By Katie Papo (Ambika)
Just because you’re breaking free from your regular routine doesn’t mean you need to leave your yoga at home. Try these tips the next time you travel.
1. Create an intention. Remember why you practice yoga. To cultivate good health? A balanced mind? Compassion toward others? You’re a yogi, so you already know the power of thought—remind yourself of your intention and align it with your goal.
2. Bring a yoga mat. A tangible reminder to keep up your practice. If you put forth the effort to carry it, you may as well use it!
3. Set your alarm clock. Swami Sivananda taught that Brahmamurti, the early hours of the morning, is the best time for your spiritual practice. Explore this secret part of the day that your friends don’t know about, when all (including your monkey mind) is calm and quiet.
4. Activate Ahimsa. Ahimsa, or nonviolence, is one of the highest yogic observances and can be practiced anywhere. Cultivate ahimsa in your speech by speaking kindly to others. Enjoy a vegetarian diet so as not to cause harm to animals. Carry your own travel water bottle to use less plastic. Be a peace warrior in all your actions.
5. Public transportation meditation. Trains, planes, and buses are perfect places to meditate while you travel. Even if you have a new book you’re excited to read, devote the first 10 minutes of your trip to silent meditation. The people around you will just think you’re napping (with excellent posture, of course!)
6. Set your mantra in motion. Especially for solo travelers, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, so music with headphones isn’t always the safest idea. But that doesn’t mean you can’t practice your kirtan while you’re strolling down the city streets. Jai Ganesha, anyone?
7. Bring a travel altar. Whether it’s a deity image representing strength, or a tiny elephant statue to remove your obstacles, this fun-size yogic reminder is light for your suitcase and will light up the room. You can also bring seashells you’ve collected (from your favorite Paradise Island Sivananda Bahamas beach, perhaps?), or even a photo of your puppy, reminding you of unconditional love!
8. Prioritize your postures. Let’s face it — sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day, and you’d rather leave the 4am wake-up to the Rishis. If you only have a few free minutes, practice postures (asanas) that have the most benefits. Try this trio: Sirsasana (headstand), Sarvangasana (shoulderstand), and Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend). In Swami Sivananda’s book Yoga Asanas, he writes, “These three Asanas alone can keep you in perfect health.”