Traveling naturally disrupts one’s routines. In fact, that’s one of the great parts of traveling–to experience something new, outside the ordinary. However, it’s also sometimes important for physical, mental, and/or emotional health to maintain some routines you know help you, even when everything else around you might be different.
During my recent trip to Prague, Czech Republic, I allowed myself to be on vacation. I did many things I wouldn’t normally do. And, because I knew it would keep me grounded and happy, I tried to maintain my short daily yoga practice as given by my teacher.
My current practice requires that I take several different positions with my body:
- standing (sometimes at a wall)
- lying on my back
- sitting on a chair with my thighs parallel to the floor
These positions are pretty simple when I’m at home in my own practice space. But in a small hotel room, it can be a little more challenging. For example, due to various wall hangings, windows, and furniture, I didn’t really have access to a “wall”. So I used these closet doors. They were the widest “wall-like” surface in the room, and although they sometimes slid open as I did my movements, they were the best available substitute.
Although I didn’t have a ton of space, putting down my travel mat and lying on my back wasn’t a problem. Next was sitting with thighs parallel to the floor, which honestly challenges me in general, because I’m usually too short for most chairs to do this. At home, I have yoga blocks and cushions and can adjust both the seat height and floor height easily.
But again, when in a different space one has to make do, so here was my set up. There were two firm show pillows for the bed, but those weren’t high enough for the chair. So I used another of the firmer pillows from the bed to get the right height. It was a little less stable than yoga blocks, but for the most part, it worked.
Did I practice every day? Honestly no. Did I always do all parts of my practice–asana (physical movement), pranayama (breathing practice), and meditation? No. But there was only one day I skipped altogether. Sometimes, due to all the walking, my body cried out for more asana. Other times, possibly due to jet lag, I couldn’t seem to extend my exhale. And contrary to that, consciously attempting to extend my exhalation helped me fall asleep some nights. On a night that I saw some incredible manifestations of the moon (see below), my meditations happened with more ease.
I had also brought my Ayurvedic oils with me, which helped tremendously given the dry air on the plane, in the hotel room, and being outside in the cold wind every day. I used them fairly frequently!
Was I perfect while I was away? No. Do I feel good about what I did to maintain my health and sanity while traveling to another country, during a time of increased world turmoil, handling drastic time changes, long flights, and unfamiliar sights and languages? Absolutely. I did what I was able to do, and I let the rest go. I continue to do what I can as I re-enter my more daily life routine, knowing that it will take at least a week to get fully adjusted to “normal”.
What about you? Do you struggle to keep your healthy habits when life changes around you? Do you beat yourself up when you don’t maintain your habits perfectly? The holidays can be a time of disruption for many of us, whether or not we travel. I can relate, and I’m here to help if you should need it! Feel free to share your experiences and let me know your strategies for staying true to yourself during this holiday season. And look for my stories from Prague, coming to the blog soon!