ancient historical site BUT setting your time on your mat. Because travelling routine is easily disrupted, particularly when your leaving in the early hours of the morning to catch a flight, work with what you’ve got.
Try to not to make an excuse not to practice, but be honest with yourself and know when to rest. After all, a few days of continuous travelling can tire out even the most hardened of travelers.
3. Check out the nearest yoga offerings
One of the best things about travelling and having a passion for yoga is attending classes led by teachers you’ve never met before. I’ve had the chance to learn and to practice different styles of yoga with some fantastic teachers that I would never have met back at home. Do some research on your favorite teacher’s schedule to see where in the world they are teaching, as many teachers travel during the summer months. I was able to attend a two-day Ashtanga workshop with David Swenson in Bangkok and it was an invaluable experience.
Another tip is to find out about a local yoga shala or ashram where you’ll be staying. For instance, many places in India offer budget accommodation, with the option of attending as many classes as you please.
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert
4. Wake up early and meditate
Try to make the most of the beautiful locations you find yourself in by rising early to meditate. This may be part of your daily routine already, but finding a space to meditate outside can be utterly breathtaking in tropical climates.
There is something magical about watching the sunrise and listening to the new sounds around you, especially when you are abroad. It’s an important time to welcome the new day, to set your intention, and to watch Mother Nature’s beauty in all her glory.
5. Learn as you go
When you are en-route to a new destination, you may end up spending numerous hours stuck on a coach, a train or a plane. But these hours can be used towards exploring yoga on a deeper level AND getting lost in a fascinating book. I’ve read up on Moola Bandha the Master Key, Autobiography of a Yogi, and The Yoga of the Yogi: The Legacy of T. Krishnamacharya – all while being on sleeper trains in India and Thailand. Not only has this helped me pass the time, but I’ve also learnt endless amounts of wisdom which have evolved my understanding and interest in yoga. Pick a topic that you’re passionate about, and look forward to your next long trip.
“One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
6. Have a little patience
Take a deep breath and focus on the other aspects of your yoga practice other than physically moving through poses. Try to practice non-attachment to a trip going exactly how you want it to, as life may have different rewarding experiences in store.
Traveling isn’t always straightforward, and it can be tough after many lengthy, drawn-out journeys with limited sleep. Be patient with yourself and your new surroundings. Adapt by cultivating compassion, understanding, while being open-minded in new cultures and in new countries. Go through what you go through, but grow through it too.
Some final words
Travel and yoga are both perfect self-empowerment tools to guide us to create a deeper connection within ourselves, with others and the world around us. Sometimes, to continue practicing yoga, we need to adapt how we approach the mat and give full awareness to how we are feeling. The key is to focus our energy on what we can do, rather than what we “feel” we cannot do.
Go out into the world, my friend; with love, open arms, and your mat tucked under your arm. Namaste!
Go out into the world, with love, open arms, and your mat tucked under your arm!