Travel can be both life-changing and life-affirming. Those who get to venture off to distant lands, see exotic sights, and experience the wonders of new cultures are very lucky indeed. Of course, travelling does have its challenges.
The time-zone change that comes with long flights and constantly spending nights in different places can be very disruptive to your sleep cycle. It can also be difficult to maintain healthy habits while you’re on the go. Although you’ll surely be enjoying the exotic local fare, which can be both delicious and nutritious, you’ll probably find yourself eating fast food on several occasions. What’s more, keeping up with your regular fitness routine can be almost impossible. You’ll be creating the memories of a lifetime, and lifting weights or running on the treadmill at the gym won’t likely be among those memories.
Fortunately, there’s one fitness routine that fits in perfectly with travel: yoga. All you need is a flat surface, a mat, and your body. Practicing yoga for just a few minutes a day will keep you fit and allow you to relax and breathe amidst all the wonderful chaos of travel.
The many benefits of yoga for travellers include:
Proper alignment and reduced back pain
– Many yoga poses gently stretch out your back and abdominal muscles, while also strengthening these areas. These muscles allow you to maintain proper skeletal alignment and posture, making yoga the ideal solution to the back pain that often comes along with sitting in transit for many hours.
- Recommended pose: Cat-Cow
– A long flight to the other side of the world can cause serious jet lag, and sleeping in a different bed every night often compounds the problem. Yet again, yoga offers a solution. Research has demonstrated that yoga leads to longer, higher-quality sleep.
- Recommended pose: Restorative Bridge
– Travelling can sometimes be stressful, and yoga gives your mind a much-needed break. When you practice yoga, all of your attention is acutely focused on your breath and your body. This is a form of mindfulness meditation. The deep relaxation that comes with yoga causes your body to lower its production of cortisol – our main stress hormone. After a yoga session, your body and mind will feel relaxed and revitalised.
- Recommended pose: Child’s Position
– Some of the more active yoga postures are excellent for stimulating blood flow. This increased flow of blood to your brain and organs will give you a boost of energy – just what you need before a long day of exciting activities.
- Recommended pose: Locust
Better strength and flexibility
– Yoga both stretches and exercises just about every muscle in the human body. Over time, you will notice a marked increase in both your flexibility and your strength. This will give you a greater range of motion and the ability to accomplish strenuous physical feats. So, if you’re looking to do some rock climbing, skiing, surfing, or white-water rafting, hitting the yoga mat first is always a smart decision.
- Recommended pose for strength: Dolphin Plank
- Recommended pose for flexibility: Warrior
In travel and in life, challenges are bound to arise. With a fit body and a sharp mind, we can meet those challenges head on, overcome them, and become stronger and wiser in the process. Throughout the many highs and occasional lows that come with travel, yoga will allow you to enjoy precious moments of solitude and serenity. These moments will make the wild adventures ahead all that much more enjoyable and memorable. So, while you’re packing your bags, don’t forget to stash in that yoga mat.