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This article was written by Lucile Hernandez Rodriguez of the nomadic yoga blog lucilehr.com.
Traveling is, without a doubt, an exciting opportunity to be in a whole new place and immerse yourself in various cultures. Although it can be fun, it can also be stressful. I’m talking about jet lag after moving between time zones, the planning, the delays and long layovers, and disruptions of your routines. And if meditation and yoga are part of your wellness routine, you might miss out on your practice.
Keeping up with your daily meditation and yoga practice allows you to develop the connection to yourself at a much deeper level. It becomes more important during your travels because meditation and yoga help keep you grounded, and make you feel happier and at peace.
Traveling doesn’t have to be a distraction or an excuse for you to hold off on meditating. It also doesn’t have to be stressful if you view it from a different perspective. See it as an opportunity to build up the habit of doing yoga and meditating. Plus, the change of scenery can motivate you to pick up a good habit or strengthen yours. It is also an opportunity to grow your practice and become more independent.
But how do you do that? How can you make sure you stick to your meditation and your yoga routine even if it feels like you’re out of your element? Below I’ll introduce six tips for keeping up the practice of meditation and yoga for travelers who are often on the go. Besides these tips for maintaining your practice, there are also some specific yoga poses for hikers and backpackers that will be especially beneficial.
1. Travel To Spiritual Hotspots
There may be many reasons to travel and different beautiful countries to visit but if you intend to grow your meditation practice, traveling to spiritual destinations is a great idea. This will give you more energy to deepen your practice and take advantage of the momentum.
The world is big enough to have that perfect location where you can find tranquility and inner peace. One of the ideal destinations to include in your bucket list is Thailand, where I did my Vipassana meditation retreat.
I stayed for a month in Suan Mokkh International Dharma Hermitage, which I consider to be one of the best meditation retreats out there. I spent 10 days doing a silent meditation retreat, which meant no talking and no distractions.
That was a real challenge for me and it definitely tested my limits, considering I was in a very uncomfortable living situation. But that’s the point of it all. Being in that situation helped with my introspection and the lack of distractions was conducive for self-awareness and self-discovery.
2. Use a Habit Building Technique
Making meditation a habit is easier said than done but the important thing is that – it can be done. Thanks to James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, I was able to practice mindfulness better and make meditation and yoga a habit of mine.
Building a habit of meditation takes time and is not an instant thing. Start small – even one or two minutes of meditation. It will be a lot easier if you associate it with another habit of yours, such as doing it just before showering: As you are in a different place, you will be associating your hotel shower as a time to meditate, for example.
It could also be associated with a specific time of the day, such as in the afternoon, where you just need to take a step back and breathe. By starting small, you are giving yourself a realistic goal that you know you can achieve. Slowly, build this habit and move on to the next level – which is by increasing the amount of time to meditate while traveling.
3. Become Independent
If you want to deepen your meditation and yoga practice, you have to rely mostly on yourself. Sure, you may need the push from your teacher but in the end, it’s up to you to make sure you grow. You have all the answers within yourself.
Becoming independent also means being comfortable with places you want to meditate or practice yoga. The beautiful thing about these mindful activities is that they can be done anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are – on the beach, in a hotel room, on a roof deck – as long as you developed the habit and you have been practicing on your own, you can stick to your meditation and yoga routine and practice mindful travel.
4. Use Some Tech
Technology is a great help to your yoga and meditation practice, especially if you’re traveling. With technology, you can bring diversity to your training. For instance, it allows you to stick to your classes – whether it’s online or offline. Joining a class becomes really helpful in times when you feel less motivated. Practicing in groups is always a good solution to boosting your motivation. So download an app or sign up for a course!
Keeping a playlist of your favorite meditation music also helps raise the vibe. If you’re in a small hotel room, for example, you can just play relaxing sounds and start your meditation.
5. Don’t Forget Your Essentials
Many yoga essentials can beef up your luggage, which is why there is travel yoga gear made specifically for traveling yogis. Bringing everything you need – such as your trusty travel yoga mat and other yoga props – keeps you ready at all times.
As you stroll around the area where you’re staying, you might stumble upon a beautiful quiet spot you think is perfect for some quick meditation. When you have your travel mat, you can simply plop it down and go for a meditation or yoga session.
It’s also an advantage if you bring your own gear, especially if you intend to visit yoga studios in the area. If you’re concerned about using a common yoga mat, the most sensible thing to do would be to always bring your own wherever you travel.
6. Don’t Stress Out!
The last and most important tip is to let it go and don’t stress out about the fact that you might miss a moment of peace. Yes, traveling would mean having a packed schedule but even five minutes of your time isn’t much – it’s already enough to do some mindful breathing. And that amount of time can be spent as you’re riding a packed bus or waiting for the next train.
A few minutes is better than nothing. Even if it’s only a short amount of time to do some meditation, it still brings benefits to your daily spiritual practice.
I hope you enjoyed reading about simple ways to keep up with your mindfulness practice while you are traveling. Having a regular yoga or meditation habit is so rewarding and will definitely add to your travels!
Lucile Hernandez Rodriguez is a registered yoga teacher, blogger, and mindful business advisor. She shares actionable advice on Mindfulness, Yoga, and Travel on her blog.