A love for travel and adventure seems to be common amongst many yogis these days. An interest in inner exploration often goes hand in hand with an interest in outer exploration. Seeing the diversity of the world, being introduced to new cultures and perspective is truly invaluable. While traveling is good for the mind and soul, it can be tricky to maintain the wellness practices that keep you healthy, given all of the changes you may experience (strange climate, new food, new time zone, as well as hours of sitting when in transit).
A strong yoga practice requires consistency and commitment, and is often enhanced by working with one or a few specific teachers for periods of time. So how can the yogi who loves travel, or does a lot of it for professional reasons, maintain a solid practice?
If you do have some travel plans in either the near or distant future, here are a few tips that can help you stay on track with your health and your practice when on the road.
1) You can pretty much practice on any surface if you have the right accessory OR the right attitude :)
- Practicing on the beach is definitely dreamy, but can actually prove technically difficult, as you sink and slip into the wet sand or struggle to maintain balanced on the lumpy curves of dry sand. There is also the issue of wet sandy hands as you raise them above your head with each asana, often dribbling sand onto your face and in your hair...not so awesome. A beach practice definitely goes in the "right attitude" category. But with the influx of positive ions from the ocean and the natural elements infusing your practice with more energy, a beach yoga practice is definitely recommended despite the modifications you might have to create!
- For more rough surfaces like concrete or packed dirt floors/trails, some key accessories can make or break a great practice. A true must have for a traveling yoga is a Travel Mat. Drishti sells the illustrious Manduka eKo Superlite Travel Mat that is super thin and lightweight, super grippy, AND folds up into a square without creasing, just in case a rolled mat doesn't cut it in your travel bag. This mat is well-priced, and SO worth it! You can also opt for a pair of Yoga Paws, which slip on your palms and feet and turn just about any surface into a sticky yoga mat!
2) If you cant do a full practice, just do a few key poses that you know you will benefit from most.
This can be determined easily by what hurts or feels tight, or by the poses that tend to give you the most release and ease in your normal practice. Five minutes of conscious movement and breath goes a long way...especially when the alternative is NO minutes of it :)
3) Online Yoga Classes are plentiful theses days and there is a chance that some of your favorite teachers have online classes available or DVDs that you can purchase before you leave.
We may be a bit biased, but one of the Drishti team's favorite teachers is the wonderful and rad owner of Drishti, Jenni Rawlings. Fun fact: most of us who work at Drishti were originally Jenni's yoga students! The great news for traveling yogis is that she has a bunch of online classes available now that are super easy to access via her website. Her classes are powerful and graceful, perfect for travel, and very affordable. You can buy individual classes, or a four pack series. Check out her website to learn more about her classes.
4) There is probably a local yoga studio somewhere in the town your are in - if you are near civilization!
Hop online or in the spirit of exploration, start meeting people and asking around wherever you are about the yoga community and any classes or studios in the area. Chances are you will find people to practice with in almost any location - yoga is pretty much a global phenomenon at this point.
5) Bring a mat strap or mat bag along.
If you have your mat with you, you'll want to be able to easily schlep your mat to more distant places if the nearest flat or quiet spot requires a bit of a trek from your camp or hotel. Our fav is the Yoga Sak, which is a yoga mat carrier + day pack travel bag all in one!
6) You can almost always find enough space in your hotel room or sleeping quarters to move a little! All you need is a few square feet! You deserve a healthy happy body, so get creative and make it happen!
7) Include your travel buddy in the yoga fun. Why not enlist your travel partner in a little partner yoga - it keeps both of you at your best! Partner yoga is great because rather than a mat or a yoga studio, all you really need is your partner :)
8) If nothing else, take ONE big deep breath, find a smile and bring to your mind's eye just ONE thing that you are grateful for and brings you joy.