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The Travelling Yogi

If you’re a serious yoga nerd, travelling, wonderful though it may be, can sometimes create a bit of an issue – where the heck will you fit in your practice? This may be no problem if you’re the type of person who wakes at the crack of dawn and gets the whole shebang done before hitting the sights, but what about the rest of us? Can you really keep your yoga going amid a week jam-packed with sight-seeing?

Only go on yoga retreats and beach vacations?

Is this the obvious solution? Create your whole trip to accommodate your practice? Tempting, and such trips certainly have their value. But what about when the serious adventure-bug bites? The planets align and you’re able to go on your dream trip city-hopping through Europe! Or cat-café hopping through Tokyo! Or driving a Jeep through the Australian outback! Perhaps it’s possible to use the unpredictability and exploratory spirit of such travel to your yogic advantage.

Yoga in the interstices

One of the beautiful things about travel is its potential to break up our routine and our tendencies to over-plan our lives. You may make the perfect plan to see all the monuments of Rome, take one wrong turn, and end up spending the day chatting with some locals over pizza and red wine. Similarly, if you try to plan yoga into every day of your travels, chances are you’ll get frustrated, over-tired, and stop. But if you simply do it when it feels right – a few balancing poses at the top of a mountain hike, a long ankle stretch in your tiny hotel room at the end of a pavement-pounding day – you will reawaken to the incredible benefits a little bit of focused yoga can bestow.

Put a studio on your itinerary!

Another approach is to incorporate at least one full-length yoga class into your vacation plans. This is of course much easier if you are visiting larger urban centres, but Googling around nowadays reveals that yoga instruction is thriving even in smaller towns. Even if you never find it, setting some time aside in your vacation to seek out a studio can take you off the beaten track, away from the hubbub of touristy sites. If you do find it, it can be fascinating and rejuvenating to see how the practice has been taken up by other cultures. Of course the benefits of a full class in the midst of a busy time are myriad and well-known to the yoga nerd!

So next time you get that travelling jones, make a plan, keep it loose, roll up your travel mat and hit the open road. If nothing else, travel is a great time to reconnect with a yogic feeling of wonder and openness to new things. Breathe deeply, stay present, and enjoy every step of the journey!

Julia Tausch practices yoga and writing in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a certified yin yoga instructor, as well as the author of the novel Another Book About Another Broken Heart. She is currently completing her second novel and blogging about the process.

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