I don’t have to tell you it’s winter in Australia. On the east coast we’ve experienced mild weather, then bitter cold, and even snowfall where there isn’t meant to be any. 

No matter what the winter weather is like, Australians have a habit of fleeing our island continent for tropical paradises as the chilly temperatures bite.

In a short time, I’m leaving for a sojourn in the U.S. I’ll land in Los Angeles and then catch a flight to Tucson, Arizona where the temperature will be 37 degrees.

After a 24 hours of airports and flying, I will sorely need a yoga practice. So, I’m wondering, should pack my yoga mat?

Have you taken your mat on your travels and never unpacked it? I have. 

I know, I know. This is a shocking admission for a yoga teacher who frequently advertises her unflagging dedication to practice.

It’s not as though I won’t need to put myself on a yoga mat over the weeks I’m travelling . I have a 70 year old body that needs daily maintenance. Hanging about airports and airplane flights wreak havoc on our bodies. But there are other on-the-road stresses, for instance, 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 odd mealtimes.

while I’m travelling, I look forward to finding the occasional sanctuary of a yoga class. Fortunately, these days they are everywhere. On the global scene, we find yoga from the Arctic to Yemen. They may be very different interpretations of what you’re used to, but usually the ambiance is peaceful. No doubt we experience  feeling rehabilitated just by coming home to our bodies.

Speaking of homecomings, I designed a yoga practice for recovery from jet lag a couple of years ago. Here are a couple of hints from that 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 ten minutes or so. Taking even a short time to observe your breath will make you feel grounded. 

Supported Poses – If you find that your energy goes up and down throughout the day on which you arrive, do Supta Baddha Konasana and/or Setu Bandhasana for 5-10 minutes. Before, during and after the flight drink lots of fluids. Water is absolutely necessary for rehydrating.

restorative-yoga-props

Here are some additional common sense suggestions for speedy 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 which require 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 body clock. Regular meals, especially if you can cook for yourself, will also contribute to an even keel.

Best of all is home yoga practice, as much as you want, any time, even in the middle of the night, if needed. When space and time are limited, make the focus watching your breath and practising relaxation.

I’ve ended up not packing my mat for this trip, and I’ll keep you posted on whether I can keep up my practice.