February 16, 2024 by Guest Blogger

Traveling is one of the greatest things you can do in life. Expanding your horizons, having real world experiences, meeting new people from different backgrounds, and seeing things more beautiful than you could possibly have imagined; it’s a great way to increase your knowledge and learn more about your true self. 

Giving yourself the ticket to adventure and learning to open oneself to new experiences is surely one of the best lessons you can learn in this fast paced world. But it’s not always easy, fun and dreamy. 

Traveling comes with certain sacrifices and drawbacks that some people don’t consider before they pack a bag and head out the door. There are stressful journeys, brutal connections, and lots of time spent waiting around. 

Some of the most simple things in life, to which you would normally pay very little attention, can suddenly become incredibly important; like constantly having dirty clothes, living out of a backpack for months on end, or simply not getting enough sleep. 

You often have to forgo things like working out in a gym, cleaning your teeth at set times, having space and time to yourself, or just being able to relax for an hour or two; one thing you don’t have to give up though, is your yoga practice.  

A Yogi on the Move

Yoga can be that method of relaxation that makes all the little difficulties of traveling disappear; it helps you to recover your mental strength with every breath, and can really make a difference on those tough, stressful, inevitable days. 

Couples sleeping on a wooden bench in an old train for 48 hours, groups packing into a sweaty coach, and solo travelers crossing the ocean in style can all reap the benefits of engaging with yoga as they go. It can be a way to meet people, get away from people, slow yourself down, or allow yourself to get back to reality. 

So how, I hear you ask, are you supposed to keep up your yoga on the go? Well, here are a few tips, bits of equipment and locations where you can do yoga in style anywhere in the world.     

Travel Yoga Equipment

Unsurprisingly, there is a huge amount of travel specific yoga equipment out there, and whilst some of it is a bit of a gimmick, there are some bits that are extremely useful to have for the traveling yoga addicts out there. There are a couple of questions you have to ask yourself before you go ahead and get kitted out though.

Firstly, how committed are you to your yoga practice? If you’re going away for three months, for example, carrying around extra gear and only using it twice would be a real pain; so make sure you know what you want and try to be realistic. 

Secondly, as a traveler, the cost will play an important role in every decision you make during your travels so you must ask yourself, ‘Is it really worth the expenditure?’ or ‘Can I bring my equipment without it costing me?’. If you can answer these questions with an ‘I am very committed’, and a resounding ‘yes’ respectively, then read on.  

Your Own Mat 

This may seem like a ridiculously bulky item to even consider bringing for a backpacking adventure, but that does depend on the nature of your trip. 

If, for example, you are going to cross the Atlantic and tour European hotels and hostels by train, strapping your mat to the outside of your bag would not add too much extra stress. 

On the other hand, if you’re touring India and Asia by coach, train, Tuk-Tuk or on foot, having your yoga mat dangling from your bag at all times would be frustrating to say the least. Consider the nature of your trip and weigh your options before deciding. 

Travel Mats & Towels 

If you simply can’t bear the extra weight, don’t have the space, or just don’t want to have a mat dangling off your bag while you explore, then don’t worry; there are options out there

Lightweight, foldable yoga mats are a great way to go for most travelers. They are made of super light materials, roll or fold into a much smaller and more manageable size, and come in plenty of trendy designs. They are versatile and tough enough to be thrown around and only take up about half of the space of a regular mat; in fact, the foldable designs can be packed with your clothes inside your bag!

Yoga towels are another way to go if you’re still struggling for space and weight, although they are not strictly designed for use on their own, they can still be a good option; at least they are better than nothing! 

Actually designed to give extra grip during hot yoga, there is nothing stopping you from using a towel as your mat. They are easy to fold up and very packable; just don’t expect the same comfort and performance as an actual mat. 

Go Without 

If none of these options meet your criteria then there is just one option left to you; make do without a mat. It’s not impossible, although it may be a bit harder on the body. Try to tailor your routines to avoid painful contact points, and experiment with new poses that can be done on any surface; you’ll find the more you do it, the easier it will become! 

Go Easy on the Clothing

Although it’s nice to look nice and having multiple outfits complimenting each other isn’t bad, only bringing one or two pairs of yoga pants and a small top can make a huge difference. 

Packing light is the theme here and it applies to your clothing too; don’t go crazy and bring all your outfits with you.

Where to do Yoga

As you will swiftly discover when you arrive in your traveler’s accommodation, there is not much personal space. Your dorm room will likely be filled with people, the communal areas are largely designated for cooking, relaxing or drinking, and most of the time there won’t be a garden. This is where you have to get a little creative. If you’re in a city then head for a park and find a quiet corner, if you’re in the country then even better; find yourself a spot and get going. 

If you’re really in a jam then remember you can attend classes in studios all around the world; the spoken language may be different, the practice itself remains the same wherever you are. This is also a great opportunity to try out a different yoga style; why not try Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, or maybe even Aerial Yoga? 

When to do Yoga 

Another thing you’ll learn as you are on the road is that your days really get away from you; before you know it the sun will have set and you’ll be on the way out with people from your hostel. Days spent on the move catching buses and trains are far too hectic to squeeze in a quick stretch, so try to get into the habit of waking up half an hour earlier to do your routine. 

The fresh morning air and the gorgeous light make for an amazingly revitalizing and peaceful time to do yoga, and the time you lose in bed will quickly be squeezed from your mind; you’ll benefit from it for the rest of the day! 

The Traveling Yoga Maestro 

So there you have it, a few tips to maintain your practice whilst you travel the world. Just remember the only thing standing in your way, is you. 

There are countless stresses that you will encounter whilst you undertake the adventure of a lifetime, and yoga can help you to deal with pretty much all of them; so what are you waiting for? Hit the road and take your practice with you!

Written by Sophie Bishop