Take your Yoga with You

By Laura Hansen.

Yoga on the go can be difficult. At home I have my favorite classes which I take regularly. I know that Friday I’m going to Shayna’s class at the Yoga Connection and on Monday I’m going to Allie’s Class at Red Pearl. My yoga schedule is woven into my routine. When I travel, my whole routine changes and this can impact my yoga practice. I know I’m not alone. I often talk to people who have taken a week or two off of their practice because they went out of town.

yoga travel

I travel to Seattle about three times a year, New York City at least once a year, Washington D.C. usually twice a year, some other domestic location a couple times a year and internationally about once a year. Sometimes I know when a trip is coming up and I can plan ahead, and sometimes trips are spur of the moment. Often I’m going someplace where I won’t have a car and where my alone time is limited. Each trip, I vow to keep up with my yoga practice. I succeed to some degree.

If you have been practicing for a while then you probably understand how difficult it can be to maintain your practice when traveling. While I can’t say that I practice as much when I’m out of town as I do when I’m home, I am doing a better job.

Every Day

  1. No matter where I am, at home or on the road, I work on my posture. After about thirty years it is now automatic to throw my shoulders back and pull my pelvis under. Waiting in line, press your legs together, practice mula banda, or hold your stomach in for a while. This is not the same as taking a class, but the results are cumulative.

  2. Have a simple home stretching routine that you do no matter where you are or what is going on. Generally this routine should focus on your problem areas. For example, my legs are very flexible so my ten minute home routine focuses on shoulders and back. Work with a favorite teacher or friend to develop a short routine. When you get comfortable with this short routine, mix it up and subtract some postures for others. My favorite beginner’s home routine is a simple back stretch: right, left, backwards and then forwards. Hold each posture for at least a minute.

When Away

  1. If you are working on your isometric exercises every day and your short routine every day then you will automatically continue to do these things when you are away. Remember, it takes thirty days to make a habit, so practice this for at least thirty days at home. Once this has become a habit, it won’t matter if you are on a cruise ship or a train, with family or with colleagues, you will automatically practice some yoga.

  2. Start a collection of yoga t-shirts from around the world. Wherever you go, you have to get a yoga t-shirt. If you go to Seattle, you want a shirt that says “Yoga Seattle”, etc. Even when you are busy and tired, you will be motivated to somehow get to a studio and get the shirt. Getting to the studio is the hardest part. Once you are there, take a class.

  3. If you have some time to plan, make sure you google yoga studios ahead of time. Find out which studios are closest to where you will be staying, review class schedules. Plan in advance which classes you will attend and at which studios. If you have questions, call ahead. When you arrive, tell everyone you will be with that Tuesday at 6:00 you will be taking a yoga class.

  4. Purchase a couple of yoga DVD’s in advance of your trip and review them. Find a DVD that you like and that is manageable for you. Ideally this is something that can play on your laptop or device. Keep the DVD in your suitcase so you bring it with you wherever you go.

These are just some of the things that I have done that help me maintain a practice when I’m away from home and out of my routine. I would also be interested in hearing back from other practitioners how you manage to maintain your practice when traveling. You can send your suggestions to me at laurahansen1@yahoo.com. If I receive enough suggestions I will write a second essay and include your name and suggestion.

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