For most of us, holidays involve a lot of travel, food and wine. It is so easy to neglect our healthy
diet and fitness routine when exploring new places and having too much fun. Practicing Yoga
helps improve our physical, mental and emotional well-being when travelling. Travellers
practicing yoga are able to feel at home wherever they go.
The first time I went to Africa, I definitely did not think I would find a yoga studio and teacher that I would
fall in love with and kept returning to practice with. After a couple of 12 hour plane rides I got to
Nairobi exhausted, dreaming of elephants and white sand beaches. One “Matatu” ride, a long bus
journey and a boat ride later I arrived in gorgeous Lamu – a soothing sight for my travel weary
I was greeted with pristine beaches, camels sunning themselves on said beaches and Masai men
and women dressed in full traditional attire ambling about. I was almost sure I was dreaming up
a mirage with all the travelling the last few days involved. After pinching myself a couple of
times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I got off the boat and walked through mazy pathways, the
quaintest houses and curious donkeys in way of traffic to get to the place I was going to call
home for what I thought was going to be a week.
My yoga experience
I travel with my yoga mat because, however relaxed- lazing on the beach, sipping sundowners gets me,
getting on my mat brings me a sense of contentment and quiet that not much else can bring.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the owner of the place I was staying at was a certified Yoga
teacher. My days in Lamu post this revelation followed a very predictable routine. Breakfasts in
the lush gardens surrounding my room listening to the birds and watching the local chameleon
sunning himself, rambling about exploring the market and the island, lunch by the sea, a couple
of hours of yoga followed by sundowners and an early bed.
My yoga teacher there was a revelation. A Scottish, certified Iyengar teacher, so passionate about
yoga that I soon found myself waking up even earlier to try and catch a class before the rest of
my day. I found that when the day came to say goodbye I couldn’t leave and ended up staying for
an intensive four week Yoga course/retreat. I remember going through those days in hazy Yoga
tinted glasses and leaving Africa finally but only after planning my trip back to Yoga heaven.
Yoga teaches us how to be present and how to be grateful. Before any holiday, we spend a lot of
time and energy planning for the trip. When we’re actually on the trip, however, we’re too busy
either taking pictures or thinking of the going-ons at home to fully appreciate what’s happening
in the here and now. Practicing Yoga gives us the gift of mindfulness and gratitude so we can
fully immerse ourselves in the experience of travelling. Taking the time to practice, even for just
a few minutes, can make a big difference in keeping us happy and healthy when travelling.