Taking your at-home yoga practice on the road is easier than you might think.
I love home yoga, it’s convenient, helps me stay fit and gives my mind a break for half an hour or so every day. But what happens when I have to travel for work or go on vacation? You guessed it – I take my practice with me.
A few years ago my husband and I went on an overseas trip for 7 weeks. (Oh the memories – thanks Covid!) At the time, I was about 1 year into my at-home yoga journey and had established a really good routine. I feared that if I ditched it for the entire holiday I’d not only undo all the good I’d done in 12 months, I’d have to start all over again when we got back. Knowing how hard it can be to form a healthy daily habit, I didn’t want to have to go through that period again.
The first thing I did was look for a travel yoga mat.
I found the lightest mat with excellent reviews and ordered online. This mat weighs just a couple of pounds, folds up neatly into a small rectangle and sits in the bottom of my suitcase without taking up too much space. It’s now the mat I take with me whenever I don’t have room for my regular mat.
Here is how I take my at-home yoga practice on the road.
Pack a yoga mat
I can always do yoga without a mat but I find that when I pack one, I’m more likely to fit it into my schedule. After all, if I’m going take it with me, I might as well use it, right?
If I’m travelling by car and have room, I’ll take my regular 6mm yoga mat. It’s the one I’m used to and the most comfortable by far.
However if I need to minimize luggage, I’ll pack my compact travel mat instead. It’s a lot thinner and harder on my body but there are ways to compensate for that which I’ll discuss later.
Allocate a yoga space when you arrive
Personally I’m not a gym person so even if my accommodation has the best gymnasium ever built, you won’t find me in there. If you do enjoy gyms and there is one close by with room to spare, then there’s no reason not to use it.
When I’m in a hotel room, I’ll try to find some floor area big enough to unroll my mat. I’m yet to come across a room that’s too small but if I did, I’d use the bed to bust out a few moves.
During my trip we spent a week on a cruise ship and there was just enough room in the cabin at the end of the bed to lay my mat. It was a bit tight for some poses but I was able to adjust my routine to compensate.
If I’m staying in an apartment or holiday home, there are usually more options. I can practice in my room, outside on the balcony or next to the pool.
Make adjustments for your thin travel yoga mat
If you’ve ever used one you will know that travel yoga mats are extremely thin and not at all comfortable. But don’t let this deter you.
I fold up a towel and use as extra padding for kneeling poses. Gel knee pads are even better so remember to pack these too, if you have them.
When I’m lying on my back, I like to use a folded towel behind my head for extra cushioning.
Be flexible with your yoga schedule
Vacations are often busier than normal everyday life so although I prefer to allocate a set time for my yoga, I know that it won’t always work out. Be flexible with your practice time and go with the flow.
If there are days when I can’t find time or energy for the mat then that’s perfectly ok. I’ve probably been physically active in other ways and could do with a break. Always remember to be kind to yourself!
Be mindful about yoga mat hygiene
The floor in any accommodation is potentially a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria and my yoga mat is going to be lying on top of whatever nasties are hiding there.
Sometimes if there is a spare towel I’ll place it underneath my mat as a barrier. If not, I make sure to wipe down the back of the mat thoroughly before packing it away.
It’s also a good idea to roll up (or fold) with a clean towel laying on top, to avoid both sides of the mat touching.
If I’m going away for more than a couple of days, I might take some mat cleaner with me, to make things easier.
In the past I’ve never been a person who would exercise away from home. Fitness was the last thing on my list of things to do. But things have changed. Both mind and body look forward to my daily downward dog and sun salutations. Now yoga on the road feels normal and at the end of the day, I know that it’s something positive that I’m doing for myself.
But you still won’t find me anywhere near a gym.
Namaste and happy travelling.