Taking a yoga class might not be the first thing you picture when you imagine traveling somewhere new. However, it can be one of the best things to do in a different destination.
The good news is that there are yoga classes all over the world, so no matter where you’re traveling there’s sure to be a nearby studio where you can partake. While the poses will be the same, each culture and community has a different way of approaching things, making for a unique experience.
The one-time drop-in fee is usually quite affordable, meaning taking a couple of classes won’t add much expense to your trip. And there’s no need to travel with your yoga mat — most studios will have extras you can use as a drop-in visitor.
All you need to do is bring some comfy, stretchy yoga pants and you’re good to go! (Better yet, wear them on the plane for your most comfortable flight ever.)
There are many reasons you should take a yoga class on your travels. We’ll look at a few of the benefits it offers below. And if you really love these benefits, you might want to try dedicating your next vacation entirely to wellness by going on a yoga or meditation retreat.
It all depends on where you want to go. Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, India and Thailand are all popular destinations for immersive yoga vacations. Spending a week in a beautiful locale practicing yoga is sure to recharge your mind, body and soul.
If that sounds like too much to jump into though, there are still plenty of benefits a class or two can provide you with on the trips you already have planned. Benefits such as…
Let’s face it, travel can be stressful. Between the physical factors of jetlag and exhaustion and the mental factors of feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed, it can really take its toll.
Yoga has the power to relax and rejuvenate you. It has physical benefits, such as reducing your stress levels, lowering your blood pressure, improving your circulation and stretching sore muscles. It also has mental health benefits, helping you feel more calm, grounded and appreciative in the moment.
A good yoga class can be the perfect antidote to a chaotic day of travel.
If there’s one thing yoga is all about, it’s mindfulness. Being present in the moment and connecting with your breath and your body. It’s a reminder to take in everything around you — the sights, the smells, the sounds. It forces you to pause and connect.
After you walk away from a yoga class, it’s only natural to take that mindfulness with you everywhere you go. Therefore, yoga will make you more mindful, so you can appreciate your destination even more.
Unless the yoga classes are specifically marketed toward tourists, there’s a good chance the typical attendees will be people who live locally.
So, you might get a chance to meet locals and learn a bit more about what it’s like to live in that destination.
Generally speaking, the people who go to yoga studios are laid-back, friendly and open-minded. They will likely be happy to share tips about their favorite local restaurants, beaches, attractions and other insider info.
Who knows? You may get invited over to someone’s home to share a meal or even make a friend for life. This is the beauty of taking the time to interact with locals.
Everyone does the typical travel experiences in most destinations, but not everyone will have taken a yoga class there.
It’s something a little bit unusual and off the beaten track, which makes it very intriguing. Even if the class is a little bit strange and not quite what you expected, it will make a great story for when you get home.
It’s also a way of “collecting” experiences from every destination you go to. Much like some people collect sand or rocks or take a picture in the same pose in every place they travel, you will have memories of yoga that you can look back on and compare to each other.
I have found that taking a yoga class while traveling has greatly enriched my experience in many destinations.
For example, while in Townsville, Australia we stayed with a local via Airbnb. She was a yoga instructor and she invited me to her 5:45a.m. class. It was an incredibly rewarding and rejuvenating experience. I’ll never forget watching the sunrise over the ocean on the way there, then starting my day with deep inhalations in the downward dog pose.
Another great travel yoga memory is from Ubud, Bali. Known for having an abundance of high-quality yoga instruction, I went to several classes here. One of my fondest memories of my time in Ubud is a relaxing yin yoga class I took in a cool, dark-wood hut with the sounds of tropical insects and birds chattering outside.
I sank so deeply into each pose and movement, that when it came time for savasana it felt like I was melting into the floor.
If you love yoga, taking it with you on your travels makes a lot of sense. And even if you’ve never tried to before, what better place to awkwardly fumble your way through the poses than a class where you don’t know anyone? There’s no reason not to give yoga a try — and you might even find it deeply enriches your travel experience.