With the great and many joys that come along with traveling, there is one constant downside no matter where you go – the act of traveling puts your body in some awkward positions. I’ve never flown first class, so I don’t know for certain, but I would think that even a first class flight leaves the body a little weary. So, if you are jetting off to Tokyo from the US, so you can hop another plane to Bangkok, so that you can rest for the night and then take a smaller plane to the south of Thailand, you can probably expect that there will be some kinks in your muscles – even if your travel is without them. But you’re on vacation right? You aren’t going to bother with the gym or with caring about working out – what could be done anyways?
Yes, you are on vacation; but, you will enjoy it much much more if you aren’t being bothered by the weird crick in your neck that you gave yourself by awkwardly falling asleep with your head on a stranger’s shoulder while drooling. Plus, just because you get to your destination, doesn’t mean you will suddenly be whisked away into luxury (well, maybe for some trips). Most people don’t sleep that well outside of their own beds with their perfect concoction of bedding, numbers of pillows, pillow firmness, mattress pliability, etc. Yes, the majority of us sleep like a princess – that is, the Princess and the Pea – when we are away from home. Plus during the day you might be kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, or some other activity that may add to your aches. Even if you are “just” sight-seeing, standing and walking around all day will take it’s toll too. Let’s face it, we’re not all spring chickens anymore. But…
An easy solution to all of the muscle aches that go along with travel is yoga! Yoga can be done in your room with little to no equipment (maybe some yoga paws – seriously, I want some of these!) and will help you stretch out your weary body. Or get outside – you can do yoga on the beach, at your camp, on a mountain, wherever!
Plus, you can do as much or as little as you think you need. Even just a quick 10-15 minute session will have you feeling awesome and ready to start your new day of adventures. Or you can do it at night as a way to unwind and relax.
If you are new to yoga, don’t be nervous. There is yoga for all levels and most dvds will let you know of ways you can modify moves to make them a little easier. And you do NOT need to be flexible – yoga will help you increase your flexibility.
In the context of yoga for traveling, it will help your body undo the feeling of being cramped in a tiny space for hours while en route to your latest destination, will take that weird kink out of your back, or ease your muscles after a bumpy ride down a mountain.
My favorite yoga dvds are the Gaiam dvds with Rodney Yee, but there are many dvds out there. If you don’t know what you will want, check them out from the library, borrow from a friend or try them on Netflix. There are also tons of yoga apps that you can download on your phone.
My advice is to find a yoga dvd that works for you and either pack it with you or write down the moves so that you can practice them on your own while you travel. Again, just a few minutes a day goes a long, long way. It will help you relax, re-group, re-align, and undo any damage that the trains, planes & automobiles may be doing to your body. Seriously, I even do office yoga at my horrible cubicle to help keep my posture up and my muscles happy.
On a side note: last night I finally tried something I’ve been wanting to try for years now – bikram! My friend Sheridan has been going to a bikram studio near my house and I tagged along with her to last nights 6PM session. Bikram is a type of hot yoga done in a room heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s 90 minutes long and is comprised of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Many of the poses I had done in other dvds before, but the addition of the heat is another ballgame! You seriously sweat buckets. I will say that it was both tiring and invigorating! Perhaps a good way to detox when you come back from your next vacation…