Tips for practicing yoga on travels

Since I started yoga, I’ve been local studios the place I traveled. I think it is a unique way of enjoying the local yoga scene, place and people as well as releasing tensions from the flights.

Here are my tips to enjoy yoga on a journey.

  1. Travel yoga mat is useful; travel yoga mat is much thinner than the normal yoga mat. It is light and easy to carry around. I prefer travel yoga mat than yoga towel for travel because it could be troublesome washing the yoga towel while travelling.
  2. Research before you are on the road; you can find a local studio once you get to your destination, but enough research helps you to plan your travel and find the yoga place suits you or interesting to you. For example, when I was staying in London, I was able to find a popular meditation studio by researching in advance.
  3. Self-practice in the hotel room with yoga lesson platform; when I go to business trip, it is hard to have a time to go to a studio. In such case I use a yoga lesson platform for self-practice. These days there are great yoga lesson platforms as well as Youtube. One of great self-practice I did was in Paris – my hotel room has a spacious balcony with the view of Paris city.
  4. Have a open mind and be curious; every studio, teachers have their own yoga and teaching style and it could be very new to you. That’s the charm of practicing yoga in different places so be open – you will learn something new from your usual practices.

Fascia and yoga

My interest in fascia started from a myofascial release workshop I happened to join a year ago. Since I’ve enjoyed several physical exercises (weight training, yoga, cycling and climbing), sometimes I had a pain in different parts of body and I wanted to know what ways to ease those pains.

So what is fascia? Fascia is the body’s connective tissue. It’s a head-to-toe, inside-to-out, all-encompassing, and interwoven system of fibrous connective tissue found throughout the body. It provides a framework that helps support and protect individual muscle groups, organs, and the entire body.

Myo refers to muscle; myofascia is the network of fascia involved in musculoskeletal functions and health and it influences how signals of sensation (like pain) travel from your body to your brain. Fascia becomes sticky, clumpy, tight, and flaky and forms restrictions, adhesions, and distortions by bad postures, overusing or injury of muscle or unhealthy diets and it creates pain in the body.

Yoga asanas can help releasing and strengthening fascia and we can design a fascia release yoga class with tennis balls or massage balls. Some of effective asanas releasing fasica are Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose), Ardha Matsyendrasana variation.

Aromatherapy and Yoga

I saw some teachers use aroma oils for students and I found that aromatherapy is complementary to yoga; it helped relaxation in Yin yoga and at the end of asana practice as well as boosting energy. From my research, historically and scientifically aromatherapy makes synergy with asana practices and brings mental & physical benefits.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, one way to balance and the body’s chakras is using essential oils and asana. Also, modern science says
using essential oils for asana practice balances the autonomic nervous system and help reach hormonal homeostasis.

For yoga teachers, there are several ways to apply aromatherapy and it’s recommended to be aware of characteristic and benefits of each aroma oil.

  • Ask students if anyone is allergic to the oils. Pass oils around at the beginning of class and have students rub them on their feet, temples, or the backs of their necks.
  • Spritz an essential oil blend throughout the space at the beginning and end of class
  • Diffuse oils in the space throughout class
  • Rub oils on students’ feet or temples during savasana
  • Create a purifying oil blend for students to spray on their mats after classs

<5 types of aroma oils>
1. Stabilizing, meditative, and centering: Sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, and cedarwood
2. Detoxing and breathing: Peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary
3. Calming and relaxing: Lavender, geranium, and chamomile
4. Positivity and joy: Bergamot, lemon, and orange
5. Promoting transcendence, connection to others: Neroli, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and rose

What yoga means to me

In 2015 Autumn, I left Korea and started my life in Singapore. Without my family and friends, everything was new to me and it was not easy to fit myself into a new life. After work, I din’t want to talk to my flatmates because I felt so tired of speaking in English. At that time I went to a gym every day and that’s the way I managed my stress. It helped, but I felt I need more than a physical exercise.

I was lucky to find the teachers that I connected to quickly. They taught me how mind is important in yoga practice, not just physical practices and fancy poses. Also they gave me a constant reminder that the ego to become better than others and excel in physical practice needs to be dropped. It is not aligned with true yoga. I was hooked by the fact that there is no competition in yoga. There is no point to push yourself too hard to get stressed out – If you feel good about yourself and content with the moment, that’s enough. One of the reason I decided to pursue the yoga teacher training is to help others to understand yoga like the way I did.

It’s becoming 3 years since I started yoga practice and I’ve enjoyed understanding different types of yoga and teachers in the world. There is no goal or end point, certain types of people allowed to do yoga – everyone can enjoy their own yoga and its benefits. That’s what yoga means to me.