One of the very first things I discovered after completing Teacher Training and committing myself to Svaroopa® yoga full time, was that every day felt like a vacation because my practices gave me an “internal getaway.” My practices became an oasis in the middle of life’s daily challenges. I didn’t need to get away anywhere to feel better, or more peaceful, because yoga was doing that for me, and it was all happening on the inside. Still, vacations are a treat: a change of scene, a break from our routines, and a chance to have extra downtime with our loved ones. For me this doesn’t mean I take a break from my yogic practices, because they help to support my inner state, and provide a continuity of Self within the changing landscape of a vacation.
Whenever I go away, I know my practices may be shorter than usual, so I try plan for that, as I know that my time with family and friends IS the yoga practice I am blessed to be enjoying. And still, I want to take care of myself, so I come prepared with my supplies: my travel pouch with timer, iPod, ear-buds, battery operated candle, puja photos of the Gurus, and a travel size Guru Gita. Then there is my shawl, and two blocks. If I am driving, I bring some blankets, of course. I know every hotel has an easy chair and pillows for meditation, and with blocks and a wall and chair, I can make any asana practice happen! Setting up my “yoga space” goes right along with unpacking.
My vacation yoga might be as simple as the “20/20/20” formula: morning Ujjyai Pranayama, meditation, and asana (sometime during the day). But usually I can fit in a full meditation period (20 minutes Ujjayi and 40 minutes meditation). I’ve learned that if I ignore my body at the expense of keeping up with everyone else’s plans, I’ll feel it. So I’ll often do three deeper poses (with variations), such as Kurmasana, Pigeon with Dhanurasana leg, and JP. Even if it’s a quick Magic Four, even if it’s just a Lunge, don’t neglect your body
And we must take care of our minds. Quiet mind is a portable yogic state that comes along with you on vacation. I repeat mantra silently, practicing japa. The Self never leaves you, because it is You, and everyone else. The good news is that if you have an established daily yoga practice, you have plenty of Shakti (energy) reserves to carry you through on the days when you can’t fit in much practice. In this way, vacations become a time to bring the whole of you into your life, in new and exciting ways.