Since I've been traveling so much this Summer and felling challenged to find time for my practices, I wrote up this short article about some of the tricks I've developed to help me stay connected to my body on the road. I hope you find them useful!
Traveling can be very ungrounding and hard on the body because of all of the hurrying, being away from normal routines, lack of access to healthy foods, changing time zones, and moving at great speeds in planes and cars. Here are some great ways to get grounded into your body and keep up your flexibility on your next trip:
1- Go to yoga classes! It's one of my favorite things to do while traveling. Not only will you get grounded into your body, but you just may find a new pose or new instruction you've never experienced before!
2 - Every morning, no matter where you are, start you day with about 3 minutes minimum of simple somatic movements like: Reclining pelvic tilts with knees bent (inhale to arch low back, exhale to flatten 10 times gently) or Cat/Cow from the table position (all fours) about 10 times. This will lubricate your spine and free up your neck and low back. You can even do it seated while traveling on a plane, train, in the car, etc.
3 - Road Trips: Make a promise to your self or your travel partner that when you stop at a rest stop, you'll do at least 5 minutes of stretching. Even better, promise to stop once every 3 hours if you're on a longer trip. Try Side Angle Pose, Warrior 2, Triangle Pose, Wall Push, and Wide Legged Forward Fold with interlaced arms overhead and then a squat for starters.
4 - Airplanes: If you find yourself on a long plane ride, make a promise to yourself or your travel partner that you will practice some yoga at the back of the plane or in a quiet corner of the airport. Try the poses mentioned above. A shoulder opener (hand on wall and turn your body away from the wall) can also be perfect for the back of the plane. In your seat, try some simple sitting twists, seated figure four and bend forward (cross one ankle over the opposite knee), and some pranayama and meditation. More on this coming in a new post….
5 - Layovers in Airports or other stations: try any of the above suggestions, or better yet, bring a travel mat and roll it out in a corner of the room for a more complete practice with Sun Salutations, standing poses, pigeon pose, a few other hip openers and back bends and reclining hamstring stretches. Patrick and I have often done this in places like Mexico and Japan, and in general, people will just ignore us and give us space. Or, even better, they'll check us out and get inspired to do some stretching themselves!
6 - Hotel Rooms: bring a travel mat! These are light weight and easily fold into your luggage. Otherwise, use a towel on the floor and commit to at least 10 mins before you start or end your day.
7 - staying with friends or relatives: tell them about your promise to take care of your body and ask them if they'd like to join you. Ask them to go to a yoga class with you. Or, tell them you need to spend at least 15 minutes in the morning or before bed doing some asana for yourself. They'll be inspired.
8- having guests: Bring them to your favorite yoga class, or one appropriate to their level. Or, tell them about your promise to stay connected to your body and invite them to practice at home with you. They'll probably be very inspired to continue when they leave!
9 - All the time: remember that when you take the space to care for your mind and body and remember to breathe, you are much more centered and happy with yourself and therefore you're more fun to travel with!
For more ideas about getting grounded on a daily basis, look at my last blog post about "Earthing."
And if you're interested in a free audio download on Rest Stop Yoga and my upcoming free video series on yoga alignment, go to the link to sign up for my monthly newsletter and check to join the list on Upcoming Tele-Courses and Webinars. In a week or so, you'll get an email with a link to the audio program. While you're at it, if you'd like to get monthly news about Inner Freedom Yoga events, sign up for the All Yoga Announcements list. And if you'd only like news about international retreats or workshops or retreats with me in your area, please check those lists.
Please let me know if these tips have been helpful to you!
To your safe and ease-full traveling!