Part of living your yoga means taking care of your body. If you're hitting the road, food options can be limited so make sure to pack some easy snacks, especially if you're prone to low blood sugar or food sensitivities. Fruits and veggies may be available at gas stations and airports, but the taste and quality is usually lacking. I pack my own apples, carrots, cucumbers and zucchini slices (with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt). I also toss a few protein shake packets and coconut butter pouches in my bag. They're great blood sugar stabilizers and they don't take up much room.
Flying to your destination? Take advantage of the distraction-free zone to dive deep into a good book. Here are some good vacation yoga reads:
Happy Yoga by Steve Ross
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar
Prep your phone with soothing music that will help you find your meditative state even in the middle of a busy airport terminal. Right now I'm listening to Enter One by Sol Seppy, but my go-to quick relaxation song is The Flow of Let Go by Anugama. Stay connected to San Diego teachers as they discuss modern day yoga on The Yoga Frequency podcast. Or listen to a guided deep relaxation meditation from The Honest Guys.
These simple movements can be done while seated with limited space (and you won't get any dirty looks from the person in the seat next to you).
Neck Stretches & Shoulder Shrugs. Relax your right ear towards your right shoulder for several slow breaths. Then release your chin to your chest for several more breath cycles. Return to center and repeat on the left side. Follow it up by tensing your shoulders up to your ears and releasing for 3 sets.
Seated Back Bend. Place your palms on your knees and sit tall. Draw your navel in and up as you lift your chest. Use your palms to gently traction back against your thighs, pulling your shoulder heads down and back as you gaze up. Even a mini back bend can be energizing!
Seated Twist. Place your right hand outside your left knee. Use your left hand on your armrest or at your side. Lengthen and lift your spine as you twist to your left, allowing your gaze to come around to your left shoulder. Hold for 5 deep breaths. Release and repeat on the opposite side.
Last year while traveling through India and Southeast Asia, I embarked on my first solo backpacking adventure. I ambitiously set a course that took me from the islands off the southeastern coast of Thailand, into the jungles along the western peninsula, through Bangkok and all the way to the north- in a week. By day 3, I'd already missed a bus that derailed my plans and sent me scrambling to reorganize my route. Determined to make it to the northern hills before the monsoons set in, I settled into a 24-hr bus ride. By the time I arrived at my destination- and spent 2 more hours searching for my guesthouse that was only 2 kilometers from the bus terminal- I was mentally and physically exhausted. Ready for a hot shower and some warm food, I discovered there was no food until dinnertime and there were no motorbike rentals available to get me into town.
So I was stuck, hungry, tired and alone. I trudged to my bungalow and unpacked my soggy jungle clothes, hanging them out on the railing to dry (despite the humidity and approaching thunderstorm). Then I took my first real look around. From my vantage point, I could see the tiny village of Pai below, rolling rice fields and terraces, a garden overflowing with giant blossoms, and rays of sunlight filtering down through the ominous clouds. I sighed and took a seat on the porch. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, feeling my feet on the ground and savoring the smell of the approaching rain. I breathed into every ache in my neck, back and feet. I noticed the stillness around me, a peaceful change from the constant roar of bus engines and bustling cities. And I sat like this for the next 90 minutes, as the rainstorms came and went. By the time people began gathering for dinner (an authentic Chinese feast!) I was renewed and open to the experience in front of me.
When the chaos or apprehension of your journey threatens to upset your state of mind, pause where you are. Notice what's happening around you. Feel your feet strike the ground as you walk. Move with ease instead of rushing. Scan your body and choose to release tension. Simple mindfulness techniques will bring you back into the magic of the moment so you can enjoy the ride.