As a travelling yogini, I know all too well how planes, trains, delays, airport lounges, small hotel rooms and being constantly on the move can play havoc with your yoga practice.
Establishing a regular yoga practice is easy when you’re at home and in control of your daily routine, but travelling (whether for business or pleasure) has a habit of throwing you a little off track. So what better way to get back on and stay on track than taking yoga on the road with you?
Here are five ways you can make yoga your perfect travelling companion:
1. Go easy on yourself.
You may not be able to fit in your usual hour-long daily practice or three classes a week, but any yoga is better than none, right? Decide on a realistic and achievable time you can commit to your practice each day and stick to that no matter what.
Around 20 minutes a day or three times a week is an achievable goal and also enough to make a difference. This first small commitment in itself will help you to create a routine wherever you go and remain focused, grounded and blissfully aware as you take to the road.
2. Plan a simple, go-to yoga practice sequence or routine.
Have either noted down, committed to memory or even recorded somewhere, a few simple practice routines that you can always go to. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a usual self practice and are used to taking classes and only practicing under the guidance of your teacher.
Having some go-to practices will help you to be able to stick to a practice with very little effort and without having to “think” too much about what to do. Over time you will learn to “feel” exactly what your body needs, especially after hours spent travelling on planes, trains and automobiles!
3. Don’t make excuses.
No, you don’t need a mat to practice and yes, a hotel towel robe tie or scarf is just as good as a strap! Yoga doesn’t require any special equipment or even a lot of space, it simply needs you to show up and practice.
The great thing about yoga is that it can be done anywhere at any time, inside or out, in the city or on the beach, on a plane or on a train so there really is no excuse! Even in the smallest of spaces you can fit in standing poses such as Trikonasana, tree pose and Warrior Two.
In waiting lounges or in transit, you can perform some simple neck stretches, shoulder rolls and ankle-over-knee stretches. Too tired to practice? Then a few gentle Yin yoga poses when you reach your destination will help to release any built up tension and ensure a deep restful night’s sleep.
4. Remember that yoga practice is far more than just asana.
You can “do” yoga all day every day without even having to step foot on your mat. Meet delays with meditation, when things don’t quite go to plan, practice pranayama and take some deep, deep breaths.
Chant mantras when in transit and show compassion to every stressed out check-in person or fellow traveller that you meet! Use your travels as a way to deepen your yoga practice by working on something other than the asana, such as the yamas and niyamas or more bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion) – helping you to discover yogic peace within the travel chaos.
5. Check out a local class or incorporate a yoga retreat into your travel plans.
Nowadays yoga can be found just about anywhere, from the beach to the park, studios to community halls and of course there are retreats on offer just about anywhere and everywhere. Check ahead in the area you’ll be in for classes on offer and go give them a try.
At worst you’ll have done a yoga class (and that’s an awesome worst case scenario!) and at best you’ll learn something new or discover a great new teacher and community. A retreat gives you the chance to pause, immerse in your practice and then take all of that inspiration and everything you’ve learned with you as you continue on the road.
How do YOU maintain your yoga practice when you're travelling? Share your ideas below!