As an instructor, yoga-speak goes on in my mind throughout the day. This doesn't magically stop when I travel, so I tend to bring the lessons from my mat out into the world with me. I discovered they have become invaluable instruction on ways to live my life, especially on the road. Here are some of the most significant pieces of wisdom to keep with you when you go.
There is a reason we yogis are avid and adept travelers. Travelers and yogis understand the benefit of letting go; the importance of being able to surrender to the flow and the present opportunities as they arise. Travelers and yogis have the ability to get lost in their breath, in the moment and take one step at a time on their way into a challenging new asana, a homestay in Bali that offers a much needed cup of tea or to the platform just in time to make the next train to Rishikesh. When you live in the moment and surrender to what’s happening on your mat or on the next step of your journey, you always seem to end up exactly where you need to be.
Listen to Your Body
Listen to your gut instincts on the road just as you do at the studio. When your body says stop, back off and re-asses the position or situation. When you are attuned to your physical body, you can easily find that sweet spot where there is both comfort and challenge. Your body knows when a situation doesn't feel right and there is always an opportunity to pause and pay attention and then move only to the extent your body and intuition allow. Disregard what is happening around you. Go within, bring awareness to your own body or situation and choose your movements accordingly.
Find Your Center
It is unwise to make decisions as you travel or move further into asana if you are out of balance. You must first root down, find your connection to your center and then progress. When you make decisions out of balance, the repercussions or movements afterwards will never feel quite right. You won’t be able to feel grounded or fully comfortable with where you are until you find balance and an even footing.
Tune Into Your Breath
There are many overwhelming moments for the traveler, regardless of yogi/yogini status. Whether you are surrounded by noise and foreign language, unable to communicate your need for a taxi or sticking out like a sore thumb while standing shoulder to shoulder on a steamy bus, it’s important to know how to connect to your breath. Somehow (even on a hot, steamy bus) a deep breath in and a sigh out will help release the tension of the moment. Breathe it all in, let it all go, re-center and go to that safe, comfortable place within.
Find your edge and Know Your Limitations
We are faced with fear and limitations every day on our mats and in our lives. It’s important to feel and acknowledge that fear and get a sense for your limits. Take a deep breath, come right up against those limits and then fold into them. Become comfortable in your furthest limit and then prepare to go deeper as your practice or trip evolves. It’s also important to know when you are at your edge and when your body is saying stop. Push the envelope, but do not go past the point of no return. There is a fine line and the tuned in yogi knows when to challenge herself and when to let up and rest.
Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, a new studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged Pacific Northwest coast. You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.