Shut Up I’m Trying To Find My Zen: 5 Best Yoga Travel Tips
Yoga while travelling seems like a no-brainer. We imagine doing yoga on a secluded beach, pranayama on an isolated mountaintop and meditation beside a serene waterfall. Magical moments like these can definitely happen but for many travellers the reality can be quite different. It is sometimes hard to find a calm and quiet place while on the road. What about our mat and keeping it clean-ish. Here are my best tips for Yoga on the road:
1. Crowded House:
Yes, they were a great 80’s band but I’m talking about hostel life and other shared accommodation. When the only free space is a sliver of floor between six bunks that is cluttered with backpacks and hiking boots what can you do? Even if you managed to shove everything out of the way, it might be a bit socially awkward doing the downward dog with 11 other people double-deckered gawking at you. Not every location has a safe outdoor place, especially for solo-women travellers. Never fret, some hostels seem to have times of day where everyone is out sightseeing. That’s your chance to grab the floor and go for it. A better option, but one that takes some discipline, is to be the early bird. A lot of hostels have a common area with at least enough space for a yoga mat. Try time it so that the partiers have already come home but the go-getters aren’t up yet. I find 6-7AM usually works well.
2. The Postage Stamp Room:
It is great when we do get a private room but sometimes you can touch all four walls from your bed and there is barely enough room for the door to open. What then? Well, the same rules apply as above for trying to find a common space with little traffic. Another thing is you can modify your movements, depending on how hard or soft your mattress is, and just do yoga on the bed. Some hotels and hostels have rooftop decks with views that take your breath away. In my experience they are often empty. Use them.
3. It’s a Circus In Here:
Noise and interruptions can be frustrating when you are trying to find inner-peace in a shared space, especially if you are used to having some control over your surroundings. Sometimes, even when we find a private place, it can be hard to concentrate with the cacophony taking place around us. I’m lucky, having spent years living and working in hectic environments, I have mastered the art of tuning out. My advice is to try relax and let it go. Try not to concentrate on what’s going on around you. If that’s too much to ask, try earphones and play something that soothes you.
4. The Mat Matter:
Some travellers skip the mat and just use the ground or towels. Others spend hundreds of dollars on expensive travel mats. Whatever floats your boat… I travel with my well-worn four dollar mat that I got in India and a three dollar Rajasthani yoga mat cover. I strap it to the side of my backpack and away we go. It does get dirty though. I know some travellers make great concoctions to clean their mats on the go. I have limited space and limited liquids that I can bring. I tend to wipe it down with a damp towel and then give it a second wipe with diluted tea tree oil. Lastly I sprinkle a few drops of essential oil to keep it smelling fresh.
5. Be Flexible:
On a physical level flexibility is an important part of our yoga practice but emotionally it is also essential, especially when we are on the road. You may have a day where your practice looks like laying on a top bunk with your eyes closed while drunk people burp the alphabet and you are simply trying to find your happy place. Other days you may be cramped on a local bus for 19 hours and your practice is to prevent your ankles from swelling to the size of pumpkins. But then you get those epic mountaintop days. No matter what your travels bring, don’t give up and keep a sense of humor. You got this...