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The more RV trips I take, the more I learn and grow. Not that I’m alone in that. Travel has a way of challenging us all, and taking us outside our comfort zones. It’s helped me become more open-minded and flexible in my thinking.
Now reread that last paragraph and substitute “yoga” anywhere I mentioned travel or RVing. Everything I just said there? The EXACT same thing could be said for yoga. Travel and yoga are similar in that way. Both are ways we can engage in self-exploration—physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s why I love doing yoga on the road. The two things enhance each other.
I do have to admit, though. When I’m seeking a workout, yoga isn’t my default. I tend to gravitate more towards endorphin-boosting antics—anything that works up a sweat and involves suffering. Sure, yoga works me physically, but since I find joy in the sustained torture of other exercise modalities, I don’t do yoga primarily for the physical benefits.
Yoga, for me, is something different, going beyond traditional cardiovascular or strength-building activities.
Practicing yoga helps me stay young, move well, and it also has tremendous mental benefits– like its powerful calming effect. Yoga boosts GABA activity (a calming neurotransmitter), as well as the happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine. When life’s obstacles hit, yogis are likely going to have better control over their fight-or-flight response, and better able to react with a calmer, cooler head. That’s why practicing yoga is so complementary with traveling. The out-of-control and dynamic nature of life on the road requires a flexible, positive, and roll-with-it mindset. Yoga helps you get that.
While yoga is more than just physical poses (called asanas), that’s an excellent place to start. Yoga can be done anywhere, making it jive perfectly with the RV lifestyle. Once you begin doing yoga asanas, you’ll immediately notice how it focuses your attention on your body’s abilities in the present moment. It makes you mindful about yourself, and over time, helps you develop an inner awareness. And remember how I talked about my love of NOT fun high-intensity exercise? Doing yoga exercise actually IS fun. The relaxing nature of performing yoga sets it apart from traditional exercise. It just feels good.
So, whether you already do yoga or not, don’t press pause on developing or maintaining your practice just because you’re on an RV trip.
Yoga is easy to incorporate into your travels. Here are some suggestions to help you make it happen.
1. Pack a yoga mat.
So, look. You absolutely do NOT need a yoga mat to do yoga. But–having a dedicated mat in the RV does a few things. First, knowing there’s a yoga mat packed in your RV will be a mental reminder—and motivator–for you to go workout. Second, stepping onto your yoga mat helps you shift gears. There’s Regular You and then there’s Yogi You. The mat becomes your special yoga space separating the two and helping you change your focus. And finally, there’s the obvious one. A yoga mat is a useful barrier when you’re practicing yoga outside, keeping you dry and clean, and softening rocky surfaces. My current mat is by Manduka, the PROlite model and I highly recommend it.
2. Find a class nearby.
No matter where your travels take you, chances are, there’s a yoga studio or a class at a park nearby you can join. You’ll get some exercise, and you’ll also get to make a connection with the local community—a great way to get to know an area you’re visiting. Finding yoga classes on the road is as easy as a simple Google search.
3. Download yoga videos beforehand.
You never know what sort of internet connection you’ll have on the road. Downloading yoga videos before the trip ensures you’ll always have access to instructor-led yoga sessions, wherever you are. I like to download yoga videos through my local library’s online portal. If you have YouTube premium or Amazon Prime, you can easily download yoga videos from those services as well.
4. Use yoga apps.
There’s no easier way to develop your practice than with a yoga app. For a small monthly (or annual) fee, yoga apps give you access to hundreds of ready-made and downloadable classes. There are loads of fantastic yoga apps to choose from.
My own personal go-to and the one I recommend the most is Down Dog. It has a free trial period and then if you choose to go ahead with it, it costs $10 per month or $60 per year. I love how you can customize the workouts for your own needs on Down Dog; choosing the difficulty level, the amount of time, the type of yoga workout you want to do. And then it creates a video from your choices, so the videos are never the same.
This summer, I got my daughter-in-law Anna hooked on it. Anna’s a teacher, and she discovered teachers can get the app for free! Down Dog also waives fees for people going through financial hardships; another thing that warms my heart to this app.
5. Wing it; go freestyle.
My other suggestions before this one involved instructor-led yoga experiences, but really, yoga doesn’t require an instructor, or a downloaded video, or a subscription-based app. You can freestyle it, and do your own thing. You don’t even have to be advanced to freestyle. Beginners can learn a handful of go-to moves (like the ones I’ve shared here in the pictures), and start there. My own yoga practice is mostly built around freestyling. It’s hard to describe the pleasure of unrolling a yoga mat in a beautiful outdoor setting somewhere we’re camping and winging a yoga workout, doing asanas based on my mood in the moment.
As you look over this list of five suggestions, hopefully you can find an idea or two to try. It really is a lot of fun practicing yoga in new places, so do consider giving it a go! The beauty of yoga is how easily it can be done anywhere, anytime.
Even if you’re totally new to it, you can make yoga a regular part of your life–both on the road and off. But it’s up to you to make it happen. Once you do–and you begin noticing the changes both mentally and physically–you’ll wonder what took you so long.