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):
iPhone because it contains my music, guided meditations, books on tape, and my collection of inspiring photos
Blanket - I get cold on airplanes! (and some airlines don't give you one anymore)
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
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
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.
Q 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.