We all know that adventure travel is great for your mental health. BUT, there is no denying that international trips come with stressors. Tickets to purchase, planes (trains or automobiles) to catch, maps to navigate, foreign languages to stumble through, social norms to uphold—all while fighting jet lag?! Fortunately, there’s hope: yoga can actually help you travel smarter. Read on to learn why travel and yoga are the best combo since peas and carrots.
Yoga: It Fits In Your Suitcase
Whether it’s sore shoulders from heavy backpacks or tired feet from walking countless steps exploring a new city, traveling comes with a unique set of aches and pains. Adding daily yoga stretches to your itinerary will help your body recover after sitting on an airplane for seven hours (or after a long day of climbing the magnificent Rock Fortress of Sigiriya!).
One of the reasons yoga is so amazing (and there are many!) is because it requires no special equipment. YOU are the machine! This makes it one of the most travel-friendly workouts. And while fitness experts say that missing workouts on vacation won’t hurt your fitness goals, even light exercise—like a quick yoga sesh in the Mayan Riviera—can help you keep your tone while adventuring abroad.
If you decide to pack a yoga mat, you can find affordable travel mats that fit in your carry-on. You’ll want one that’s lightweight but also durable (so you don’t lose that strong grip!). Odds are, you won’t even need to pack a mat—most accommodations offer yoga classes and can provide mats for you.
Say “Bye, Bye” to Jet Lag
In case you haven’t heard, regular yoga practice can actually enhance your quality of sleep, (especially Hatha yoga and Yoga Nidra). But did you know that travel and yoga work together to combat that pesky little phenomenon called jet lag?
What Is “Jet Lag”?
Jet lag is when your circadian rhythm doesn’t match the local time zone. (Say what?!) In other words, you’ve just flown to France and your body thinks it’s 2 am but the local time is 10 am. Seasoned travelers will tell you to tough it out and make yourself stay awake those extra eight hours so your body gets synced up with the local time zone. As you can imagine, eight hours feels like a looooooonnnggggg time when you’re going on 36 hours without sleep!
Yoga to the Rescue!
Never fear! Dropping into a few yoga stretches can help your body sync right up, especially if you already have a yoga routine established at home. Active poses stimulate blood flow through your body and release cortisol, giving you a natural boost of energy, while gentle poses can prep your body for sleep (not that you’ll need any help with that on your first night abroad!). Travel and yoga never felt so good!
Make Culture Shock Less… Shocking
Let’s be honest: international travel—while invigorating and important for emotional growth—can also be lonely. Culture shock, which usually happens on longer trips, is the feeling of being at odds with your host culture. It builds slowly from a series of small inconveniences or events that cause you to feel disconnected and want to withdraw from social situations.
Did Someone Say, “Instant Friends”?!
Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate culture shock, including journaling, staying active, and making friends with locals. As you’ve probably noticed from your own yoga journey, yoga is a natural community-builder. What once started as a Hindu tradition in India has now become the daily practice of millions across the globe. When you put travel and yoga together, you have an instant connection to millions of people around the world! Making friends never looked so easy.
Keep Your Cool (Just Breathe!)
When it comes to travel, there’s a lot of unknowns. Sure, we can buy tickets, plan our itineraries, and book eco-friendly accommodations, but inevitably, something goes awry. There’s a long line at the currency exchange counter in the airport; you miss the bus for the hotel; the hotel loses your reservation and the only receptionist who speaks English is on leave. (You get the picture!)
A certain amount of international travel requires letting go and—you guessed it—taking a BIG. DEEP. BREATH. “Ahhhhhh!” Fortunately for you, this isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve been meditating, doing breathwork, and rocking those stress-relieving sun salutations in the months leading up to this big trip. You got this!
Are You Ready For Some Travel and Yoga?
Have we convinced you yet? Experience the magical synergy of travel and yoga by booking your next trip with The Travel Yogi. Our consciously crafted, culturally immersive itineraries take you deep into the local scene and off the beaten path. Find your perfect yoga adventure today.