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You just established this amazing yoga practice and you are fully committed. Your schedule has been packed with yoga classes multiple days a week but you know a vacation is around the corner and you are worried you might lose your progress. Maybe you would like to enhance your trip with a bit of yoga. Or, you want to bring yoga on your trip to reduce travel stress.
There’s nothing like a calming asana practice to reset after a long flight. Traveling can be stressful. But yoga, breathing, and meditation can maintain peace of mind and help you stay in the flow.
Asana practice is not going to happen all on its own. Make choices before and during your trip to get your yoga in. If you’re reading this, you have a good start! I have used several of these tips myself. I know they work, if you commit. I don’t have a perfect record of practicing while on vacation, but I know it makes a difference when I do. It’s a worthwhile commitment, but requires some willpower and small bit of planning.
This is the first item on the list for a significant reason. There’s nothing more motivating to maintain your practice than having your mat. If you don’t use it, you’ll be kicking yourself later. Unroll it, step on it, and do your practice. No excuses.
It is possible to do yoga without a mat. If you forget it, or decide that there isn’t enough room in your luggage, you can probably get by with a towel. But, I don’t recommend that. A mat will serve as your dedicated unit for practice. This is crucial to the willpower aspect. When you see the mat, you are reminded to practice. It makes a huge difference!
I use the lightweight travel mat by Yoga Design Labs. Highly recommend.
Next, you can plan ahead to stay near a local studio in whatever city you are visiting. Experiencing different styles of yoga can enhance your practice as well as your worldview. A local class is a great way to learn about the culture of the area and expand your view of yoga. Dive into a bit of research and find a studio somewhere nearby.
To avoid surprises, you can search specifically for the type of yoga that you want to do. It’s nice to find a place that you feel “at home” when traveling to a new area. Culture shock is real. Visiting a yoga studio can feel like going home if you find the right place.
I have found several “home studios” through traveling, Yoga Pod in Vietnam being one of them! Yoga studios tend to be open-minded spaces full of welcoming people. There’s an international community in the yoga world. Meeting fellow yogis in your travels can enrich your travel experience too. Stay open to the possibility of new relationships and connections in your life. Check out a local studio wherever you are.
This next idea is a simple one, but it is effective. I love having a private space to lay my mat out. When you book a place with a built-in practice space, you eliminate the need to search elsewhere. All you need to maintain your practice is your mat and a little bit of space. No need to look for studios in advance or worry about transportation, schedules, etc.
Self-practice can be tough to maintain though, so it is important to adopt a mindset shift. Imagine you are taking private yoga classes from your balcony. Just pull up a youtube video on your phone and follow along.
You didn’t plan ahead, but you still want to devote time to your yoga. If you don’t have a terrace or balcony, there’s still a chance that there is a perfectly nice place nearby. Look for a beach or a pool, or even a lovely patch of grass. Take a walk around the neighborhood and look for a park or special viewpoint. Some hotels have gyms with dedicated areas for yoga.
I love practicing in nature, but if you’re in a city, that could be tough to manage. Rooftops are a good option. If you practice on the beach, I recommend bringing a towel in addition to your mat. Put the towel down first to keep your mat from getting too sandy. Where ever you decide to practice, stay nearby. If you have to commute at all, it becomes less likely that you’ll maintain a daily practice.
It is so easy to get swept up in your itinerary of the day that you forget to practice. Your normal routines go out the window and you’re trying new things everyday. My suggestion to counteract this is to build a temporary morning routine for your vacation.
There’s something special about starting the day with a few sun salutations that makes the rest of the day go so much smoother. I walk so much when I travel. Make sure to sprinkle plenty of gentle inversions into your practice to counteract the blood flow.
This 10 minute Wake up and Full Body Stretch is a dynamic blend of vinyasa and restorative poses. Yoga with Kassandra is my favorite youtube yoga teacher. I always recommend her videos! This particular one is perfect for a quick morning stretch before a day of adventure and action. Download it before bed. Set your alarm and commit. You got this!
One of my favorite ways to build a yoga streak is to join a photo challenge. Instagram photo challenges get a lot of heat from yogis on and off the social media platform. But, if used appropriately, an extra layer of commitment doesn’t harm anything. Use it as a tool to accomplish your personal goals. Ignore the haters and the voice in your head that says it’s lame.
I recommend choosing a challenge with poses within your normal practice. Vacations aren’t the time to test new difficult postures. Pick out a few simple postures that look nice in photos, such as Tree Pose, Dancer Pose, or a simple Seated Lotus. Don’t forget to warm up first! Take a daily photo of yourself in a yoga pose. Make the photos even more engaging by following the next tip.
If you’re traveling, chances are, you are going to be doing some sightseeing. Why take the same boring vacation photo over and over again like everyone else? You can make your vacation photos pop with yoga poses. Hike up to a viewpoint and have a mountaintop practice. You might need to download a video before you go, or make it up yourself. Get creative with your practice.
I suggest taking a mini-practice prior to starting any photoshoot. If your only practice for the day involves a pose in front of a cool statue, you have to make it count. Take at least five minutes aside to flow through some Sun Salutations. You won’t regret the warm up and your photos will turn out better because of it.
This is another great idea! You could plan your whole vacation around a yoga event like Yoga Journal Live or a Wanderlust Festival. Or, let’s assume your destination is already set. Could you squeeze yoga to the itinerary by trying something new?
Near the water? Paddleboard Yoga will be offered somewhere. Near a farm? Look for Goat Yoga! Once, I found an AcroJam when I went to Koh Phangan and had a blast. Sometimes you won’t know what is available until you get there. Be spontaneous! Get out of your comfort zone.
Last tip and one of the most solid, get your partner to practice with you. Even if your partner doesn’t normally practice yoga, a vacation is the perfect time to start. Practicing yoga together creates more peace in your relationships too. I was with my partner when I wrote the Golden Sun Meditation.
I feel fortunate that my travel partner is also into yoga. We keep each other in check when we travel. One of us keeps the yoga mat in the carry-on so we always have a mat to practice airport yoga. Sometimes we do a relaxing yoga session before bedtime. When your partner goes out to do yoga, you will be more likely to join, and vice versa.
With many studios being closed due to COVID, online yoga subscription platforms have been a saving grace. I recommend checking out YogaDownload because you’re easily able to download the videos and watch them offline.
So, there you have it.
Nine Ten tips to maintain your yoga practice while traveling. Use these tips to enhance your yoga practice and your travel experiences. I would love to follow along! Tag @moon.wandering or #moonwandering with all your wonderful travel yoga photos.
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Peace and Moon Blessings,