Globe trotting is awesome – it can be super fun and exciting to visit new places and meet new people – but it can also put a bit of a cramp in your healthy lifestyle. Especially when it comes to your yoga practice. While you may not be able to take your favorite yoga teacher with you on the road, that does not mean that you have to give up your practice all together.
Here are my top five ways to take your yoga on the road with you.
Hotel Room Awareness Practice
As we all know, hotel rooms can leave much to be desired in the way of space. You may think that because you are in a small, cramped room that rolling out your mat and getting a good practice in is impossible, but I feel that this lack of space can actually be a good thing for your practice!
When you have confined parameters in which to practice, you are going to be cultivating two very important tools in your practice – spatial/body awareness and creativity. While you practice in your small room, you will need to be acutely aware of where all your limbs are in space, which is something that many of us never really take the time to hone in on. This lack of space is actually a great tool for developing a better awareness of your body.
When you don’t have all the room you are used to, you are also going to have to dig deep into your bag of yoga tricks in order to create a sequence. I suggest lots of Sun Salutations, Warrior poses, Triangles and if you are up for it headstands/forearm stands/handstands at the wall! Use your small space to make you a better yogi.
One-Week Studio Passes
My second favorite thing to do when I am in a new city for a few days is to check out the ‘new student’ passes offered by the studios in the area I am staying in. Most studios offer a one-time deal for new students as a way of getting them in the door and practicing.
Most of the time you can get a one or two week pass for unlimited classes – which is amazing if you are going to be there for a few days. The price of the pass is usually no more than what you would pay for 2-3 drop in classes, so if you are going to be in town for several days, you will easily get your moneys worth. You will get the greatest bang for your buck with these passes, and have the flexibility to go to whatever classes fit your schedule.
Find A Class On Youtube
If you do not have the time in your schedule to get to a studio class, and if you are not feeling confident in your ability to create a class for yourself, then Youtube is your best friend. There are thousands of free classes online, everything from yin yoga to power flow, all of them accessible as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection.
These classes are portable, free and can be done whenever you have the time to do them. I highly recommend classes by Tara Styles, but there are so many options that I also encourage you to experiment with different teachers and styles until you find what you like best.
Bed Time Yoga
If your travel days are packed to the gills and getting in a proper mat practice just is not in the cards for you, doing some stretches on your bed before going to sleep can feel really nice. I always say to drop any ‘all or nothing’ thinking at the door when it comes to your yoga practice, so if you are the kind of person that would sooner do nothing if you cannot do your full 90 minute power flow class, know that you are going to reap benefits from 5-10 minutes of stretching that you would not reap if you simply skipped practice all together! Some is always better than none.
So get your P.J’s on and hop up on your bed, sit up tall and do a few spinal twists, lie flat on your belly and do a few copra stretches, and finish with a forward bend or two. This little routine will help you fall asleep, will help to ease tight and sore muscles that can come from travelling and will help you feel freshened up and back in your body.
Quiet Breath In The Morning And At Night
Lastly, if an asana practice is not something you feel you can manage with your schedule and or energy levels, then spending just 5 minutes in the morning and at night sitting quietly focusing on your breathing is a great way to keep your yoga practice with you, even though it may not look the way it does when you are at home.
Simply find a comfortable position, set a timer for 5 minutes, and consciously send all of your attention and awareness to your breath. See if you can extend your inhales and exhales as you progress though your time here. This practice will help you stay more grounded and focused throughout your day, and will help you to unwind and drift off easily into dream land at the end of your work day. Tuning into your breath and body is what the yoga practice is all about, so this breathing practice still counts as ‘yoga.’
I always like to recommend that those who travel a lot invest in a travel mat! These mats are lighter, thinner and designed to be toted along with you as you adventure to wherever you are going. They are great for hotel room practices and away from home studio practices.
What are some of your favorite ways to take your practice with you on the road? Do you have any tips or tricks that I missed here?