8 ways to take your practice with you, wherever you are.
My lifestyle is not one which lends itself to regular anything. I’ve spent the last 18 years – my entire working life – touring with bands as a sound engineer. It’s a way of life I love, and I’m so grateful to have seen a lot of the world in this way. But it’s also a lot of hard work (the backstage side of the music business is NOT glamorous, trust me!) and it’s a lot of time away from home and loved ones. It’s hard to stay grounded, and it was something that was missing for me until I discovered yoga.
When I fell in love-at-first-downdog with yoga, I knew I had to make this wonderful practice a part of my everyday life. But how to do that when I’m never home? Here’s what I’ve learnt since then – I hope it helps you to reap the benefits of yoga wherever you find yourself.
1 – Your mat is a little piece of home. If your regular mat is on the heavy side, treat yourself to one of the many lightweight travel mats available, in a colour you love. When you pitch up in your hotel or wherever you’re staying for the night, make unrolling it the first thing you do. Rearrange the furniture if need be (but put it back again when you leave – good karma towards the person re-making the room!) and create your sacred space. If your mat is sitting there ready, you’ll be much more inspired to sit on it, take Savasana, breathe, stretch and see what unfolds.
2 – Download some classes or sign up to Yogaglo. If you’re relatively new to yoga, practising alone can be daunting – and even if you have a confident self-practice, it’s sometimes nice to mix it up and get re-inspired by different teachers.
3 – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to do a full hour-plus practice or it’s not worth it. It’s better to do 20 minutes every other day than a 2 hour mega-session infrequently. Of course it’s great to do longer if you can – but anything is better than nothing, and frequency is key. Once I realised this, my practice blossomed.
4 – Put your yoga clothes on. Practicing asana-in-pyjamas can be tempting when you’re alone, but you’ll get your legs tangled up, you’ll wish you had a sports bra on when you go upside-down and get a face full of boob (ok guys, you escape that one!), and putting the same gear on that you’d wear in class helps to get your head in the right space.
5 – Live your yoga. Coming to the mat is only one part of a yoga practice – can you honour the yamas such as non-violence and non-possessiveness, and niyamas such as contentment and discipline, in your everyday life?
6 – So now you have that little piece of home right there when you wake up in the morning…. why not sit on it before you do anything else, and take 10 deep, full breaths to start the day? Or download a meditation timer app and get the habit of starting the day with a few minutes just observing the flow of your breath?
7 – And at night, why not lie back on that mat, maybe take your legs up the wall to soothe tired feet, and follow a guided meditation. There are lots of podcasts and Youtube guided relaxations of many different lengths available, and it’s a wonderful way to aid restful sleep.
8 – Some days you’re just not going to be feeling it – and that’s ok. Lie on your mat and simply take a few minutes blissful Savasana. But then maybe, just maybe, you’ll hug your knees into your chest and have a little roll around to massage your spine. Take a gentle twist, dropping your knees to each side. Ooh, feels pretty good actually. Maybe I’ll just do a few minutes…..