5 Travel Yogi Tips
Yoga is more than something I simply do – it is a way for me to be. My practice allows me to incorporate a strong sense of mindfulness, focus, and purpose into most things I set an intention towards. The skills I strengthen and harness to improve my physical asana translate and factor into a number of other areas in my life off the mat.
I find that my physical practice influences my relationship with others and my relationship with myself – at work, when I’m in transit, or while doing any daily errands. I use the physical practice of yoga to eventually see growth in other external areas in my life. Yoga is a muscle that needs to be exercised diligently and regularly to generate and mobilize any sort of noticeable change and difference – inward and outward.
At times while being a travel yogi, adhering to a regular process or practice becomes a challenge. There have been several times when my yoga suffered as a result of my time abroad. In fact, this recently happened on my trip to Italy and Switzerland. I certainly felt the effects – physically, mentally, and spiritually. My patience, sense of inner stillness, calm, and grounding – areas I focus on while I am on the mat – began to weaken and waver.
Yoga is a muscle that needs to be exercised diligently and regularly to generate and mobilize any sort of noticeable change and difference – inward and outward.
Often, when I travel, my availability of space and privacy becomes more limited. Due to a sense of self-consciousness, I do not always feel comfortable doing sun salutations or certain types of postures while I am embracing and indulging in the hostel lifestyle – in rooms filled strangers who are frequently amazing, interesting, and inspiring individuals, but may or may not necessarily be yogis. Between my shyness and sheer physical exhaustion from sightseeing, I find my mind and body stiffen, grow more rigid, or less malleable.
There are five things I try to have in mind when I sense my yoga practice is in danger of neglect or deterioration while I am abroad:
1. Make time.
When I am able to do so, I try to wake up early or set a time either at the beginning or end of my day (ideally both) to go through several sun salutations and postures that are integral to my personal practice.
2. Focus on breath.
We all know that breathing is critical and it is something we must be aware of while holding a posture or transitioning between poses. Breath is something we need to have in mind at all times during the day, especially while we go about our daily routine. Our time spent on the mat helps establish the foundation for this off of the mat. Focusing on breath alone throughout the day is a simple, yet powerful way to engage our mind and body. If we concentrate on perceiving our travel time as a test to engage in a thoughtful breathing exercise, yoga can be done anywhere or everywhere we go.
3. Practice mindfulness.
I find yoga to be so powerful because of the level of thought, dedication, and awareness it demands during my physical and mental practice. Similarly, when we are in a new city, country, or culture, our senses become heightened and more in tune with our automatic reflexes while we try to map and decipher new, unfamiliar surroundings. The degree of mindfulness we engage in on our mat can be activated, channeled, and applied when we are off the mat as we navigate new city streets and places. We inherently activate our yoga skillset while we process and digest everything new and strange on our travels abroad with high levels of consciousness and awareness.
4. Listen to your body.
Respect and cherish what you have. When we travel we are in new terrain and are therefore constantly being stimulated in ways we are not accustomed to at home. Our energy becomes depleted quicker and faster. We must not forget to honor our limitations. If you find that you are too tired to practice yoga remember that this is okay. Do not be hard on yourself. Recognize and acknowledge how you are feeling and make decisions as you continue to evaluate where you are – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
5. Embrace the journey.
Yoga is about the journey. Our time abroad traveling is an opportunity to manifest the internal process we work on at home into a physical outward expression while we test and explore new smells, tastes, sights, and sounds.
Remember to feel, “the encouragement of light [against your] being, otherwise we all remain too frightened.” ~Hafiz (c.1320 -1389)
Namaste from a travel yogi.