It’s winter in Australia. On the east coast we’ve experienced the mildest weather in many a year. Incidentally, it’s the same temperature here as it is in the northern hemisphere summer climes of San Francisco, Cleveland and New York City.
No matter how mild the weather is, Australians have a habit of fleeing our island continent for tropical paradises as colder temperatures bite, as they inevitably do.
I’m flying off for a 5 week sojourn in the U.S. and Canada. Should I pack my yoga mat?
Have you taken your mat on your travels and never unpacked it? I for one have hauled my mat around for weeks at a time and barely used it, never mind how badly I needed it.
This is a terrible admission for a yoga teacher, and I know I’m in ‘bad’ company when I admit it.
On my last overseas trip, my body took a particularly large pounding during a long drive from the Canadian border to San Francisco. Along the way my neck cricked and cracked, compelled as I was to crane it in admiration of forest after forest of giant trees: Sitka spruces, western hemlocks, California redwoods. The Wow Factor can be wearing.
Planes and airports wreak havoc too. Sometimes travelers have to stand for lengthy periods in customs and security queues. Often there are flight delays that might eventually, sadly, culminate in cancellations.
There are other on-the -road stresses: the lack of control over dietary needs when you stay with friends or in hotels. You eat portions that are larger than you are habituated to, try exotic dishes, and eat at strange mealtimes.
I find my salvation in the occasional sanctuary of a yoga class and these days they are everywhere. On the global scene, we find yoga from the Arctic to Yemen. They may be rather unusual interpretations compared to what you’re used to, but usually the ambiance is peaceful and you will feel rehabilitated just by coming home to your body.
Speaking of homecomings, one of the YogaAnywhere cards is for recovery from travel – yoga for jet lag.
Here’s a couple of hints from the sequence:
A Simple Breathing Exercise – Upon arriving at your accommodation, find a quiet place to lie down with your legs up the wall and stay for five or ten minutes. To help you feel more grounded, observe your breath, all the while breathing completely naturally.
Supported Poses – If you find that your energy goes up and down throughout the day on which you arrive, do Supta Baddha Konasana or Setu Bandhasana for 5-10 minutes. Before, during and after the flight drink lots of fluids. Water is absolutely necessary for rehydrating.
Here are some additional common sense suggestions for post-flight recovery:
Avoid if possible looking at a screen for hours on end, be it iPhone, iPad or computer. See if you can limit activities excessive thinking, shopping or consumption of alcohol.
You can’t do better than walking on the beach or in any natural setting. Sunshine in limited exposure will help reset your bio clock. Regular meals that you cook for yourself are of course nurturing.
Best of all is home yoga practice, as much as you want, any time, even in the middle of the night. When space and time are limited, make the focus watching your breath and practising relaxation.
If you do decide to pack a mat, you might want to try one of the light weight travel mats: