When you hear the word “yoga,” probably the first thing that comes into your mind is an old man, sitting cross-legged with closed eyes, focusing on his breath.
Am I right? Actually, this was my perception of yoga some years ago. I thought that it was an old-age thing to calm my mind.
But when I accidentally came across this practice, I realized that I was totally wrong. It is a physical and mental exercise to improve concentration; it’s a tool for a total transformation. One school of thought defines yoga as “an approach to training your mind, body, and soul.”
The meaning of yoga could be different for different people, but the only thing that’s certain is the benefits of yoga. Some of the benefits include a reduction in anxiety and depression, better health, flexibility, self-discipline, and more control over our thoughts—especially the negative ones, amongst a host of other benefits.
And quite similar to yoga, solo traveling, too, has a positive impact on our lives. Building our perspective, having improved mental health, gaining the much-needed “me” time, and feeling a great sense of self-reliance are some of the benefits of traveling with oneself.
Both Solo Travel and Yoga are a Journey Within
Solo travelers take two journeys simultaneously: one to the destination where they are heading and one inside themselves. When we do not have a constant companion with us in our journey, our focus shifts to the destination and our own selves.
The intricacies of where we are, the people we meet, the conversations we have with them, and the culture exchange—whatever we get during the journey, stays with us for a long time.
That said, solo travelers create a personal connection with the destination and with themselves. This personal connection leads to self-reflection and a better understanding of how they perceive things as an individual.
Yoga is similar in many ways. It’s an experience that we have with ourselves. The responses of our bodies, our thoughts, our breath, and our consciousness are unfiltered and organic—without the interference of our minds and surroundings.
And this makes us understand ourselves in a better way. The journey of self-discovery through traveling and yoga is quite similar in nature.
Appreciation and Patience: Lessons of Solo Travel and Yoga
Imagine taking a journey all by yourself to an unknown and unfamiliar land, not knowing what’s in store for you—maybe it’s good, bad, or a mix of both. Traveling solo prepares us to deal with the different social situations, people, lifestyles, circumstances, and natural calamities that we encounter; it teaches us to become more patient toward uncertainties and to appreciate the beauty of the journey we experience.
In the same way, yoga also teaches us to become more patient in our practice and to appreciate our daily achievements, which give birth to our calmness and stability.
Solo Travel and Yoga Offer the Much-Needed “Me Time”
As we already know now, solo travel is more about “me” than a group of friends or a couple or family. The experiences we get, the conversations we have, the problems we face, the solutions we find, the new places we discover, the souvenirs we buy, the pictures we take—each of them reflects a little of our own selves. It is not an escape; it is time to revitalize ourselves.
Rita Golden Gelman, in Tales of a Female Nomad, states:
“My spirit gets nourished in faraway places. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a biological need, perhaps a biological flaw, that compels me to seek the excitement and challenge that comes of being in a place where nobody knows me.”
In the same spirit, yoga is the time away from the outside and time for the “inside.” Time with our breath—how we let it flow and not get absorbed with the usual everyday drudgeries but instead having a higher purpose, such as inner peace or anything that is impossible to attain without the “me time.”
Solo Travel and Yoga Help Address Stress and Anxiety
It’s not wrong to say that increased mental health problems have become more like an epidemic in the present time. The rising usage of digital media, an overdose of information, and high levels of phone usage are some of the major factors that trigger our stress and anxiety. In this world of stress, we should take some time to explore ourselves.
The concept of solo travel and yoga is parallelly emerging as the solution to that digital stress.
Solo Travel and Yoga Guide us Away from Rampant Materialism
Traveling solo is more about experiences and less about “things.” It is also about saving up, cutting off unnecessary expenditure for perfumes and purses, and taking a short weekend trip to end up talking to strangers who are worthy of diary conversations.
Similarly, with yoga, as one achieves more control over their thoughts and builds mindfulness, they realize that the accumulation of stuff is not the answer.
Solo Travel and Yoga Make us More Creative
You must be wondering how traveling solo leads us to be more creative. Well, there is an especially interesting connection. When we are outside our comfort zone and in unfamiliar surroundings, our mind naturally works harder to get us into a comfortable position, so we learn to accommodate and solve problems.
Similarly, when we move from one posture to another, blood circulates faster through our veins and helps our mind to function better than before. A kind of chemical change happens that makes us, well, more creative amongst a lot of other things.
Yoga, likewise, cleanses our mind of the adverse thoughts, letting us be more happy and positive, and eventually nurtures our creative skills.
Nowadays, when everyone is running after achieving success and wealth, how about being a little different and concentrate on our own well-being? Who knows…we might just end up inspiring others to travel solo and practice yoga.