I have to confess that when we first started planning the trip, one of my initial thoughts was – “but what about my yoga practice!” Being on the road makes maintaining a daily practice pretty challenging. Any thoughts of making “asana progress” go out the window. I thankfully got over this mental block, remembering that I do yoga to live, rather than just living to do yoga. I want to use my practice to help me live life to the fullest, rather than being constricted and limited by it.
Far from being a hindrance, if anything our yoga practice has added an interesting dimension to our travels. We have both been keen to jump on the mat whenever we have the chance. I have to say that Ashtanga yoga really is a perfect tonic to the rigours of travel. It keeps the body strong and healthy, while releasing tension built up from bus trips, bike rides and long walks, not to mention clearing the head and giving us each a little alone time each day. The best thing is that it is free and we can do it wherever and whenever we want!
But making sure we can practice each day means we have to be a little creative when it comes to timing and location. We are only travelling with one rubber mat and one light-cotton rug, so we normally take it in shifts – like a yoga relay of passing on the mat. Most of the time we only have space for one person to practice at a time anyway. Unless we find a place with a rooftop like we did recently in Mandalay – which was a great spot until the mosquitoes came out.
Room to practice is part of the criteria we use when choosing somewhere to stay. Sometimes for me, it’s the main deciding factor. Here’s an example of a typical “room-selecting” conversation, taking place after I had viewed the room.
Roberto – did you like it?
Nea – yes it’s great, let’s take it
Roberto – does is have air-con?
Nea – Ummm not sure
Roberto – How about a fan?
Nea – oh, I didn’t check
Roberto – bathroom inside or out?
Nea – hhmmm outside I think
Roberto – how were the beds?
Nea – don’t know, didn’t try
Roberto – well why do you like it?
Nea – it’s huge – lots of place to practice!