With the silly season upon us and potential travel on the horizon, there’s no better time to consider how we can live our yoga fully. Not only will you be learning how to integrate the philosophies of the practice into your daily life, but also doing the world a favour by travelling mindfully – not to mention keeping yourself reasonably serene during an often chaotic time.
Travelling like a yogi involves a couple of main considerations: Staying committed to your health and practice, and being conscious and mindful of the decisions you make and their impact on the world.
Consider these tips when planning and enjoying your next trip, to truly live your yoga – both on and off the mat.
Maintain your practice
If you’re a regular yoga practitioner, don’t let go of your practice just because your schedule has changed. Think of ways to integrate your yoga into your new routine. Can you wake up five minutes early and enjoy a short meditation, or go to bed ten minutes before you had planned and do some gentle stretches? It’s easy and so helpful in keeping you sane and grounded during times of turmoil and busy-ness.
Healthy habits on the road
What are some of the healthy habits you enjoy at home that are thrown out the window when you’re ‘on holiday’? How can you integrate them into your life on the road? Of course you can treat yourself, but what habits are worth holding onto? Instead of focusing on depriving yourself, can you focus on how to nourish yourself? It’s okay if you went for that second piece of cake, but can you pile a few extra greens on your plate too? Perhaps you can skip the fruit juice for water, or go for that ten-minute jog instead of sleeping in? Most importantly, maintain a healthy mind. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and have fallen off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply jump back on when you can.
Plan ahead and pack a goodie back of healthy treats that will facilitate your trip. If you’re heading somewhere unfamiliar, take a few of your favourite, healthy chocolate bars. Stock up on essential oils, vitamins, pro-biotics and essentials like bandaids and sunscreen – some of which may not be available (or will be very expensive) if you’re travelling overseas.
Be a conscious consumer
In some parts of the world it feels impossible to be mindful of your environmental footprint – and you’ll quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of plastic water bottles and packaging. But there are ways that we can be more mindful when we travel, particularly when we’re in our home country. Ask wait staff to skip the straw, ask yourself if you really need to gift your Aunty the plastic figurine from somewhere she’s never been, and consider what you’re putting on your plate and in your mouth, and all the efforts made towards your consumption. The yogis call it Bramacharya, and it’s all about moderation. By practicing moderation, we teach ourselves to be satisfied with what we have already, and learn that we cannot fulfil ourselves with external things. We can even practice this when we pack. Travelling light allows you to see just how much of that ‘stuff’ you don’t really need.
Connect to the culture
Whether you’re travelling close to home or across the globe, embrace and connect with the local culture. It’s one of the many beautiful things about travel and life – can you step out of your comfort zone enough to try something new? To consider life from a different perspective. When you’re curious in your yoga practice you can explore the limits of your body and mind, taking your practice to a new level and finding parts of you that you didn’t know existed– and it works in life as well. When we develop curiosity, what often follows is deep, rewarding knowledge. Put down your phone, take a breath, enjoy the scenery and have a conversation with a local.
Sometimes, despite all of our attempts to soften, we can turn our yoga practice into another item on the to-do list. Something to strive towards and achieve. But at the conclusion of your practice, and your life, you come into Savasana. It’s easy to surrender when you’ve spent the last hour moving and breathing, but can you do the same when you’re about to board a plane, or you’re waiting for a tuk tuk at a busy airport? Can you let go of your need for that daily green smoothie and go with the flow of all that is in the moment? That’s where the challenge lies, and when you know you’re really practicing yoga in action.
Words by Jessica Humphries for YogaPaws.