It’s summer holiday season, a time to relax, travel and break the usual routine! I love the adventure of visiting new places, picking up the language, culture and making new friends. But how to maintain your practice and feel fit and well while you're away?
Here are my tips for staying fit and healthy during your summer break.
Stay hydrated. When you’re traveling a lot it’s easy to forget to drink water, or avoid it so you don’t have to make toilet breaks. On a plane I now always book the aisle seat so I can get up and down all through the flight. I drink so much water! The getting up multiple times is also really helpful for circulation.
Try to sleep for the time zone you’re going to. Work out what the time is at your destination and start thinking in that time, if it’s night time at your destination, the cabin crew will normally dim the lights, to help you transition.
Enjoy the journey! I love traveling. The lead up to long trips especially are so emotionally charged, saying goodbye to loved ones and really present for those last few moments. You can feel the emotions in airports as people depart or, reunite at arrivals! I feel like my holiday starts at the airport, I’ll have a book with me that I’ve saved for my trip and, enjoy turning my phone off for the journey, that in itself is like a holiday!
Train and prepare. The body loves routine, so travel changes that; you eat at odd times, might eat the local cuisine and crossing time zones can challenge even the healthiest of people. So try not to exhaust yourself before your break, working or rushing right up until the last minute is pretty stressful, it’s no wonder the first few days of your break are spent napping in the sun. Digestive problems are pretty common on holiday, if you know you always get stomach upset, what can you do to support your gut before your break and, help manage symptoms if you have a flare up?
Intention and mantra. ‘I don’t get jet lag,’ ‘I feel fine,’ ‘I cope well in the heat.’ Whatever mantra you need to repeat to help you on your travels. The child kicking the back of your chair on an eight hour flight, well ‘that’s just a lovely (slightly unpredictable) back massage to send me off to sleep!’ You’ve nothing to lose in trying these mantras. And if you think about it, you use mantra all the time ‘oh gosh I’m so tired I need a coffee’ will have you reaching out to make a coffee right..?
Breathe. Delayed flights, baggage over the weight allowance, homesick and hungry are all times to practice pranayama. Super easy to breathe well when we’re having a lovely time in Yoga, but actually applying it to life is the art. I flew back from Bali after 3 days of a terrible stomach bug (I’ll spare you the details), it’s enough to know that I was so weak I could barely get my passport out of my bag to check in. The reality of 28 hours of air travel and nothing to ease my symptoms was pretty horrible, breath awareness was the only comforting thing I had on that journey.
Tried and tested!
I’ve spent years trialling what works for safe happy travels. Earlier in the year I went to visit my brother in Thailand for a week. It was a long way to go, but I love spending time with him, and was lucky enough to have the flexibility in my schedule to book a week in the sun.
I really do practice what I teach (I don’t preach). So in the run up to my time off, I looked after myself better than normal, really nourishing foods, even earlier nights, essential oils like doTERRA and told myself how much fun this was going to be. I want to teach more internationally, and when I do, I’m unlikely to have a week to chill before leading a retreat, so I will quite simply have to get my body used to travel, and what an exciting thing that is to do!
In meditations I imagined my smooth travel plans and my smug little face when people asked about the jet lag and I could honestly answer I didn’t really suffer from any. Just writing this article, sharing this gives me a smug face! I had a wonderful week away (See photo above) and I landed in the UK at 6am, and taught my first private session at 9.30am.
Travelling and going on holiday is such a wonderful opportunity to put yoga and meditation techniques into practice. It’s called ‘living vinyasa.’ Vinyasa means tuning in with the flow of life, seasons and your breath and it’s a powerful way to keep your body and mind healthy and strong.
You’ll learn more about how to ‘live vinyasa’ in my workshops in Hove and retreats. I have a free podcast of stories and guided meditations to help get you in the mood to join me on a retreat!