Journeys can be life-changing experiences. The opportunity to escape from the routine lifestyle for a few days to a place that you have never been to before can be truly relaxing and rejuvenating.
But, travel can be fairly stressful as well – both physically and mentally. Travel can disrupt our established regular life patterns. Time zone changes and adjusting to unknown new places can interfere with our body clock, sleep pattern while draining our energy.
During travel, we are pushed outside our comfort zone, forced to think on our feet and find calm amidst the chaos. The challenges of travel can generate a never-ending supply of obstacles and problems that can be opportunities to grow and find strength.
The effects of travel can be more severe on frequent travelers. These can have profound physical, physiological, emotional and social consequences. Some highly common side effects include anxiety, irregular or lack of sleep, loneliness, exhaustion, weight gain and all round stress.
Combining Yoga With Travel
This is where yoga can be of help. It can be a way to manage of some of these undesirable issues. Yoga enables us to breathe in the middle of the bustle, enables quiet reflection amidst all the noise and improves focus. Practicing asanas and meditation while traveling enables you to connect with your inner self, as also to grow and find strength.
Traveling can be physically exhausting with all the long hours of commute, awkward seating positions and plenty of strain leaving you drained of energy at the end of the day. While on the road, it can be difficult to devote a long time to a regular yoga practice.
Still, it’s highly recommended to devote a few minutes every day to yoga even while traveling. You need not have any special equipment for practicing yoga on the road. Just some motivation and a little space to stretch out are plenty enough. Even a few minutes each day spent in quiet reflection can hone your perspective on your travel experience.
So how about integrating yoga practice to make traveling more soulful? This combination will make for a transformative experience. Here are five benefits of practicing yoga even while on the road.
1. Reduced Anxiety and Improved Relaxation
While traveling, you are exposed to mixed emotions: excitement, stress, worry and nervousness. The practice of yoga trains your focus and attention on your body and breath thus helping to temper anxiety and refresh the thought process.
By encouraging relaxation, the cortisol (stress hormone) levels go down which further reduces one’s overall stress levels. Studies have found that consistent yoga practice leads to a significant increase in serotonin levels, and decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) leading to decreased depression.
With regular practice of yoga and meditation, the deeper connection between one’s self and the surrounding nature is nurtured. This interconnection results in greater emotional and improved mental well being, which can be further enhanced with regular meditation sessions.
2. Improved Sleep
Uncomfortable seating and jet lag often result in disrupted sleep, yet yoga is one of the best ways to deal with this naturally and easily. Studies have found yoga to improve not just the quality of sleep, but it’s duration as well. Restorative yoga poses such as the Balasana, Savasana, Baddha Konasana etc. help relax the body and calm the mind leading to better sleep. Meditation can also calm your senses resulting in a restful sleep.
Regular yoga sessions – especially those that gently stretch the spine – can stimulate the blood flow through the body, help combat fatigue and boost one’s vitality. It can also help counter some unhealthy effects of long sedentary periods of sitting.
3. Remedy for Posture and Back Pain
Most yoga postures have their emphasis on strengthening the muscles of the back, the abdomen and the core. These muscle groups are essential to helping the body maintain a proper upright posture and enable smooth functioning of the body.
A few minutes of standing yoga poses and back-bends that stretch the spine help improve one’s natural posture as well as tone the weaker muscles of the body. With the back and core muscles well conditioned, back pain is greatly reduced or even prevented altogether.
4. Weight management
Yoga not only burns calories, but also reduces cortisol levels contributing to weight loss. Yoga postures work all muscle groups in the body, strengthening them and relieving tension at the same time.
Traveling and holidays present a detour from the normal, including your regular diet and meal patterns. Regular yoga practice ensures that you are conscious of your body and thus motivated to eat mindfully. The practice of postures such as Ardha Matsyendrasana, Dhanurasana, Uttanasana etc. can help keep your digestive system conditioned so you may enjoy the culinary experience without having to worry about calories and body fat.
5. Improved mental functioning
Yoga helps you focus on the present moment while developing mind-body awareness. The regular practice of yoga can improve your memory and (surprisingly!) even IQ levels. Meditation is known to improve problem solving skills and retention of information.
Rejuvenate yourself by practicing asanas and pranayama techniques. Regular practice fosters calmness, detoxification and an overall improvement in the quality of prana in the body thus keeping you energetic all day long.
Practicing yoga while traveling is beneficial for both body and mind. Taken together, the combination of yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation work to rejuvenate you inside-out, thus allowing you to maintain a robust constitution, a calm mind and positive outlook.
Considering the manifold benefits of keeping up your practice while on the road, motivate yourself to practice yoga while traveling so as to maintain overall health of body, mind, and soul. Enjoy a happy and healthy time on the road!