Yoga Travel Tips: How to Take Your Practice on the Road
Whether you're travelling for work or fun, it’s challenging to maintain the yoga routines that keep you feeling good at home when you’re on the road. It’s not that big a deal to miss class when you take off for a weekend here and there, but if you’re gone for longer, your body will start to crave yoga. Building some practice time into your itinerary is an ideal way to take a break from all the external stimulation that new settings bring and reset your body and mind so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Business or Pleasure?
The best type of yoga to do depends a lot on how you’re spending your days. If you’re sitting in a conference hall or in meetings, try to do a little stretching beforehand to loosen up. When you’re tired of socialising and need time to absorb what you’ve learned, slip out to an evening class for a change of scenery and to unwind. Business travellers often feel like they don’t get a chance to experience much about the cities they visit; a local yoga class can change that.
When you’re a sightseer with a busy agenda, stretch out your aching back and shoulders in the morning, then rest your tired feet with Legs-up-the-Wall at the end of the day. When exploring a new city at a more leisurely pace, put a yoga class on your schedule between morning café lounging and afternoon shopping.
Home (Away From Home) Practice
If you already have an established home practice, stay in the habit by unrolling your mat in your hotel room, out on the balcony, or poolside on a terrace surrounded by tropical foliage (rough life!). Bring your own lightweight travel mat, stretchy clothing, and home practice methodology. If you’ve been sitting in a car or on a plane for long hours, hamstring stretches and hip openers are going to feel really good.
When you’re battling jet lag, get moving in the morning to signal your body that it’s time to start the day. If possible, go outside in the sunshine to help your circadian rhythms adjust to the new time zone. Covering a long distance in a relatively short amount of time can leave you feeling unsettled and disoriented. Grounding standing and seated poses help you restabilise.
If you’re new to home practice, you may find it useful to follow video classes. There are lots of online resources and apps that make it easy to take great classes with you wherever you go. Try to download what you need ahead of time in case of spotty or expensive internet connections.
Even if you only have 10 or 20 minutes, it’s worth it to get on your mat to keep your practice going. Travel can be physically and mentally demanding, so you need to take care of yourself along the way. However, remember to prioritise the unique experiences your trip serves up. Stay flexible in your plans so you can take advantage of every opportunity to see or do something new.
When you have more time, taking classes at a neighbourhood yoga studio is a fun way to get a glimpse at how the locals live. It’s also fascinating to see how yoga instruction varies in different parts of the world. If you’re comfortable with the Sanskrit names of poses or you have a pretty established practice, you may want to even try classes in a foreign language.
Try to look up yoga studios near your accommodations before you go so you know when classes are and roughly how to get there. If you’re active on social media, put out a call for recommendations and your yoga friends will happily tell you their favourite studios wherever your destination may be.
Yoga studios are also great places to meet nice people who will be happy to share tips about under-the-radar restaurants, secret beaches, the best smoothies, and other insider info that take your experience beyond the touristy spots. On the most memorable trips, you catch a taste of what life is like somewhere else, furthering the feeling that we’re all connected.
Liv’s Carry On Tips
- Travel in your yoga clothing and you won’t have to pack them. Soft stretchy clothes are the most comfortable for long-haul flights anyway.
- Carry on your yoga mat bag with a few essentials (extra underwear, toothbrush) tucked inside in case of a checked luggage delay.