"Paradise isn't a place. It's a feeling" ~ L. Boyer
5 strategies to enjoy the journey.
In yoga, we stress the importance of honoring your place in the practice. Each person is different, each level is valid and each moment in practice solidifies the foundation of the entire practice. As teachers, we want our students to bring integrity to each pose, no matter how small it may seem. We don’t practice for that crazy inversion at the end of class, we practice because we progress and grow throughout even the short amount of time on our mat, and that is a very integral to our practice.
When we travel, we often have our eyes set on the destination. The warm beaches we’ve been craving during the winter cold, the rural views our city landscapes have been missing. We search for the shortest flight times with the least amount of layovers, and we pray that nothing goes wrong in the “in-between.”
It’s understandable, and all of us are guilty for thinking this way. With all the travel we do with Exhale, we’ve learned to find comfort in that in-between and actually find ourselves excited for the monotonous airport sounds and long hours of gazing out of tiny windows. These are the moments we find an odd sense of calmness, reflection and stillness, and this is what we do to enjoy the journey.
We all know that perfectly packing your pack is very important, but we’ve made tons of little mistakes over the years! After you have all your items in your bag the way that works best for you, it’s important to utilize the smaller, outer pockets. This is where you can place your boarding pass and passport for easy access. If you’re checking your larger pack, take these recommendations for your carry-on. We also recommend using an outer pocket for your wallet and ID, but one that might be harder for pick-pocketers to reach!
Let’s not forget about the water bottle pocket outside of most packs or in your carry-on. Go to the airport with an empty bottle and fill it after security. Once on your flight, ask an attendant to fill your bottle to avoid wasting plastic cups.
Here are a list of items to double-check you’ve packed in your carry-on before you go!
- headphones and the proper chargers you might need for any electronics
- pillow, eye mask, and/or earplugs
- toothbrush and toothpaste*
- contact case with solution* and glasses
- healthy snacks
- pen – depending on where you travel, you might have to fill out immigration or customs forms – it always helps to be prepared with your own pen!
*check your specific airline for solution sizes permitted for carry-on travel.
2. Prepared Entertainment
Along with packing your necessities and comforts, it helps to come prepared with various entertainment. This can mean different things for different people.
For one, making sure you update your music selection or downloading playlists off Spotify so you can listen to them while offline is certain to keep you occupied. Having these playlists downloaded can also be key when staying in places with poor WiFi connection. I recommend downloading podcasts or lectures to change up your focus as well.
It’s also important to pack books or update your Kindle selection with the kind of stories that will resonate with you during this journey. Amazon now has a free Kindle app you can download on your phone or lab top!
Some of our favorites are the philosophical and inspirational guidance through the darker moments of life with Thich Nhat Hanh in No Mud, No Lotus. If you’ve been toying around with the idea of opening a business abroad and becoming an ex-patriot, Ryan Spiegel’s entertaining stories and experienced advice in Travel Deeper: A Globetrotter’s Guide to Starting a Business Abroad will make you feel confident in your business dreams.
3. Comfortable Clothing
Most of us yogis already know how to dress comfortably, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded! What’s key in differing climates and airplane temperatures is to be prepared with multiple layers. Wearing your warmer layer like a sweater can also open up space in your pack.
Yoga pants are always a great option for comfort and differing temperatures. Most of them are designed for heated classes, so they’ll stay breathable even in the humid heat of some of your destinations. If you’re traveling from a colder part of the globe, wear your heaviest shoes while in the transition and have a pair of sandals in your carry-on to be ready for the warmer weather when you land.
4. In-Flight Strategies
1. First and foremost, drink a peppermint tea before boarding or early on in the flight. I realize this might not sound the most important, but trust us! A teabag is easy to pack in your carry on, and asking for hot water is usually free. Peppermint tea will help you stay hydrated and aid in digestion. Our bodies are taken out of their normal routine when we travel, so it helps to be proactive.
2. You also can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of filing on an airplane, but keep a few major tips in mind. While waiting at your gate, make sure you’ve already moved any items from your larger bag to your smaller bag that you might need during the flight. If you only have one bag as a carry-on, perfect! If not, be ready to stuff your larger pack in the overhead compartment so you won’t have to fumble through your pack to find a book or phone charger during the flight.
It also helps to sit in a seat that’s appropriate to your behavior during the flight. If you’re on an early or late flight and your eyes are having a difficult time staying open, try to utilize a window seat. If you’re feeling motivated, awake and prepared with endless amount of activities, choose a middle or aisle seat. This way you can be sure to move around if you need to stretch your legs or use the bathroom. It also helps so someone next to you can feel comfortable asking to move by you as they get up to move around. We’ve all felt bad for poking the person next to us out of slumber just so we can move by them.
Remember it’s ok to be vocal about the seating arrangements. If you’re feeling rather awake but have been assigned a window seat, ask the people next to you if they’d actually prefer it. Sometimes people will be more than happy to switch seats.
If you’re feeling yourself dozing off for nap, go ahead and loosely buckle your seatbelt. This way if the place hits some turbulence, a flight attendant won’t have to nudge you awake to buckle up.
4. The Power of Yoga
It’s difficult for us to break away from the comfort of the space our mat provides. In truth, being confined to a seat on an airplane or the buzz of airports is actually a perfect challenge for us yogis. These environments challenge us to be creative and use the space we are allotted.
Being cooped up is also sure to stiffen our bodies and make us feel aches and pains. Find a spot and move your body. It can just be a couple simple yoga poses to help loosen up stiff muscles or some dance moves. Your body will thank!