The Traveling Yogis’ Way
Noted by the Sutra 1.14, Patanjali, “Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.” Becoming sincerely devoted to our practice, we establish roots for a solid dedicated foundation of self-discipline, allowing us to reap all the benefits of yoga and meditation.
That’s why upon traveling, we must take precautions to ensure that our practice remains firmly grounded. Straying away for too long can upset our balance and cause you to become disoriented. Our practice has become a necessity for our well-being.
What is the best way to maintain your practice while traveling? Depending on the length of your trip, the yogis’ way of traveling can be simplified even when trying to mix in your practice with a long list of events. The key is to maintain balance.
Read. Travel. Repeat.
To Yoga or Not To Yoga. ...that is the question.
Your first decision is based on your trip length, activities you plan to partake in, and the available time outside of those events.
If your trip is no longer than a weekend, or long weekend, maybe think of taking this time to practice the other aspects of yoga. Make it a weekend of reflection, gratitude, and recharging. Journal in self-study or svadhyaya and find contentment, or santosha, in the little aspects of your time. Engage your third eye and explore your state of awareness. Maintain your sadhana, your daily spiritual practice in which you connect with your authentic self (between 4-7 AM is the time when your mind is the most quiet and meditation is easy).
"The greatest reward of doing sadhana is that the person becomes incapable of being defeated. Sadhana is a self-victory and it is a victory over time and space. Getting up is a victory over time, and doing it is a victory over space."
Breaking the routine you have created can be disrupting to your balance and progression. As many others will advise, any practice is better than no practice, even in small moments taken out of your day. You’ll still need your alone time if anything, so anything you can do to stretch out the body and maintain that balance I say go for it!
Pack for your Practice.
This part of the process is easy and creative. You already know to wear yoga clothes on the plane or car ride, or even choose to practice in your pajamas. Getting creative with yoga props by using towels, rope straps, and other hotel/household items make your journey even easier.
Can’t go anywhere without the special yoga mat you have bonded to? That’s ok, you can find a yoga mat bag that can double as your carry on, giving you the ability to pack additional items in extra pockets and space. This way you can still bring your purse ;).
If you don’t absolutely HAVE to bring your regular yoga mat, I recommend either using a light-weight travel mat or even a yoga towel (with grips). Easy to pack in your suitcase, travel mats and towels provide a surface at the very least to practice on, without adding too much weight to your luggage.
“Consider buying a travel mat that is specifically made to be folded to fit in the smallest carry-on. It won’t provide much cushion, but it will protect you from dirty surfaces and give your hands and feet something to grip.”
Be Realistic. For Real.
Let’s be real. Don’t tell yourself you are going to set aside an hour a day to practice if you know in the back of your head that that’s probably not going to happen. Be realistic with yourself and make commitments that you can handle. Even just practicing a few key poses here and there, or doing some morning stretches/bed yoga to maintain the sense of balance. Scale your yoga for travel.
Restorative yoga before bed can aid in conquering the new sleeping environment. Take yourself through a couple flows in between plans while possibly changing outfits or stopping for a short break. Take advantage of every free moment to give back to your mind, body, and spirit.
“I let my goals slip away and end up feeling guilty about not maintain things that are truly important to me, that in my everyday life are manageable and accessible.”
-Zuzu Perkal, Wanderlust
Practicing in public places can be intimidating, but maybe you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time in these places waiting for transportation.
Yoga can reverse the damage done to your body from traveling. Get out those kinks from sleeping upright with your neck in some weird angle. Finding a corner of the airport terminal and moving through a few stretches will be more worth it than any fears associated.
Arriving at your destination, take yoga outside or to unexpected places. Balcony yoga. Rooftop yoga. Poolside yoga. Beach yoga. Allow others to acknowledge the importance of yoga and to even join in with you to feel just as good.
“Practicing in a nontraditional environment is a great exercise to see how present you can be in your body despite all the distractions”.
Make Your Time Painless.
Simple, do your research beforehand. Look up local classes, download flows, or subscribe to an online streaming app. No need to add additional stress to your trip.
Ragdoll it out and compress the spine whenever you have a few minutes. Simple neck stretches, shoulder rolls and ankle-over-knee stretches in waiting areas, airports, or in transit are ways to incorporate your practice into those small moments.
Yoga is meant to improve your health and relieve stress, so apply it to your trip as such.
Stay in Tune with Your Center.
Tapping back into yourself can eliminate stress and the feeling of disorientation. Stay present. Create a yoga playlist for breathe work. Reconnect with yourself and the energy you feel on your mat.
When things get stressful, if at all, take a break. Even a bathroom break… to just breathe. To just feel your feet on the ground. To just close your eyes for a minute and reconnect internally to that inner peace you have created.
Water the right seeds in your mind. Tend to those plants, and weed the garden when necessary.