Last year I stayed in a cabin with an actual ladder to the loft bed I was staying in. I went to a beach that required going up and down 170 steps. I took a couple of flights with a carryon bag and trust me, it was heavy.
I also recently returned from a trip to Toronto where i walked (ok sometimes ran) to catch a train and navigated unfamiliar territory with physical confidence and a sense of challenge and joy.
But let’s face it, a lot times travel is tedious, unpredictable and uncomfortable.
This is where the physical and mental practices of yoga come in handy. Sometimes you will have to “endure what cannot be cured”. Other times the inconveniences and challenges will lead to a slowing down and maybe even to those ‘off the beaten path’ experiences that most of us treasure while traveling.
If you are in, or close to, retirement you may be looking forward to doing some traveling in those places that you have always dreamed of going to. Maybe you want to go to Greece, Italy, Bali or Mexico.
Here are 5 ways you need to stay strong enough to travel with ease.
Balance – walking over uneven surfaces.
When I travel I like to walk. A lot. It is one of the best ways to get to know a city or anyplace. I like to see the tourist spots but also the neighborhoods, the areas around wherever you are staying. In Bali I walked in Ubud (the city I stayed in ) for hours. Sometimes there were sidewalks sometimes not. Sometimes the sidewalk that was there had a huge hole I had to get around. Certainly the terrain was not like it is here in North America so like anytime you are walking, core stability and focused awareness is key. The resilience, balance and dexterity we learn in yoga helps.
Standing – Lots of times we need to stand in long lines while traveling. Airports, museums, shows can all require a wait in line. Being able to stand well, to vary your stance, to squat easily (if its a really long wait I squat to relieve my lower back and vary my movements). Good posture and backing up your pelvis is usually key here.
Stairs– Some places in Europe, the town is built on the hillside making stairs a non-negotiable. The hotel or residence may have a lot of stairs to your room. If stairs are difficult, it may be extra weight or it may be weakness in your legs, hip flexors or glutes all of which a good yoga practice can help address.
Beach – Sure you could sit on the beach loungers but I always want to get right down into the sand a little too. Lying in the warm sand is one of the great pleasures of going to a great beach. To get to the ground and back easily is something we take for granted in the yoga practice but if you don’t do it regularly, it becomes a very tough thing to do.
Overhead luggage bins – Upper body strength is important for a number of reasons but one is to be stable and strong enough to get the luggage over your head! Independence is something we want to retain for if we are to travel – don’t be limited in your choices.
Here is a 7 minute video to help you get ready to travel!