Travel Yoga: From Online Classes to Natural Practice Spaces

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Starre Vartan does yoga on the California Coast.

The thing that I love most about yoga is how flexible it is; I practice to focus energy during the workday, to relax at the end of the day, and in the morning when I feel tight or have slept weirdly. I do 10 minutes of yoga to cool off and loosen muscles at the end of a good run, but can also rely on it as my workout on the days I don’t want to run or cycle.

But I especially love to do yoga when I’m travelling (and, as you can see here, especially on beaches or near bodies of water). But also on mountaintops in the midst of a hike, or in a city park during a day of walking around. Not a full-on, yoga-outfit situation, but a few poses, ideally sans shoes, to just connect to the moment and the world around me more fully.

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A group yoga class on the beach.

One of the best ways to keep up your practice while on the road (or if you are sojourning somewhere without a yoga studio or teacher nearby) is to keep a few podcasts saved in your phone or mobile-music device. And some hotels, like those in the Kimpton family, provide yoga mats and blocks for your room, so you can practice there or in their gym with your own mat that’s cleaned for you. There’s nothing like a focusing practice before I begin a day of walking, or post-flight (even five minutes of yoga before you pass out, exhausted, is amazing! It will help you sleep better and you’ll wake up more refreshed).

One of my favorite options is Yogaglo, an online service that provides hundreds of yoga classes by teachers you’ve heard of, like Elena Brower and Seane Corn. For just $18 a month, it is less expensive than a drop-in yoga class, and offers all kinds of flexibility (pun intended). You can take a 10-minute relaxation, a 90-minute vinyasa, and everything in-between. There’s even a special travel yoga page so you can choose from among the classes specially designed for the road warrior.

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Starre Vartan practices a balancing yoga pose on the rocks of Hanalei Bay in Kaua’i.

One of my favorite things about yoga is that, despite what you often see and hear, you don’t need ANYthing to do yoga except your body and a relatively flat surface. I love a cute pair of yoga shorts or tops as much as the next woman, and a brightly colored, nonslip mat, and it’s always great to have a live teacher in front of you (except when you want to practice by yourself). But the essence of yoga is simply breathing, and focusing, and for me, stretching and relaxing my body – which can sometimes include a sweat session. And once you know your basic asana series and some variations, you can do it anywhere, anytime. Even atop rocks in the sea. Namaste 🙂

All Photos by Starre Vartan, except where indicated otherwise.

3 comments

  1. Amandah · April 3, 2012

    Thanks for sharing! I like to keep up with my workouts when I travel. I like to do yoga after I an 10 hour plane ride. It’s good to stretch out and realign the body, mind, and soul.

  2. Sara · April 3, 2012

    If you do not want to have an internet connection while on your retreat, try downloading your yoga classes from iHanuman.com before you go. You will have access to the file forever and can practice even in the remotest areas of the world. Happy Retreating!

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