The opportunity to travel creates lifelong and life changing experiences. Travel can also be a fairly stressful experience, both physically and mentally. Getting lost in a new city or missing a connecting flight can cause feelings of fear and anxiety. Constantly changing time zones and sleeping in new places can wreak havoc on our sleep and energy. It can throw us off of our healthy habits through missed workouts and questionable eating choices.
Travel is also beautiful. It forces us to think on our feet, to find calm within ourselves amidst the chaos. Travel challenges us, pushes us outside of our comfort zones, creating a never ending supply of opportunities to grow and find our strength.
The practice of yoga is very similar. Yoga teaches us how to breathe amidst chaos while providing space for quiet and reflection amidst the noise.
Developing a Yoga practice can help us alleviate the stress and fear that travel kicks up!
5 Benefits of Yoga for Travel
1. Combat Travel Stress through Breath
Yoga has a major emphasis on breath. Connecting our movements to our breath in yoga helps us maintain energy throughout our practice. Focusing on our breath in challenging poses makes that pose more accessible. Try it the next time you’re attempting to balance in tree pose. Instead of bringing your attention to the wobbly leg, take a full deep breath in and out of your nose and see if the balance comes a bit easier. The same can happen when dealing with an airline who cancelled your flight. Instead of going off on the poor gate attendant (who really has no control over flight schedules) take a full deep breath and ask what can be done to alleviate the situation. Challenges are always going to arise – whether your on the mat or on the road. Learning to focus on our breath can make the solution a bit more accessible.
2. Find Space for Quiet Reflection
Always moving on to the next destination or adventure is fun! But how often do we pause to appreciate our current location whether that’s on top of a mountain, a white sandy beach, a vibrant city, or the airport. Yoga teaches us to stay in the present moment and to find steadiness there. Sometimes, the present moment is difficult to appreciate- like an obnoxious hostel roommate. But practicing gratefulness for having someone there who makes you get out to explore can be an upside. Whether or not you have time for a full yoga practice. Spending 5 minutes each day in quiet reflection with ourselves can shift our perspective and create a pause to reflect on our adventure.
3. Alleviate Muscular Tension
Travel with a backpack? Pull your suitcase along cobblestone streets? Spend 12 hours on a bus? The physical act of getting from one destination to the next can create some serious stress and tension in our muscles. This can lead to fatigue and possibly injury if we don’t address it regularly. A simple downward facing dog can do wonders for low back tension, tight hamstrings and calves. Legs up a wall soothes swollen legs after a long flight. It also just feels amazing. Eagle arms helps alleviate tension in the upper back and shoulders. Traveling is stressful on our bodies and sometimes it just feels good to stretch it out instead of pounding our bodies more through a grueling workout. Yoga keeps us fresh and energized.
4. Can Literally Practice Anywhere
While there’s been a surge in yoga retreats around the world, you don’t need to shell out a bunch of money to reap the rewards of yoga. Many hostels offer yoga classes, you can drop in to many local studios (which is always fun to take a yoga class in a foreign language), or you can simply find a quiet corner of an airport (I’ve done it) and move through your favorite poses before boarding your next flight. You don’t need any special equipment. Just your body and enough space to Warrior.
5. Boost Energy
The jet lag fatigue is so real. Even if you’re not traveling through time zones, traveling can still tire you out. Traveling offsets our normal sleep patterns, which is frustrating enough, and can leave us feeling less than optimal for the next day’s plans. Moving our bodies through asanas, even for 20 minutes, helps get our blood flowing, oxygen moving, and can truly wake us up. At the end of the day, a gentle restorative practice before bed can prime our bodies and minds for relaxation and sleep.
There are literally SO MANY benefits of yoga for travel. I just think it compliments the travel lifestyle incredibly well, by providing an opportunity to slow down, breathe, and move our bodies to keep us strong and flexible in the body and the mind. If you want a pre – travel yoga routine, download it here!