practicing yoga while traveling

the vinyasa of travel, on and off the mat

The first thing I notice when emerging from a plane and receiving my first breath of fresh air after being air born for 15 plus hours is the temperature. Especially the heat and the way it gently relaxes my dry skin and softens my pores. Sitting patiently waiting for my turn to stand, stretch and collect my bag from the over head compartment, my fingers tap impatiently waiting for the doors to open so everyone can weave their way out with their belongings. This flow happens organically with a few polite nods, groans and gestures.

Despite being seated and slightly cramped during the flight I still managed some forward bends while waiting for the loo and when seated I extend my legs up and rest them on the seat in front of me which does wonders for my hamstrings and gluteus plus some gentle spinal twisting and neck rolls are more then welcome.

The heat is so soothing, my tight tense muscles begin to transform as I venture forth out of the plane and welcome the Asian heat on my skin as it envelopes around me.

To arrive in a hot climate to teach yoga is a blessing, no cracking joints and creaking bones, the muscles relax and open very easily and the mentality of people is so much more relaxed and chilled out when the heat is high. So as a teacher it’s ok to take your time, invite in a few more breaths and then flow into the next Vinyasa.

One of the first things I remember learning from my inspiring teacher Shiva Rea was life is full of Vinyasas – everything has a beginning, a middle and a end and in between mini Vinyasas also. The flow of yoga and travel is so unique yet the same (Or ‘same same’ but different as they say in Thailand.) When we practice yoga we are present in our body and in each moment as we follow the breath wave, when we travel there is a constant intake of newness within each present moment just as with each breath.

Stepping out to explore the world with a yoga mat as your trusty companion is the beginning of a life changing Vinyasa. All the experiences shared, smiles exchanged and food consumed along the way are the smaller Vinyasas which are consistent and forever changing. Traveling with a yoga mat reminds me that I am supported every step of the way, i have a home wherever i go and i am able to nourish myself everyday.

To unroll your mat each morning can be challenging but to do this daily when traveling is a real test of your dedication. During travels your asana practice on the mat changes daily, sometimes you won’t have enough space in your room to actually unroll the mat so you might have to improvise and explore different postures on the bed or perhaps practice a few moves in the shower.

Sometimes the bus that takes you further on your journey is leaving early the next day which means you won’t have time to practice at all. When your space and your time is constantly challenged, it can be a great opportunity to explore practicing beyond your comfort zone and see how you can enjoy what you have to the best potential. You never know where this Vinyasa can lead you!

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