Whether it’s heading to the cottage for the weekend, going on a road trip, escaping to an exotic location or traveling for work, I enjoy incorporating my yoga practice into my journey.
The best part is that it can be so easy; I don’t need much to practice, and there’s no need to stress about the portability of my practice. Here are a few simple guidelines that help me bring yoga with me wherever I go:
1. Most Important: Let it be fun!
Don’t stress about practicing while on vacation but embrace the opportunity to explore yoga somewhere new and exciting.
I keep B.K.S. Iyengar’s wisdom front of mind: “This is what yoga teaches. When you and I meet together, we forget ourselves—our cultures and classes. There are no divisions and we talk mind to mind, soul to soul. We are no different in our deepest needs. We are all human.”
Doing yoga somewhere new reminds me of how similar we all really are.
I’ve met fellow yogis and yoginis on the road and immediately forged a yoga bond.
The last time I visited family in New Jersey, I discovered a great local studio, Dancing Foot Yoga. My aunt dropped me off for a class one evening and I was immediately welcomed into their community. The teacher introduced me to the class and made me feel at home. At the end of the practice, the students and teacher thanked me for coming and I even got a couple of sweaty hugs.
I feel much more inclined to practice when I have my “home space” with me. You don’t really need a mat to practice but it’s easy to bring along. Having it with you could be the motivation and visual reminder you need to get motivated.
You could also pick up a travel mat as a lighter option. I’ve found that most airlines let you bring it on the plane as a carry-on. It draws the attention of other yogis and it’s a great conversation starter.
I recently went to Jamaica for a long weekend getaway and brought my travel mat. After lounging in the sunshine on the beach all day, I would pull my mat out and practice on my balcony overlooking the ocean. I only did a short sequence, but it felt good to move (and helped to counter all those margaritas).
3. Not-So-Obvious Tip: Do Your Homework & Plan Ahead.
I recommend researching studios in the area you are visiting ahead of time and making a plan to try out a new teacher or style. It’s easy to find information and studio reviews online. Experiencing a new classroom setting can be enlightening—you might discover a whole new sequence or style that you love.
I often use the Passport to Prana site as a great resource for studio listings in major cities in North America. I’ve found that visiting a studio while traveling can bring a wonderful sense of comfort. Plus, having the opportunity to learn from gifted and accomplished teachers from around the globe is a real gift.
I was in New York City (a yoga haven full of “celebrity” teachers) not too long ago and attended classes taught by several world-renowned teachers, including Schuyler Grant and Elena Brower. It was a wonderful experience to check out their home studios and learn from some of the best without paying high workshop fees.
You could also bring yoga resources with you so you have an instructor on the go. These could include a yoga magazine with a sequence, a downloaded yoga podcast, a YouTube video, a yoga app, or a yoga book.
There are a lot of free resources available online and I often watch Sadie Nardini’s YouTube channel as she has a variety of class lengths for different levels.
I went to Haifa, Israel a couple of years ago and stayed with my friend’s grandmother. Since I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood and couldn’t find any local studios, I pulled my mat out in the spare bedroom. I flowed through my practice guided by a yoga podcast from Rusty Wells every morning. Years later, I had the opportunity to practice live with Rusty and I felt like I already knew him as a teacher.
4. Final Word: Just Do It!
This summer (and all seasons), you might choose to forget about the studios and the pre-designed routines and just pick a perfect outdoor spot and start moving. There are amazing places to practice everywhere you look; consider a dock, a park, or the beach. You can even Google outdoor yoga meet-ups and find some friends to share the space with.
Wherever you go this summer, go with all your heart. That’s where your yoga really lives.
Jacqueline is a Vancouverite transplanted in Toronto with a love of yoga, gluten-free goodies, painted toenails, public libraries, un-tucked hotel sheets, sunshine, proper grammar, baths, heart-opening back bends, men’s deodorant, flip-flops, and epic walks around the city. While managing a corporate job during the day and being a yoga teacher at night, she tries hard to balance both aspects of her life both on and off her mat. She attempts to travel to three new places a year and always brings her mat along on her adventures. She is a Go Yoga teacher and can be found on Twitter.
Editor: ShaMecha Simms