Have you seen the Facebook posts of people practising yoga in exotic places with scenic back drops?
You may have seen a photo of someone nailing their headstand on the beach with the setting sun reflecting off of crystal clear water, or another of the scorpion pose on a mountain peak with nothing but blue sky as a backdrop.
Is travel simply a means of obtaining beautiful photos for bragging rights across social media or can it have a positive effect on our yoga practice?
We can tap into a deeper source while we travel.
Without travel, I would never have discovered my love for yoga or met some of the best and most influential yoga teachers who continue to guide me to this day. I would not have had the opportunity to experience so many different styles of yoga and meditation.
A while back, I quit my job as an electrician in Australia and chose to travel for three months. I had a feeling that something was missing.
It was great to visit historic sights and spend a few days on a tropical beach, but I felt that I needed something to focus on, something to help connect me to myself and to the place I was visiting.
It wasn’t long before I was searching for an Ashram to spend the night. Luxurious accommodation, meals and tours became unfulfilling, and the holiday quickly changed. It became a journey to find and learn from experienced yoga teachers.
My yoga practice and my travels began to go hand in hand, catapulting me into new levels of awareness and growth.
There are people out there on a quest to take an awe-inspiring yoga photo to claim social media acclaim, but travel opened me up to much more than that. It gave me the chance to strengthen my practice and deepen my connection to self and to my purpose and passion.
Something as simple as enjoying a gentle personal practice on a beach, with Mother Nature as your only companion, can be both humbling and inspiring.
Here is how travel deepens my yoga practice.
It refreshes and rejuvenates my yoga practice.
Life, work, diet and relationships can fall into a rut. So can yoga practice. It is easy to stay with the same teacher or class day in and day out, working through the same poses and sequences. Before you know it, your yoga practice is starting to suffer and becomes a chore instead of nourishing your soul.
Travel is one of the most effective ways to blast we can blast out of our daily routine.
A new place with new faces and new energy can be the change you need to motivate you and bring enjoyment back to your practice.
It gets me out of my comfort zone.
If I had stayed with the same teacher, I would never have had the chance to experience the traditional Indian style of Iyengar yoga at Shiva Yoga Peeth, the invigorating and disciplined Ashtanga yoga practice at Ashtanga Yoga Bali or the traditional Buddhist mediations and chanting of Thailand at Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Center.
It connects me with like-minded people.
If you drop into any yoga studio in Thailand, Bali or other yoga hot spot, chances are you’ll connect with people who are on the same path as you. You may make new friends.
Yoga has a special way of bringing people together.
There is often a community vibe where people can hang out after class.
My favorite place for this is Freedom yoga in Chiang Mai. This place is a double storey yoga studio converted from an old teak wood traditional Thai house. Upstairs, quality yoga classes run each day and downstairs is a healthy vegan café and juice bar.
It helps me to take things less seriously.
Yoga is a complex practice that takes time, patience and plenty of dedication.
It is an ancient spiritual practice that keeps us learning for our entire life.
It should be enjoyable as we learn and grow. Anything that becomes too serious can weigh us down. It aims to keep you content, balanced and clear minded.
You can certainly continue to enjoy and improve your practice at home, but there is an excitement that accompanies travel.
Everything is new, fresh and exciting!
The combination of travel and yoga broadens your horizons, takes you out of your comfort zone, and takes you down a deep path of personal transformation.
When the two merge together, they become a powerful tool that feeds and refreshes your soul.
It is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
Author: Adam Domine
Photo: Patrick Savalle/ Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson