One of the biggest challenges for Kundalini yoga students in committing to a 40-day (or longer) sadhana, or daily yoga practice, is finding not just the time to do it, but also a place. This issue becomes even more difficult if you’re away from home on travel or vacation. Since missing a day entails starting over at day 1, when you’re on day 80 of a 90-day sadhana skipping a practice just isn’t an option! What steps can you take to commit to your Kundalini yoga practice?
Here are a few easy tips to help you keep up:
Be flexible with your time.
If your favorite time for your personal sadhana is the first thing in the morning or right before bed, tune into your new rhythm while you’re away from home to see if those times still fit into your schedule. I know that when I visit friends, I’m often up later than normal socializing, so I make sure to fit in time for my bedtime sadhana sometime during the day. Find a break in the routine for your yoga practice: during a rest from touring, when the kids are taking a nap, or before sitting down to a meal.
Budget your time and stick with it.
Have you ever had that sudden realization just as your head hits the pillow that the day got away and your sadhana didn’t happen? While this can happen at any time during our busy lives, when we’re away from home, the days seem to just fly by and yoga time may come and go without us even noticing. Make a commitment to stick with your yoga practice and carve out the time as you make your travel plans. If you’re afraid you won’t find space during the day, set your alarm 45 minutes earlier than normal and do your daily practice with the sunrise. Or if staying with friends, offer to cook a meal in exchange for someone else cleaning up, so you can slip away for your practice while the others are busy. Take your commitment seriously and discuss it with your friends and family so they know what to expect.
I find that I have to tap into some creative solutions when I’m traveling so I can keep up with my practice. Look for a quiet place to meditate, or invent one. Once I found myself sitting in a small patch of green under a tree….in the middle of a parking lot outside a hotel! Sometimes it’s fun to invite travel companions to join you in your sadhana. If they don’t have a daily yoga practice, maybe this will inspire them to start.
Let go of self-consciousness.
Another challenge with keeping up with a daily yoga practice on the road is “meditating in public”. It may seem odd to those who are nearby, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do! On my flight back from Summer Solstice last week, I knew that if I didn’t do my practice, I risked arriving home at midnight and being too tired to sit on my mat for an hour. So I took out my iPod, plugged in my headphones, and just tuned in to vibrate the cosmos while cruising at 30,000 feet! I was oblivious to whatever interested glances came my way (though the flight attendant did pose some tentative questions when I was finished), but I’m sure the vibrations that I generated were felt throughout the entire plane. Think of it as sharing the wealth.
So don’t be daunted by travel plans. Start your 40-day sadhana today and stick with it through your summer vacation. You will probably find that the time that you devote to your sadhana is returned multi-fold in both quality and quantity of your vacation time.
Do you need some suggestions as to good traveling meditations? Here are some of my personal favorites:
Laya Yoga Meditation is one that I come back to time and time again. You can find a detailed description of it in “Introduction to Kundalini Yoga” by Gururattan Kaur Khalsa, and download the beautiful soundtrack by Sat Kartar.
“Strengthening the Stomach” is a short and powerful kriya in the Owner’s Manual for the Human Body. This set is bound to get you energized in the morning and keep you going throughout a busy travel day.
If all else fails, commit to 11 minutes of One Minute Breath. This deeply restorative pranayam will keep you on track even in the midst of travel chaos!