So, you're pretty into yoga...
That may involve scheduling everything around your weekly Vinyasa class or enjoying a light stretch at home on the weekend... Regardless of your level of obsession, any routine you've established goes out the window as soon as you leave the comfort of your home to embark on any kind of business trip/holiday/adventure/etc.
Who knows why this occurs... Maybe we secretly want/need a break from healthy living sometimes (I mean, come on, it really is hard to remember to drink that warm lemon water EVERY morning) or perhaps it's the pressure of trying to look like you're having 'fun' on Social Media (no one wants to see photos of you meditating on the beach... swap out the Mala Beads for a beer & watch the 'likes' roll in).
Whatever the reason, we return home feeling awful, wishing we'd at least rolled out our mat once (or remembered to bring the damn thing) and didn't drink/eat like they were our last days on earth.
Really though, it doesn't need to pan out like this!
Using these 7 [basic] tips and a tiiiiny amount of planning, you should return home feeling refreshed, having added a little zen to your itinerary.
1. Do your research
Before you rush off and book accommodation, why not look at what's happening in the surrounding area? Restaurants, cafes, parks, yoga studios.... There's a lot to take into account when deciding where to hang your hat for the day, week, month or year(s) - why settle when, with the right planning, you can have everything you want right on your doorstep? Here are a few things we think you should Google before getting out your credit card:
Simply type "yoga in ___" & hit enter - if there's anything yoga-related in that area it should come up online! Otherwise, download a class/studio finder app like Mind Body Connect or om finder (check out a review of these and other yoga apps on the blog here)
To tie in with the above, you should also check for community yoga classes in the local area! Be on the lookout for both companies & studios that offer them. Also, many studios offer deals where you get your first class FREE (or discounted!)..
We've heard GREAT things about Yoga To The People in NYC.
Healthy places to nosh
This might take a little more research... Unfortunately you may not return much on a Google search of "healthy restaurants in ___" however, you can look for "organic cafes in ___" or "Organic supermarkets in ___".
Markets are also another GREAT place to get healthy/organic/local/freshly-cooked food at a fraction of the price you'd pay at a sit-down restaurant. If you're lucky, your hotel room will have a fridge and/or kitchenette to facilitate some healthy in-hotel meals!
Many of you have experienced (and hated every minute of) hotel room yoga. On the other hand, many of you have experienced (and loved every minute of) an outdoor yoga practice. See where I'm going with this? Scout out local places that you can take your practice! Beaches, parks, trail stops - these are all prime spots to roll out your mat. Finding one that's in walking distance of your hotel? BONUS
2. Pack light
We all know how hard it is to pack "light" (*ahem* ladies...) We also know how aggravating it is to drag around a carry-on, purse/bag/laptop, suitcase, yoga mat.... the list goes on! Avoid achey shoulders & backs (and keep your sanity intact while pushing through hoards of people in the airport/train station/ taxi rank) by choosing items that will lighten your load. Here are a couple things that can [positively] impact the weight of your luggage:
Travel yoga mats
These babies are AMAZING. Anyone who's traded in their thick, bulky, sometimes extremely heavy mat for a featherweight [and possibly foldable!] version knows what I'm talking about. Even if weight isn't a factor with your mat, they're still cumbersome and most of the time don't fit in your suitcase, leaving them slung over your shoulder while trying to negotiate turnstiles in subways & aisles in airplanes, knocking unsuspecting passengers with each minor turn of your shoulders.
Yoga Paws are also another great alternative to a mat and they fit snugly in your purse, perfect for impromptu public displays of asana!
Honestly, I'm one of those people that won't subscribe to using reading on a tablet ... I much prefer the experience of reading a "real" book, turning & dog-earing pages, writing stuff in the margins...
This fact leads me to have to choose one book to bring along when I travel - which leaves me stuck for inspiration at my destination when I finish the damn thing on the plane! This in mind, I can't deny the practicality of a tablet when you just can't choose ONE great book - plus, let's face it, those things weigh about as much as your wallet & take up just as much room, while we know books take up much more space & of course, if you bring more than one, can weigh more than a small child...
There's no easy way to say this ladies.... YOU DON'T NEED 50 + OUTFITS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!
I know, I know - it's easier said than done. But really, all you have to do is choose 1-2 pairs of pants/shorts (depending on climate), a couple different tops, 1-2 pairs of shoes (try one pair of sandals and one pair of closed-toed shoes) & a sweater (even if you're going to a tropical country, we all know how bloody freezing planes are!) - all of these items should be of neutral colours, or at least colours that work together so you can mix & match!
3. Pack right
It's easy to get caught up in the moment (usually the night before departing) when packing for a trip - every time you turn around, there's another thing you just CAN'T live without so, you chuck it in your bag. After a while, caution is cast to the wind and the line between practical and down-right impractical becomes a little blurred... Once you've finally gotten that suitcase zipped shut (you may have had to kneel and/or jump up and down on it to do so) there's NO WAY you're going back in there to take inventory. Before you hit the point of no return, start by at least make sure you've got these ESSENTIAL items:
Toothbrush, toothpaste, creams, oils... The list of must-have's can [sometimes] be endless. These things are a no-brainer & things you use every single day so, it shouldn't take long to make a list - Make sure you've got this squared away before doing anything else!
Whether it's an iPod, android, tablet, Walkman... book on tape, meditation soundtrack, Pandora, Spotify... make sure you have some ear candy to distract, inspire, pump you up & calm you down. You may also want to bring some Malas for meditation purposes!
Books, magazines, tablets, phones... You get the picture. Make sure you have SOMETHING to read on those long-haul flights or layovers and especially when you're lazing around the pool or beach!
These are things that will most likely reside in your carry-on. Planes/trains/automobiles are notoriously cold/uncomfortable/down-right-unpleasant, so make sure you're prepared with some or all of the following:
- eye mask
- neck pillow
- toe separators...
This could simply be an app to watch video classes, your mat, or even a block/strap! Whatever you need to ensure your practice is comfortable & comforting to you on the road. Here are a couple basic essentials:
- mat, yoga towel or yoga paws - anything to keep you from direct contact with the ground!
- mat bag/strap - just something to carry the darn thing (we've been known to use a belt)
- block - if you're so inclined.... they don't take up much room and are [usually] super light
- yoga apps - class/studio finders and/or video streamers. Also, some good tunes wouldn't go astray
- yoga reading material/references - this could be the latest edition of Yoga Journal, a copy of Light On Yoga or just a reference online.
- malas - These beads are the #1 meditation essential for many yogis out there!
I'm talking the essentials here. Forget your Jimmy Choos & fave Levis... Here are the top 3 pieces of clothing worn by the travelling yogis we've asked:
- tank tops
- sports bras
Seriously, when comfort [& yoga] are priority, these three things are all you need.
Let's start with a re-fillable water bottle. No more single-use plastic bottles that will simply NEVER die!!! We love these super-cool, safe and eco-friendly bottles from S'well
Also, bring some healthy snacks with you when on the go (yes, you will be let on the plane with them) to avoid fast food joints & questionable [bloody expensive] nibbles that have been sitting in glass cases for waaay too long... Check out some of our healthy, home-made, travel-friendly recipes on the blog.
If you do yoga and aren't on Instagram - get on it!!!! It's the most amazing online community & network for yogis all over the world. If you're going to a new place and want tips from a local, this is a great place to start!
Here are a couple tips you should get from a local:
- Where's the best studio?
- What's your fave local café/restaurant?
- Are there any great spots to do some outdoor yoga?
- Want to meet up?
We're also planning to (eventually) build a community on this site where you can tell us where you're going and we put you in touch with a resident "expert"! Stay tuned ;-) In the meantime, check out our ambassadors and see if there's one near you!
@circ.om.navigate on Instagram
5. Practice, practice, practice!
Of course this is the main objective of this post - we want you to be able to bring your practice on the road and [hopefully] deepen it in the process! Here are a few things you can do to keep you on track:
Be comfortable in your surroundings
Whether it's your hotel room, an airport lounge or a patch of grass on the beach: make it your own. Zone out the rest of the world an enjoy however many minutes/hours you get on your mat.
Lacking in the inspiration department? That's ok! There are hundreds of thousands of online resources & videos that should keep you interested for at least a couple minutes when a personal flow just isn't on the cards for you.
Lacking space? Check out Kathryn Budig's 45 min Hotel Room Flow on YogaGlo!
Take it easy
Some days a physical practice just isn't possible! That's not a problem at all, because as we know, yoga isn't just about the asana. Make sure to take some time throughout the day to centre yourself, whether it's through meditation, setting an intention, repeating a mantra, reading a spiritual/inspirational book, eating a beautiful organic meal or drinking a yummy green juice/smoothie... Just take care of your body & mind and it will take care of you!
6. Try new things
You're on vacation, let your hair down!
Many of us do branch out a little when we're in a new and unfamiliar place; trying new foods/experiences... meeting new people... yoga should NOT be left out of this!
Perhaps you've always wanted to try a particular style of yoga, but have been enjoying your regular class/studio/style so much at home that you haven't switched it up... Now is the perfect time & opportunity to try a new teacher AND a new style - use this opportunity, being out of your comfort zone, to deepen your knowledge and expand your practice! You won't regret it
7. Have fun
This is the most important part of travelling: Enjoying yourself & creating memories that will last forever.
With the huge role the internet and Social Media plays in people's lives these days, not to mention always using being on phones etc. in general, it's easy to get caught up and miss out on the present moment. Make sure you're experiencing everything fully and consciously while on the road - you may visit these places again, but you won't have the EXACT same experiences; Live in the moment and enjoy!
Read our friend Natalie's take on The Paradox of Travel Blogging which has some great insights we think can (and should) be read and digested by every kind of traveler - not just us writers! ;-)
Did we miss anything?
We want to know YOUR opinion! Let us know your top travel tip, carry-on essentials or travel mat brand... if we add it to the list, we'll be sure to credit you!