If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, chances are it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer. For many of us, this is when we slow down and take time to enjoy longer days, hotter weather and more outdoor activities. Summer is also a time when many destinations hit peak tourist season. If you’re a yogi, chances are that you’ve thought about how to incorporate your practice into your summer travel plans. Of course, there are a multitude of retreats, workshops and trainings that put yoga at the center of summer travel, but if you’re going on a vacation that’s not so yoga-centric, it can be hard to find time to practice. Whatever your approach to summer travel, there’s a way to make your yoga practice a part of it. Here are some ways to integrate asana into your summer plans, whatever they might be.
When in Rome
If you’re traveling to another city (or even a smaller town) in your own country or abroad, chances are there’s a yoga studio open in your destination. Checking out local studios while you’re traveling gives you a chance to connect with people in a place where you might not know anyone. It’s also a great time to try a new style of yoga and practice with new teachers. Traveling helps us break out of old routines and try new things, so this is a perfect time to extend this to your practice. Most studios rent or loan mats, so you can choose to lighten your travel load and leave your mat at home. And if you’re traveling to a foreign country where you don’t know the language, don’t assume you can’t take a class. One of the best classes I ever took was taught in Italian (with Christiane Piano of Breathe Como) and that was half the fun of it.
Summer is a perfect time to get outside, and city parks are a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle that can sometimes accompany even restful vacations. Many communities host summer yoga programs in municipal parks to bring yogis together for outdoor practices. Typically held on the weekends, these classes feature local and visiting teachers, and are run by individual studios or larger organizations like Yoga Rocks the Park. You may even find a local musician providing accompaniment for your flow. It’s also likely that any cost you incur will be for a good cause: many of these classes are donation-based or contribute a part of the entry price to charity.
You can take it with you
Whether you’re stuck in the airport or on a multi-day roadtrip, your practice can come with you. Even if there’s no studio around for miles, take advantage of what amentities do exist. Many airports and hotels are now recognize the importance of practicing on the go by designating areas for practice and even hosting classes. If you don’t have access to a designated practice space, don’t give up. Pull your mat out at a rest stop and do a few sun salutations on the lawn. Poses like cat/cow (also called Cat Tilt Pose and Dog Tilt Pose), Child’s Pose, and Forward Fold (Uttanasana) will ease an aching back. Prayer squats, Supine Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana) and other hip openers are great if you’re feeling tight in your hips and glutes after a long day of driving.
Do yoga all day, dance all night
While there are a number of summer festivals where yoga is the focus, you’ll probably find a yoga class or two on the schedule at many festivals that don’t explicitly cater to yogis. The audience for music and yoga festivals often overlaps, and music festival organizers now frequently incorporate yoga and other wellness activities into their lineup. Don’t forget to pack your mat for festivals like these.
Remember you can practice anywhere
Luckily, yoga doesn’t require a lot of gear. All you need to practice yoga is level ground and a mat. Yoga mats are made to be portable, but if you’re hoping to keep your luggage to a minimum, consider getting a superlight travel mat, which often weigh less than 3 lbs. Or invest in a travel mat bag, like Manduka’s Roadtripper, which can fit a mat and plenty of other stuff. And don’t worry about packing your favorite yoga clothes unless you absolutely want to—yoga doesn’t really care what pants you’re wearing when you’re in Downward Facing Dog.
What tips do you have for practicing on the go?