I travel (a lot), and keeping up a yoga practice when I am abroad is hard. Hell, a lot of time keeping up a yoga practice at home can sometimes feel like a serious challenge!
But over time I have come to realise its vital for me. If I don't make time every day for even a short practice I start to unravel. I get unhappy, stiff, and anxious. Not what I want to add to the mix when I am away.
So here is how I take my practice on the road (or the plane). And this is really what I do, I am in Bermuda at the moment and have been steadily converting our bedroom into a makeshift yoga space, the housekeeping staff are a little confused and my boyfriend keeps tripping over the piles of pillows I use for restorative but it works for me :)
> Start before you leave. Set an intention to dedicate some time everyday for your practice. By setting the intention before you depart it will sit more deeply within you, and is less likely to be lost in the excitement of your new environment
> Take some time on the plane for gentle relaxing breathing exercises - I love to do the extended exhalation.
> When you arrive, get grounded - if possible let your bare feet touch the ground and connect back to the earth.
> Legs up the wall is a great way to revive after a long flight, or a short one. In fact I am hard pressed to think of any situation that legs up the wall doesn't make me feel good!
> A decent travel mat makes all the difference. Something that folds up small, sticks to a carpet, and doesn't slip even if I am a little hot and sweaty in the heat :)
> Accept that your practice might not be what you are used to. You probably won't have candles, incense, favourite music, etc. I used to get really angry that's I wasn't able to make the space exactly how I wanted it to be. The room was messy and I wanted a soothing sanctuary. The travel mat wasn't thick enough. And goddamnit how am I supposed to get spiritual without my perfect playlist! Then I realised how precious I was being - 'nuff said. I got over it and then got on with it
> Make use of what you can. A rolled up up towel can double as a bolster. A blanket can help protect your knees on a hard floor. Chairs and beds can be moved to make the space feel more accommodating. And the belt from a bathrobe can be used as a yoga strap. Be creative!
> If you don't have a home practice and are not sure how to work out your own sequences then there are great classes online. Yoga Journal has some fab free ones.
> Your usual practice might not be right for you when you are away from home. Give yourself what you need. Listen to your body and really try to work out if you need something dynamic or if a more relaxing gentle practice would actually feel better.
> Try not to beat yourself up if you can't replicate your usual full practice. 2 hours of vinyasa flow with specialist props is impractical, but perhaps 15 minutes of meditation or 30 minutes of asana might be manageable.
> Be grateful for the practices you do manage. You are on away from home and you are honouring yourself enough to make time for yoga. That's amazing! Be proud of yourself, and grateful to yourself and anyone you are with who has enabled you to get on your mat.
> And finally, if you can get out of your room take the chance. Sun salutes on the sand, or meditating outside at sunrise can be beautiful. Practicing outside can be liberating and fun - even if you do get sand in your hair!
Safe travels xx