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We are rolling through the hills of Tuscany on a high-speed train and the past few days have been filled with constant movement, little sleep, and a lot to see and do. My daily routine and down time are almost non-existent. For me, finding a time and place for a yoga practice is more important than ever with all of the stresses and challenges of traveling. The travel delays, jet lag, tight living quarters, and the push to see and do as much as possible add to the need for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Commit to practice stress management each day while you are away

When vacation time is long anticipated and much needed, a time to rest and relax from our already busy lives seems of utmost importance. Our travel plans, however, don’t always align with our overdue need to rest. We may feel even more exhausted and worn out than before we left. Often we need a vacation from our vacation when we return. In order to get the most of our travel plans, it’s important to balance our desire to travel and the challenges of maintaining healthy routines for managing stress while in the midst of travel.

1. Make a commitment to practice each day while you are away. This will help you to stay in a routine and remain focused on the time you need to care for yourself while traveling.

2. Before you leave set realistic goals. Think about how you can build in a time for practice each day and plan your activities accordingly. It may mean getting up a little earlier or starting your day a little later.

3. Do some research in advance. Look for some gentle yoga classes in the area where you plan to vacation and make it part of your trip. Most cities have several different options for classes. If you like being more spontaneous you could even ask the locals when you arrive.

4. Put your favorite relaxation or meditation practice on your iPod or phone so you can listen while you’re on the move. Using your time on planes and trains, and even in the car if your not driving, can be a way to carve out some time and make use of the travel hours. I know when I take long trips it offers me the time to do some breathing, relaxation, imagery and meditation. It can take the edge off the chaotic nature of travel and provide some deeply needed relaxation.

5. Bring something special from your stress management routine with you. These items will help you remember your daily practices and also serve as a reminder of your daily routine.

  • a small candle
  • a meditation shawl
  • a yoga mat
  • some inspirational pictures and quotes

6. Something is better than nothing. If a long practice isn’t possible, try to build in some short sessions throughout the day. When you have the routine of a regular stress management practice, using some shorter sessions while traveling can connect you to your daily practice and allow you to experience some of the deeper states of relaxation and consciousness that you experience in your everyday routine. Look for those places in the day that you can break up your practice. Maybe try some postures on the beach, or in a garden. Invite your friends and family to join you for a 15 or 20 minute stretch break. In the morning try some imagery before leaving. Imagine yourself moving through the day with a sense of openness, adventure and gratitude. Do some breathing practice while watching the sunset or meditate in a place in nature that calls you.

7. Move your yoga off the mat and out into the world. Don’t be shy. It may inspire others to get moving. Try some postures on the plane. On bigger planes you can walk the aisles and find a little spot to stop for some yoga. Do a few standing stretches or stay seated and try some chair yoga.  In addition, I found myself doing postures in the most unusual and beautiful places like at the museum, in the gardens, waiting in long lines and just walking on the streets. You never know what new and inspiring places might call you to do some practice. Be creative.

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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