Regarding Yoga + Travel: An Interview with Dr. Nicole Anders

Balian Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Balian Beach, Bali, Indonesia

It all started with a Dancer's Pose snapped in Bali...

During the course of the day, scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see hundreds of photos taken on the beach. While they're each beautiful in their own way, I always find myself looking for something more... some thing familiar.

One day I came across a gorgeous photo taken against a background of shining black sand, characteristic of the volcanic landscape of one of my favourite islands: Bali.

This photo was of Nicole Anders. I struck up a conversation with her and learned that the photo was in fact taken in Bali - on Balian Beach, below Kuta on the Southwest coast. I  also learned that she had just returned from getting her 200 hour RYT there and was a "clinical psychologist by night, yoga teacher by day" in Puerto Rico, where she's currently living.

Nicole went on to tell me about her previous and upcoming travels - her passion for seeing the world was clear; I knew she'd be perfect for an interview! I hope you enjoy this Canadian yogini's wonderful insight into Yoga + Travel :)

Regarding Yoga + Travel:

An Interview with Dr. Nicole Anders

What’s your name?

Dr. Nicole Anders

Q Where are you based?

I am originally from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) but I am currently living and working in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Q How long have you been practicing yoga?

I have dabbled in yoga for many years throughout my life but I began really focusing on my practice and dedicating my time and energy to yoga in December 2013. Since then I got my 200-hr TT in Bali, Indonesia and have been teaching privately as well as at the studio in Puerto Rico where I began my practice

Q What style of yoga do you (predominately) practice/teach?

I am a big fan of trying many different styles. I teach Ashtanga-Vinyasa but often find myself attending Dharma and Jivamukti classes. I also throw in some Acro-Yoga and a good Yin Yoga class when I find time.

Q Do you practice yoga at home? If so, how often?

Yes, Ashtanga style is big on self practice and is famous for the Mysore style of yoga. I practice at home daily, whether its working on certain postures, meditation and breathing exercises, planning flows for my class, or taking myself through an full or modified Ashtanga Primary Series.

Q Where was the last place you travelled?

I am an avid traveller and always have a new adventure planned. Whether it's travelling to the other side of the island for the weekend, domestic US travel for long holiday weekends or bigger international trips, I always have something planned. I have been this way all of my life. This year I was in St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St.Barths, New York, California, Canada, and most recently Bali. As well, I have a trip to Brazil planned for November and then my family spends the holidays in Cabo. It may sound like a lot but trust me, I travel on a well-planned budget.

Q For what reason do you normally travel? (work/play/both) 

Most of my travel is for pleasure but at times I find myself traveling for work conferences (I am a clinical psychologist by day and yoga teacher by night)

Q Do you find it hard to keep up with your practice when you’re away from home and if so, what keeps you motivated?

Yes and no. I actually really love to drop-in at local studios when I am travelling because it exposes to me to more yoga communities, stlyes, teachers, ect and I find this enhances my practice. However, this can become costly, that's why it's always nice to find a beach or park and play around even if its just for 30minutes.

Q What’s the #1 yoga-related item in your suitcase?

I never travel anywhere without a few yoga pants and sports bras, there's always a place to change into my favorite stretchy clothes and practice.

Q Please list your top 5 carry-on essentials (in order of importance):   

  1.  iPhone because it contains my music, guided meditations, books on tape, and my collection of inspiring photos

  2.  Blanket - I get cold on airplanes! (and some airlines don't give you one anymore)

  3.  Journal - i love to reflect while on planes whether it is about my upcoming experience and my hopes and goals or decompressing about the adventure I was just on

  4.  Hard copy of 1-2 books - even though I can use my phone I am still old fashioned at heart and love to physically hold and read a good book

  5.  An open-mind, I find myself frequently meeting and talking to people on planes, in airports and throughout my travel. I have several interesting stories of people I've met and how they have come into my life.


Q What brand mat (if any) do you travel with?

I don't typically travel with my mat unless I know that yoga will be a major focus during my travel (yoga retreat for example) I use Manduka because I love their grip, especially for inversions. However, I find that I can use a towel, borrow a mat, or sometimes the sand or grass is good enough.

Do you listen to music while you practice and if so, what’s on your playlist? Do you ever use Spotify or Pandora?

YES! I have many Spotify playlists that I have created or that I follow depending on my mood I have a huge variety of music. I also play music during classes I teach.

Q Have you ever used Yoga Paws? If so, what’s the craziest place you’ve busted out a move in them?

I haven't! I would like to try them soon though, they sound fun.

Q What’s the most beautiful/memorable place you’ve ever practiced yoga, whether it was a class, a retreat, outdoors/indoors…

I have practiced on so many beaches and beautiful studios it would be hard to pick the most beautiful. I will chose my studio where i practice and teach in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico though, it is on the water and a sunset class is the perfect way to end the day. As well, hearing the crashing waves during a deep savasana is my favorite way to end my day.

Q Have you ever done online classes? If so, what Website/App did/do you use?

I haven't, but sometimes I watch Kino McGregor's videos on YouTube for inspiration.

Q Have you ever used an app to locate local classes (Om finder, Mind Body Connect etc.)?

Haven't tried it yet!

Q Do you network on Social Media to hear about classes at your travel destinations?

Not usually on social media unless I know someone in the area - typically I google

Q What’s your take on hotel room yoga?

I haven't tried - I've been to several hotels where they offer yoga classes and I think that's a great bonus

Q How important is it for you to maintain healthy eating habits while travelling? Do you have any tips on doing so?

I typically have healthy eating while traveling because I don't put pressure on myself. I think the trick is that I don't restrict myself in my day to day life so I don't feel the need or urge to eat cake and cookies "because I'm on vacation so it's ok" - everything in moderation, be kind to yourself and compassion

Q What’s your favourite travel snack?

A granola trail mix with chocolate, almonds and whatever assortment is around

Q When you have to have takeout food, what’s your go-to fare (Japanese, Indian, etc.) and why?


Q How do you cope with long flights? Do you stretch before/during/after or all of the above?

I am the girl who is doing yoga before my flight as well as on the flight. I walk up and down the aisles, I do standing forward bends and mid-body twists. I think sometimes we let our egos get in the way, I just smile and do my yoga. Also, I love to hit the mat shortly after I'm off the flight (when possible)

Q Have you ever practiced in an airport Yoga Room? If so, what was your experience?

I have not yet.

Q Did I miss anything? Please add anything you think might be interesting/informative! Perhaps a funny story or strange tip… Also, any suggestions would be much appreciated!

 As a clinical psychologist I have recently been working on way to incorporate yoga techniques (asanas as well as breathing and meditation) with my patients and have found the results to be outstanding! I truly believe that yoga can revolutionize healthcare and overall improve the connection we have with ourselves, our bodies, and with each other.

Nicole is also one of  our Travelling Ambassadors! Keep your eyes peeled - she has a trip to Brazil planned that she'll surely writing about!