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Yoga from a suitcase: Top tips for the travelling yogi

This month I am travelling around Australia with my new activewear label iSSARLA.com. I have been driving a lot, drag­ging my 40-kilogram stock bag around with me, sleeping in different beds every few days and just basically being com­pletely out of my normal life routine. Plus, I am experiencing my first winter in about six years, so this little tropical yogi is all out of whack.

By Kim White

Saturday 14 September 2019, 03:00PM

Even with all of this upheaval, it does not mean that you get a free pass from looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. If anything, it is more important to try to hold onto the “basics” when you are travelling so that you are still able to stay grounded and clear. I am going to share with you my basics – the things I do to stay sane and limber while travelling.

1. Once a day, either upon waking or before the end of the day – sunset and sunrise are good times for me – stop and actually take the time to look around you. Look at the sun, the landscape around you. Find beauty in what you are seeing and feel grateful for the op­portunities you have and are creating.

2. Set yourself some food and bever­age guidelines before you travel that give you a not-too-strict but not-too-cra­zy eating plan. Let’s be honest, it’s very easy to get caught up, and before you know it you can’t fit into your pants.

3. Sleep patterns can be a little difficult to maintain. To help me fall asleep, I use the “filling and emptying the glass” breathing exercise I shared with you in my Deep breaths, deep sleep article in July (available here.)

4. The hips, spine and shoulders are the main areas of the body that suf­fer when travelling. Keep them happy with these three exercises:

Standing forward fold
This posture can be performed any­where; waiting for the bathroom on a plane is one of my most favourite times when travelling to whip out a standing forward fold.

Stand with your feet together and your legs straight. Breathe in and raise your hands above your head like you are trying to reach for something high above your head.

Breathe out and bend at the hips with your arms straight. Drop your hands to rest on your thighs, knees, shins or ankles – anywhere you can comfortably rest your hands while keeping your legs straight. Alterna­tively, breathe out and bend at the hips with your arms straight, dropping your hands to rest on the floor on either side of your feet.

Relax your head and neck to look at your feet.

Keep your legs straight and hold this position for about 30 seconds to one minute while taking nice easy in­halations and exhalations, preferably through the nose.

Malasana (garland pose)
This is a fantastic release for the an­kles, hips and lower back. It is also quite a good little squat posture.

Stand with your feet about a hip width apart and turn your feet out to 45 degrees.

Come into a squat, trying to keep your heels on the floor. If sinking your heels is difficult, support them with a folded towel underneath.

Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs, rolling your shoulders down your back and bringing your chest upright.

Press your elbows against your inner knees, place your hands into a prayer position (anjali) and resist the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.

Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Gomukasana hands
This is such an amazing stretch for the shoulders and the upper back and a great release for all that hunching and heavy bag carrying.

Start by raising your right arm above your head. Reach high, keep­ing your arm close to your ear. Bend your right arm at the elbow and place your right hand between your shoulder blades. (Beginners may want to hold a small towel or a belt in their right hand here.)

Take your left arm and roll your shoulder down your back; the fingers’ intention is to try to reach for the floor. Bend your elbow and bring your left arm, with palms facing outwards, up towards the middle of your shoulder blades.

As your right hand reaches down and your left hand reaches up, inter­lock the fingers. Alternatively, hold onto the towel or belt.

Once you are gripping either the support or your fingers are interlocked, roll your shoulders down your back more and raise your right elbow sky­ward as you sink your left elbow to­wards the floor. Proud out your chest.

Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and then repeat on the other side.

So there you have it, my four golden tips for the travelling yogi. There are so many other things that you could in­clude into this mix, but who has time to remember a million things when there is a whole world out there to explore?

Keep it simple, remember to drink water and to smile at strangers.

Happy stretching,
Metta, Kim oxo

One of the main motivations that drives Kim to teach yoga is her desire to keep true, real yoga alive; the propagation of yoga for yoga. She strives to achieve this through teaching and helping people fall in love with yoga everyday. She gives you her yoga mind and yoga heart to guide anyone wishing to traverse the beauti­ful journey that is yoga.

Teaching group classes, private classes, yoga intensives and retreats across the island. Monthly subscription is also available on her on­line yoga channel at KimWhiteYoga.com and you can also listen to her yoga pod­cast “Let’s Get Bent”.

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