Guest post: Written by: Sejal Shah, E-YRT 500 Yoga Teacher, Art of Living Teacher, Mind-Body Wellness Writer.
Traveling is good for your soul. It improves your outlook towards life and helps you experience greater levels of happiness. When we travel new experiences pop up wherever we go and we have the opportunity to test our limits, meet new people and open new horizons.
Yoga is boone for travelers.
However, no matter how well you plan your trip, something will inevitably go wrong. Dealing with travel stress may be difficult for many. But for yoga practitioners it could be a lot easier to deal with. Travelers practicing yoga and meditation are more able to feel at home everywhere they go.
Why do Yoga While Traveling?
1. Yoga allows you to fully enjoy your travel experiences
Instead of getting caught up in the drama of that crazy bus ride or worry about making your connection on the way home, yoga can help you be present while exploring new places. Studies show that practicing yoga helps us to stay in the moment, in the HERE and NOW. By uniting the mind with the present moment, we can enjoy our travel experiences to the fullest, moment by moment, breath by breath.
2. Yoga lets you have ‘me time’
Yoga helps us take time for ourselves amidst traveling, which can be difficult while on the road. Creating space for yourselves helps you to slow down, giving you much needed space and strength to handle the travel challenges that you come across.
3. Yoga helps you manage the ups and downs of travel
Wherever we go, whatever we do, and whatever happens, the practice of yoga helps us stay rooted and grounded. Yoga and meditation also teach us that everything is impermanent and temporary. Whether you’re dealing with bug bites, sunburn, or even a touch of food poisoning, keep in mind that whatever is ailing you, it won’t last forever. Whether it’s missing a train connection, scuba diving, bungee jumping, or simply striking up a conversation in the local language with a stranger, practicing yoga transfers your focus and attention to your body and breath, which can help to temper nervousness and anxiety and quickly refresh your mind.
4. Yoga keeps you in shape
Through the practice of asana our bodies become stronger and more flexible, making you ready physically for your travel adventures and helping you prevent injuries and sprains in activities like hiking, rock climbing and surfing.
5. Yoga helps you connect on a deeper level
When traveling our attention is mostly focused outwards. We fully engage in new experiences, and our attention is on who and what surrounds us. The outer world is constantly creating some impressions on our inner world. Yoga’s inward attention connects you with your inner being, gauging and digesting these impressions, bringing balance between inner and outer perspectives and making the perspective more holistic allowing for deeper connection with ourselves and others.
6. Yoga sparks inspiration and self reflection
Have you ever tried practicing yoga on the beach or desert, meditating on a mountaintop, or doing your breathing practices while in a boat in a beautiful river? Your chattering mind automatically starts becoming silent. You dive deep into self reflective bliss. The concept of the infinite and immortal nature of our spirit will no longer remain just a concept, but suddenly may become an enlightening realization.
A Yoga Sequence for Your Travels
Practicing this yoga sequence before, during and after long days of travel will totally transform the way your body reacts to jet lag, physical discomfort and stress that comes with it. Get onto your mat and experience the magic yourself. And the best part is you can do it anywhere as yoga does not require a lot of physical space. Come as you are, and do it anywhere, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour.
The only thing it takes is your intention and dedication to make it happen.
Try to practice each pose for 5-6 breaths, and remember to do only what feels good for you.
- Begin with some gentle joint rolls and stretches – This is a great way to start off your practice. Gently move all the joints of your body, starting with the neck, shoulders, wrists, back, hips, knees and ankles, in any way that feels good to release tension and stiffness. Synchronize the movements with your breath to maximize the benefits.
- All Direction Back Stretch – Click here to learn my favorite set of stretches for the back. It wonderfully and magically relieves an achy and stiff back. It is a game changer.
- Cat Pose – The slow yet dynamic movements of this pose, tuned with breath begin to warm up the body, stretch and strengthen your lower back. After sitting in a cramped airplane seat for 10 hours, your back is craving this, and will thank you.
- Downward Facing Dog – This pose will get your blood pumping and circulating throughout your body. It’s an excellent way to stretch out your hamstrings, shoulders, calves and side bodies. It will relieve aches and tiredness after walking and exploring a new city all day long, and refresh your body and mind.
- Simple Spinal Twist – You can’t go wrong with this simple twist! After a holiday of indulging, your liver and kidneys need some extra care. When you twist your body, you are cleansing your system by releasing toxins and awakening your spine.
- Pigeon Pose – After hours of sitting during travel, Pigeon may be little tough pose to practice, but it can completely release the tension from your hips and spine to get you ready for another day of travel.
- Bridge Pose – Traveling can wear your back out! With this amazing pose, you’re quite literally bending your back into the opposite direction you’ve been sitting in for a few hours time. This will instantly relieve that achy back and open up your heart and lungs to fill with fresh air. It can be energizing, restorative and rejuvenating all at the same time.
- Shoulder Stand – This inversion will get the blood flowing and moving all around the body. It will also boost your metabolism and allow your mind to clear.
- Dancing Shiva Pose – Release all the tension that you have accumulated in your spine with this simple but very effective twist. Make sure you are gently breathing in and out and relaxing into the pose.
- Corpse Pose – Lastly, end each practice session with Savasana. Even if you don’t have time to go through each of these poses, make time to lie on the hard floor and breathe. It is so peacefully restorative to lay horizontally and allow the ground to absorb your weight after a stressful day of navigating a new region or a country. After being up in the sky all day, sometimes all you need is to feel a little bit grounded.
- Alternate nostril breathing – Finally, do a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing or just simple deep breathing to calm and center your mind. If you have your meditation practice, plan on doing it as much as your schedule allow
Try a Yoga Retreat
Wellness travel is a booming industry. Gone are the days of treating vacation like an excuse to stop exercising and fall off the healthy eating bandwagon. The modern traveler looks for and plans for affordable wellness vacation that will enhance their physical and mental well-being. Consider one of these 10 The top 10 Health and Wellness Resorts for you and your family when you plan your next holidays.