Why Yoga and Travel Go Hand in Hand
These days, more and more people lead ‘global’ lives. Using planes, trains and automobiles (and still sometimes bicycles, or even our good old feet!), those fortunate enough amongst us have the great privilege of being able to journey to new places where we find new experiences and opportunities. For Kevin Hofer these experiences have helped him become the person he is today, but it is his Yoga practice that has helped him truly enjoy and appreciate each moment.
“Over the past few years, travelling the world has generously granted me gifts in the most beautiful, incomprehensible forms. These gifts cannot be instilled through storybooks, postcards, or movies, but through personal and visceral experience only. They have come in the forms of freedom, curiosity, relationships, cultural and sociological perspective, resilience, and trust, to name just a few, and are given to those who choose to step beyond their comfort zones in search of the unknown.
Travel took me in as a narrow-minded boy and showed me that the way I saw the world was really not the way of the world at all; in fact, I couldn’t have possibly even begun to understand the diversities of the world and its people because I had only experienced a tiny fraction of it. It was only when I was exposed to new cultures and new belief systems – first hand – that I began to realise I don’t really know much at all, which was surprisingly freeing in itself. I lose myself and find myself each time I travel to a new place, and the fragile dance of this is stimulating in a way that’s indescribable to me.
So how does yoga fit into travel? Yoga and travel, to me, are inseparable. They are both explorations of self – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Travelling can often be overwhelming for our senses – new cities, new people, new smells, new sounds – so what better time to have a practice that keeps us centred? A practice that gives us the state of mind to accept all the sensory downloads as they come, allowing us the freedom to truly enjoy each moment as we experience it?
Having said all that…
It can be difficult to keep a consistent asana (physical) yoga practice while on the road, but here are some suggestions I can give from my experience:
Bring a travel mat – Having a mat with you while you travel is a constant reminder – you will see it every day. Not only that, but having the ritual of stepping on to your mat each morning or evening can bring a sense of centeredness and home while you’re away.
Start off strong and dedicated – If you make practising a habit early on in your travels, it’ll be much easier to maintain as you go. The sooner you give it up, the harder it will become to get back into it.
Find new locations to practice in – Most likely, if you’re travelling around the world, you’ll stumble upon some stunning scenery. Some of my favourite times practicing yoga while traveling have been on a mountain top at sunrise or on a beach at sunset. There are so many opportunities for magical flows!
Bring sweat resistant clothes to practice in, because, well, sometimes when we travel, we don’t have access to laundry and we don’t want our excuse to be, “my clothes smell too bad to practice in”.
Spend a minimum of 10 minutes in breathing/meditation each morning – This might be my strongest piece of advice. I suggest this not only while travelling, but in everyday life no matter where you are. We need time to be quiet and listen – time to observe our thoughts – time to find our breath. This will help keep us cool when we miss the last train to Bangkok and we have to sleep at the station
If I have kids some day, my main advice to them will be to go out and see the world, meet the people, eat the food, swim the oceans, climb the mountains, dance the salsa, ride the motorbike, and do it all with a grateful heart because this world we live in is truly spectacular.
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”.”
Kevin is a soul searching, truth seeking, body movement enthusiast with a focus on inspiring others and being inspired. He went to school for photography and takes pictures for a living. Traveling is his biggest passion, and if he can successfully combine it with yoga and photography, he is blissed beyond comprehension. He believes life is good and that smiles could save the world.
You can find out more about Kevin and follow his travelling journey on his Instagram @kevindhofer