Most yogis have a natural sense of wanderlust, an attitude for adventure and feet that can’t quite stay in the same place for too long. Travel is a way for us to explore our practice through new perspectives and expand on our experiences off the mat.
Whether you have a regular self-practice, or you’re just in need of a stretch between international flights, yoga could be just the thing you need to centre while travelling.
Sitting for long periods of time can pose a serious health risk to your body. Joint pain and decreased blood flow is not the ideal way to start your next holiday. To make sure your body is ready for adventures the moment you get off the plane, practice these simple poses while you’re in the air…
Baby back bend
Come to sit at the edge of your chair. Place your hands directly behind your hips. Inhale as you expand from the chest. Take five deep breaths here with your gaze forward then slowly tilt your head back, pushing your throat forward. Remember to keep your shoulders away from your ears.
Simple spinal twist
Sit upright in your seat. Inhale as you twist to your right, bringing your left hand to your right knee, and your right hand directly behind your right hip. Engage your stomach muscles and, with every exhale, twist further to your right. After eight deep breaths, repeat on your left side.
Bring your mat with you
Make the commitment to your practice before you even get on the plane. By bringing along your yoga mat, you will be much more likely to prioritise your practice. Lay it out on your hotel floor before bed. This will serve as a simple visual reminder that your practice is ready for you when you are. If you travel often, I would suggest investing in a lightweight travel mat.
Be culturally aware
Make sure you are sensitive to the culture of the place you are visiting. Yoga tights and a sports bra may not be the most appropriate attire in your new surroundings. Western yoga practices are very different to Eastern traditions and, as a yogi, it is best to educate yourself so you may respect the practice in each destination you visit.
Best practice, of course, will depend on where you plan to lay out your mat. If you have booked into a private retreat or only plan to practice in the seclusion of a studio or hotel room, you will have more freedom in your attire. If you plan on practicing on any dirt-road that you come across, or in ashrams and religious places you pass, remember to be mindful of your etiquette on the mat.
Find your tribe
The best thing about yoga is that it is a global community. You can hop off a plane and find a community of yogis ready to practice with you. So do a bit of research before you head off, and find your tribe!
Practice letting go
Travelling can really take you out of your comfort zone. From unstable schedules, unfamiliar environments and unexpected turns, travelling does not always give us time and space to practice. If you missed a practice, let it go. If you can only squeeze in a sun salutation, let that be enough. Focus instead on other elements of yoga: mindful breathing, Pranayama or meditation.
Just breathe, be in the moment and enjoy exploring!
About the author…
Kimberly Kay is the Founding Omologist at Omology Yoga. A Sydney-based social enterprise, Omology offers ashtanga yoga classes to the community to fund education projects for women and girls around the world.
Having already worked with One Girl and UNICEF Australia, and with upcoming classes with Project Futures, Kim is dedicated to guiding each individual toward their union to the universal.