1. Bring the “Best Of”s
Whether your regular practice is solo or in a class, you have your favorite poses. Those are the ones you want to bring with you. Vacation is all about fun –let playfulness be your guide, as you let your body move you into those poses that you love the most. Try to include at least a few minutes of meditation. Pick a meditation you really enjoy, to infuse your soul with joy to start the day. Two I love that can be done for just three minutes if that’s all you have time for are “Meditation to Open the Heart,”(see video below) and “Meditation for a Calm Heart.” (Found in Kundalini Yoga by Shakta Kaur.)
2. Travel-ready Kriyas
If you think you’ll have a little extra time with your mornings, you may want to bring along a few kriyas. “Healthy Bowels Kriya” (from Art & Yoga, below) is a great one, and a must for time-zone hopping. Its slow movements are sure to ease you into that slower vacation pace, while getting your system back on schedule. Another kriya I love to take on my travels is “Essence of Self.” (Also in Art & Yoga.) This kriya is short enough to easily memorize if you start practicing a few days before you leave. When away from home, whether experiencing new people, sights, and adventures, or visiting family, it’s important to remember who you are, and tap into that source of your higher Self.
3. Be a Yoga Tourist
Discover what types of yoga classes the area has to offer. You may be able to take a class in a new style or one not available at home. I have fond memories of my first ever Ashtanga class I took on a trip to Vermont. Some hotels now offer yoga classes, and a few airports even provide a space for yoga. Ask the front desk or your realtor about what’s available for yoga options.
4. Create a Space to Practice
No room in the suitcase for your mat? No need. See what different sensations you feel when you alter your typical practice and go mat and props-free. Discover the joy of improvising. I have found some interesting, and often beautiful spaces to practice while on vacation. With a little creativity, you can too. If you’re in a hotel, can you re-arrange the furniture to create a little yoga nook? You can download onto your phone a few of your favorite calming tunes to really create the ambiance. Find yourself in tight quarters with a sleeping family? Why not take it outside or on the porch? Vacationing at the beach? There’s no better place to practice than on the sand. You’ll never look at sun salutations quite the same way after performing some with the sun rising (or setting) over the ocean. If the weather isn’t the best for outdoor yoga, try it anyway. I’ve bundled up in layers and winter cap for an amazing sunrise practice on the rocky shore of Acadia National Park in November. I’ve even done a day of a 40-day meditation on top of a picnic bench in the rain on a camping trip. Both were joyful experiences that allowed me to deepen my commitment and view my practice in a new light.
5. Create a Time to Practice
Decide before you go when a good time to practice will be, and stick with it. Often it is worth getting up a little early to have those few quiet moments with yourself and your practice. You’ll be able to bring so much more to the day, and to those around you. Or take a different approach. Who may like to join you? Vacation is the time for trying new things. Maybe you can talk a family member into giving yoga a try for the first time.
6. Be Open and Forgiving with Yourself (and Others)
Most importantly, allow for an altered practice. There’s no need to push yourself. After all, you’re on vacation! If interruptions happen, embrace them as part of the experience. Vacations can open you up to new experiences; why not let them happen in your yoga practice as well?