I’ve been practising yoga for 12 years. I am not a teacher or a super skinny super bendy Instagram model. In fact, I was barely able to touch my toes, but finally can after regular practice (it only took 5 years!). This is not about how yoga can give you the best body or how to wrap your leg around your head, or anything other than a great way to keep your blood flowing and mind calm while you travel. After my latest trip to a retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California, I realized how incorporating this ancient practice into my routine while I travel has enhanced my experiences so much.
Here are 5 reasons to bring yoga into your travel routine that will make every trip you take (whether it’s for a weekend or for months on end) a deeper and more enriching experience:
It improves sleep and digestion
Travel is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It shows us life outside our reality, landscapes we never knew existed and so much more. But let’s be honest – there are also long days we are crammed into seats, food that leaves our tummies in disarray, and often many nights without proper rest. Taking time during your trip to breathe, do some sun salutations, twist around, and re-center will help you get the sleep you need and keep your digestion flowing properly so your stamina will be at its strongest.
You don’t need any equipment or gym clothes
This one is a no-brainer. I love to run, bike, hike, and swim, but struggle to maintain this while traveling because they require specific clothes and equipment. While a yoga mat is preferred (and any gym or class will provide this), if you are just on your own without one that’s amazing too. It’s actually good to hold warrior poses without a mat, as it can be challenging if you are trying to deepen your practice. If you are a beginner though, it’s great to breathe and do a few half sun salutations, practise tree pose, or even explore with a seated meditation to take in the moment wherever you are. No props, fancy clothes, or sports bras needed!
It’s all about being in the moment, travel is the same way
Have you ever noticed that when you travel is when you have the best ideas, reflections, visions and feel the most relaxed? It’s because there are fewer distractions than the moment in front of you, your life at home is not pulling your mind in every direction. Practicing yoga is all about living in the present moment, and is a great way to deepen the experience of being present wherever you are. Bringing a little movement into your day does wonders in the way you take in the experience wherever you travel.
No time is too little or too much on the mat
During my retreat, by the 3rd day and 5th class, we finished our final savasana and I was so blissed out I asked my teacher if this is how she always feels. She kind of laughed and said yes, but to remember that we often put pressure on ourselves to have a “complete” practice of a full 90 minutes with a beginning, middle, and end. She reminded me that a daily practice of 15-20 minutes that is more restorative (relaxing, less vigorous) can be the most healing gift of all.
Travel schedules can be tight, dependent on others, or any number of reasons why a 90-minute practice on a regular basis would not be realistic. But even taking 10 minutes to yourself to lay in a restorative pose can help reset yourself even during the most hectic days. And, conversely, if you find yourself on your own and are wanting to deepen, why not find a beautiful setting and have at it for a couple of hours? Can’t think of a better time!
You don’t need a class, but if you want one you can find one
If you’ve been practising awhile, you can probably sustain a practice on your own without guidance. Beginning with seated meditation, moving to sun salutations, back bends and savasana is a fairly comfortable routine to make variations within.
Some of us want guidance or community through a class, and nowadays it’s easier than ever. You can almost always find a studio wherever you are – I’ve practised in San Francisco, Oakland, New York, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Fort Collins, Santa Fe, Mexico, Spain, Malaysia, Bali and Canada. If you can’t find a class, there are a million resources on Youtube, and my latest favorite is the Aaptiv app for your phone where you have countless classes to choose from.
Retreats are also a great way to immerse yourself in yoga while you have the time. They are usually all inclusive with delicious, healthy food and are on beautiful grounds. Trips can be pricey but are definitely a great way to invest in yourself while you are away.
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