Want to keep up your yoga while traveling?
Yoga lovers do not despair. There is no reason to eschew your practice when traveling!
In fact, maintaining a practice on the road can be a great way to meet people and learn more yoga. It and if funds permit travel allows you to experience classes in amazing and unexpected places.
However, even if you’re not sure of the next time you’ll see an “authentic” yoga mat, you don’t have to quit your practice or lug around fancy gear to which you might have been accustomed at home to get your yoga on while traveling.
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Traveling Yoga: Tips for Yoga on the Go
Here are five travel tips for any yogi, be they a beginner or an expert, to maintain a solid yoga practice on the road.
One Pair of Yoga Pants is All You Need
Different people like to wear different kinds of clothing for yoga, but the consensus seems to be that they all choose comfortable clothing, That said, investing in a pair of decent, workout capris saves you valuable packing space. Such pants can be washed quickly anywhere, will dry speedily and, as an added bonus, you can grab a pair from a discount store before heading abroad; no need for fancy names, just find something that fits and in which you will be comfortable.
Forget packing yoga straps, blocks, and any bulky items. If you use a strap for stretches, a scarf or a knee-length sock will assist with any poses you can’t quite manage. To substitute a block, try a hiking boot or a running shoe, sole side down, which will provide a steady surface for your hand.
And when all else fails, look around your hostel – a heavy book can help with stability, a rolled-up blanket can serve as a meditation cushion and a pillow can be used to help achieve more restorative poses. Just use your imagination – and save room in your pack.
Leave the Mat at Home
Disclaimer – I’m not saying it’s a great idea to practice without any surface between you and the floor, yet if you’re confident enough in your stability, by all means, go for it.
Basically, a yoga mat provides a surface to help you grip. I have found that it’s also a bit nicer than a gross carpet, but there are some days when my hands even slip on my mat. So, it’s not essential for yoga. What is essential is a buffer between you and the floor, if you so choose.
Since, to me, it seems slightly batty to pack a yoga mat, you can certainly find alternative sources of surface literally anywhere. For instance, a large towel – I have done this in hotel rooms simply to not have my face on the floor – a sheet, and, my personal favorite, your bedroll or camping mat. The key here is being flexible (pun intended) and just going with the flow.
And, honestly, there’s nothing like just doing yoga on the grass or the warm sand if that’s where you find yourself. Barrier not necessary.
Portable Yoga Classes are Great for Travelers
Chances are if you’re traveling on a budget, paying for yoga classes around the world can be an extraneous but potentially beneficial expense. Regular practitioners, however, may only be able to afford this once in a while.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of podcasts outlining classes and they fit neatly onto whatever phone or tablet you choose to bring. Just searching for “yoga class” returns a bunch of classes to suit different practice types and personalities, and if you download a ton of episodes before departure and refresh while on local wifi, you’ll have a class, quite literally, at your fingertips anytime and anywhere, which can be essential for practicing yoga when traveling.
Don’t Be Shy
If you want to connect or practice with other yogis to have that class-like experience, speak up! The beauty of travel is that you never know who you are going to meet; someone might be a yoga teacher and lead a group class at your hostel. Another person might have a friend in another city who can host you and introduce you to another teacher, studio or a place to stay – – or even find work for some time.
And you might even learn a bit more about yourself and about your practice from talking to others, practicing with others, and always keeping an open mind.
Have you practiced yoga while traveling? What was your experience? Let us know!
Miriam Lamey is a New York-based writing, running, yoga practitioner, who believes in balance and embracing the moment. One day, she wants to visit Barcelona, Brittany, and Bali, perhaps in that order. She blogs at Within and Without and is on Twitter @mirseven.