Traveling doesn’t mean we have to leave our yoga at home. Embracing a little bit of the yogi lifestyle wherever we go helps us overcome the inevitable obstacles that travel brings: compromised immunity, ungroundedness and stress.
These seven essential tips and must-haves help keep yogis grounded, balanced and bendy even when far away from the local yoga studio.
1. Embrace mini practices
Yogis on the go don’t always have time for long yoga sessions. Save the hour-long practices for home and instead embrace short mini sessions while traveling. A daily ten-minute practice benefits the body and mind much more than the rare long session.
When pinched for time, practice a few rounds of sun salutations to get the prana flowing, a twisting asana to keep the digestive fire burning brightly and a short shavasana to rejuvenate body and mind.
2. Travel with a stash of emergency yogi snacks
Travel can easily throw off good food habits. Carrying a small mix of dates and almonds guarantees there’s always a wholesome snack option. Both dates and almonds are nourishing and sattvic (pure)—perfect for yogis. They can even by crushed and mixed together with a few pinches of turmeric to up their immunity-boosting power.
3. Maintain immunity with triphala
Being on the go can wear down the best of us, but the ayurvedic herbal blend triphala keeps resistance strong. It’s packed with natural vitamin C and antioxidants that nourish and rejuvenate the body. Plus, triphala acts as a gentle detoxifier. It also helps to maintain regularity, which is especially important during travel, as the body can become prone to constipation.
It’s best to take triphala before bedtime. Either mix 1/2 teaspoon of triphala powder in very hot water and drink once it’s slightly cooled, or take two triphala capsules washed down with warm water.
4. Bring a yoga teacher on the road
As amazing as it would be to travel with a private yoga instructor who can design a well-rounded sequence and give alignment cues, it’s out of reach for most of us. But there is a good alternative. WorkoutLabs’ Yoga Cards include 51 illustrated yoga exercises that explain each pose step-by-step, plus modifications, breathing cues and visual alignment notes.
Toss the deck in your luggage and you have a yoga-teacher designed practice anywhere you go. Follow one of their five sequences or heed the body’s yoga cravings by making a customized practice. The cards have been systematically designed to take the guesswork out of creating safe and balanced sequences.
5. Stay grounded with sesame oil
A daily rub-down with sesame oil helps to keep the vata dosha (one of the body’s three energetic forces) under wraps. Ayurveda explains that the movement of travel increases vata, which can lead to stress, anxiety and vata issues like constipation. Sesame oil massage is one of the best antidotes.
Spend a few minutes each day gently massaging the whole body with warm sesame oil. When short on time, focus on the feet to control vata—especially before a flight or long road trip. Massaging the temples with a little sesame oil before bed calms the mind and promotes sleep.
6. Use the power of scent
Aromatic oils have a powerful effect on the body and can help to combat the physical and mental stresses of travel. Basil, black pepper, camphor, cardamom, cedar, cinnamon, ginger, jasmine, myrrh, orange and rose all have a calming effect on the vata dosha. Mix a few scents together for an even stronger therapeutic effect.
Dilute the essential oils in a grounding base oil like sesame. Use this for the daily self-massage, or rub some over the chest to benefit from aromatherapy throughout the day.
7. Practice yogic sleep
If sleep doesn’t come easily away from home, a few minutes of bedtime yoga nidra puts the mind into a calm, sleepy state. Yoga nidra, which translates as yogic sleep, is deeply relaxing. It can keep the mind from obsessing over sleeplessness on insomnia-ridden nights.
To practice yoga nidra, lie down on the bed in shavasana. Make the body heavy. Send the awareness throughout the body, beginning at the head and ending at the toes. Pause at each individual body part and consciously relax the area. Then work your way back up from toes to head and embrace sleep when it comes.
Author: Julie Bernier
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Images: courtesy of the author