When I’m home in San Francisco, I regularly go to class at Yoga Tree. But when I’m on the road, whether it’s for work or pleasure, it takes extra effort to practice yoga while traveling. I just came back from a trip to France, and while I didn’t practice as much as I wanted to, the times I did were like little jewels in my trip. Here are a few tips for keeping up your yoga practice while traveling.
Bring a travel mat
A few years ago, I purchased a travel yoga mat. It folds up into the size of a large book, and only weighs a few pounds. Seeing it in my suitcase is a reminder to practice yoga while traveling, and makes practice more enjoyable. It gives me the same feeling stepping on my mat in a yoga class does – like coming home. It also is a little guilt trip to practice – I carried the darn thing, I’d better use it.
Bring a class with you
If you have a regular home practice, continuing to practice yoga while traveling should be easy. But some of us need the structure or feeling of community to motivate our practice. Bring a yoga DVD, download a video or audio class (YogaDownload is one of my favorites, with both audio and video classes of varying length, from 20 minutes to 90), or stream a You Tube video. I find that I have a more well-rounded and longer practice when I’m following someone else’s direction when I’m exhausted from traveling.
Practice in a new environment
Take advantage of being in a new place and do your yoga practice in a new environment. I have found that it has brought me a deeper connection to the place I am in by practicing. The weekend I spent in a Rwandan hilltop forest was amazing, but what I think about most is my sunrise yoga I did while looking down on the forest below. While in Provence on this latest trip, I practiced on the roof with a 360 degree view of the town around me.
I will also bust out my travel yoga mat in the airport and do a mini-practice while waiting for a flight. I get strange looks, but I know they’re really jealous.
Be a yoga-tourist
Treat your yoga practice as you would one of your passions. If you’re traveling to a new place and love art, you would look up museums; music-lovers look up local venues. When I travel to a new place, I immediately look up yoga studios to see what’s there, and try to make at least one class. It’s a fun way to feel
like a local when you’re really a tourist. Who knows, you might make a local friend and it could change your whole travel experience.
Also check meet-up groups for low-cost classes. In Paris, I found a 5 Euro outdoor yoga class in the gardens in front of the Louvre. I enjoyed a gentle practice in an amazing environment.
Do you have any tricks for keeping up your yoga practice while traveling? Share in the comments below!