I hit the gym most evenings after work before I became a full time traveler. While this was a perfectly enjoyable way to spend a few hours by myself and unwind at the end of a long day (especially on cold winter nights where exercising outside in the dark had absolutely no appeal), it quickly became either impossible or too expensive once I started traveling to far flung destinations. It also made no sense to trap myself in an air conditioned room with all this warm and wonderful tropical nature around me to use as a playground. The answer came organically: yoga.
I had already dabbled in yoga and knew enough to get by doing my own routine daily, so when I left Montreal 19 months ago to go travel the world, I made sure to bring a mat. And this is all I ever needed.
To me, yoga is the perfect travel buddy: it’s free, requires minimal equipment and can be done anywhere, at any time. I also think that this kind of flexibility training should be on any traveler’s agenda, as long hours sitting in commute and walking with large backpacks and suitcases can leave your body aching and feeling very tight in a short matter of time. Yoga allows my body to stay limber and healthy during long journeys, but it also does so much more than that. I have found that the inner journey I have embarked on with my yoga practice is making the outer journey so much more.
I did yoga before I started to travel for the physical benefits, but as my practice deepened over the last year, it started to have a transformative effect on my body, mind and soul, and quickly became a daily opportunity to take time out from the backpacker hubbub and reconnect with myself. I use this time to acknowledge how grateful I am for this wonderful adventure I am able to live and let go of all that no longer serves me. The physical act of daily yoga practice has evolved into a powerful healing and empowering tool and I discovered strengths inside of me I didn’t even know existed. I became more in tune with everything and I feel this is serving me so much in appreciating all of the wonderful experiences I am living right now. It even took me all the way to India this past February where I took my practice to the next level and completed my yoga teacher training, a new string to my bow that now allows me to work anywhere in the world and share my experience with others.
Yoga and travel truly are two peas in a pod: yoga is where both of my journeys meet. It allows me to feel more vibrant and enjoy my travels better. No matter what kind of journey you are on, why not bring along an open mind and your yoga practice? You might find peace in the unknown as you delve within yourself and reap all the physical benefits from the practice. And at the end of the journey when you get home, it might give you the inspiration to live your life more beautifully, or turn your life around and leave for a brand new adventure!
This article was originally published on Matt & Nat’s blog