Travel Yoga: 7 Reasons It’s On The Rise
Meet Kirrily – a 25 year old yoga teacher, traveler and lover of life from Sydney, Australia. In 2014, she decided to leave behind the corporate life and become a full-time travelling yogi.
With no set plans and a deep desire to explore the Earth, she booked a one way ticket. Her wanderings have taken her to the Himalayas in Nepal, to practicing and teaching yoga throughout beautiful Europe, Morocco and Turkey.
We wanted to better understand why ‘Travel Yoga’ is on the rise and how we could benefit from this lifestyle choice that seems to be taking the world by storm.
What is the meaning of ‘travel yoga’ or ‘travelling yogi’s’ ?
K: Yoga allows you to connect with people on a different level. Everywhere you go, from Istanbul to Paris to Beirut, there are people meeting and practising yoga together. From yoga retreats on secluded beaches to acroyoga meet-ups in local parks, yoga cruises through the Mediterranean and luxury studios tucked away in rain forests, there’s so many ways to explore the world through your yoga practice.
7 REASONS TRAVEL YOGA IS ON THE RISE
- Meet locals: at acroyoga jams in the park or local studios, it’s a great way to make friends with locals.
2. Visit secluded paradises: some of the best yoga retreats in the world are in hard to reach, secluded paradises from Mexico to Guatemala, India, Turkey.
3. See a different side of a popular destination: There are quiet parts of Ibiza and Koh Panghan home to beautiful yoga communities, retreats and studios that are a world away from full moon parties and giant clubs.
4. Take a break from fast paced travel: Travelling can make you tired, and quickly. After a couple of months on the road it can hit you like a tonne of bricks. Taking a short break for a yoga or meditation retreat can re-energise you so you can continue your travels with the same enthusiasm you started with.
5. Connect with the global yoga community: Everywhere you go there are people practising yoga, and yoga retreats bring together like minded people from all over the world, many of whom become family after weeks of chanting, sweating and practising together.
6. Become present and mindful: Yoga teaches us to be present, and when you take this off the mat and into your travels, you can learn to become really present in whatever moment your in. I’ve been guilty of planning my next travels while I’m in the middle of one. Practicing yoga and meditation while travelling helps you to remain mindful and present, and just enjoy the moment fully.
7. Connect to a new place in a unique way: By calming your mind and breathing in a new place you can really connect with the area and the people on a different energetic level. Slow down, breath and feel what it really is to be in these new surroundings.
Where has yoga taken you across the world?
K: I’d been practicing yoga for four years when my teacher suggested traveling to Rishikesh for my 200hr yoga teacher training. I eventually booked and found myself in one of the most sacred places in India, by the river Ganges, practicing yoga, meditating, chanting and studying philosophy from sunrise late into the night with some of the most interesting, free spirited and open minded people I’d ever met.
I’ve since taught at a yoga resort by the Mediterranean coast in Olympos, Turkey, and taken my practice on the road with me, teaching donation based classes in Spain, Morocco, Portugal and France, which has helped sustain my travels the last 15 months.
What does yoga mean to you and how has it changed your life?
K: Yoga is union. It’s a spiritual practice which takes you out of your mind and in touch with your body and spirit. It brings me to a space of deep stillness and clarity to align my focus, breath and energy to the greater life force within and around us.
I walked into my first yoga class five years ago for the physical and mental benefits it would bring and found a spiritual path and meditation practice which has stayed with me ever since. Teaching yoga while travelling has helped me fund and sustain my travels, and connected me to some incredible people around the world which has been life changing. It’s brought clarity to what is within, and without, and having practiced with people from so many different countries it always brings me home to the realisation that we are all the same, one breath, one body, one spirit.
Best yoga retreats in the world and locations you have been to?
- Rishikesh, India: Cows rule the streets, there’s no meat consumed in the city and you can hear mantras playing from chai cafes as you walk down the street. It’s home to many ashrams, meditation and yoga schools to learn traditional Hatha yoga, Kundalini, Tantra, Iyengar or Ashtanga (though those interested in Ashtanga should head south to Mysore), and is set amongst an incredible landscape of mountains and the sacred river Ganges. It’s a blissful place where the only disturbance to your practice might be the monkeys running along the roof of your studio and peeking in the windows.
- Kabak Valley, Turkey: An hour from Fethiye on the south coast of Turkey, Kabak Valley is a little paradise tucked away in the national park and a perfect place to escape for yogis. Most of the camping grounds have yoga decks overlooking the sea, with some of the best yoga teachers from Turkey and the world visiting for retreats and small yoga festivals.
- Bali, Indonesia: It’s hard not to include Bali in this list. The feminine energy of the island gives birth to some incredible yoga experiences for backpackers or those wanting to escape for a luxury retreat. You can find free diving yoga retreats on the Gili Islands, practice in incredible studios like Desa Senai in Seminyak or take a training or workshop amongst the rice fields and rainforest at Yoga Barn in Ubud.
How can we all integrate and practice yoga or meditation on the road while we’re travelling?
Traveling is always a little bit stressful – it’s the challenge that excites most of us – so it’s important to look after yourself on the road. My top 3 tips:
- Move a little each day. Even if you don’t have space, time or a mat to do your usual practice, set aside just a little time each day to breathe, stretch and move your body, especially after long days/ nights on buses and trains.
- Close your eyes and breath. Even if it’s only 5 minutes. Take a little time each day to close your eyes, breathe through your nose and focus all your attention on your breath. A meditation practice doesn’t have to mean sitting in lotus position for hours. As you inhale, let your belly expand and feel your breath rise up your torso, and as you exhale, let your breathe fall back down your chest, down your ribs, your belly sinking in last. A few minutes of this will bring you back into yourself and help you find a little peace in the chaos.
- Off the mat, try to practice non-violence with yourself and others when you’re on the road. Listen to your body and your needs, and treat yourself with kindness so you can really be present in the moment and experience your surroundings with mindfulness.
Follow Kirrilly’s journey on Instagram @soulseekssun and check out her incredible blog here.