By Kim Fuller Published in Wanderlust Journal
Does your mat get the same amount of asana-inspired attention when you are traveling? It’s true that wherever you venture, you can bring your yoga practice along, but imagine a place where you’re always in the flow.
On a recent yoga retreat in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, Denver-based yoga instructor Sarah Beth led us in a meditation to ignite full presence and sensory awareness.
“Open your eyes, and see everything around you,” she said in a soft and steady tone. “See not only the ocean in front of you, but also what’s beside you, even behind you.”
She continued to lead us through each of our senses—looking, tasting, smelling, hearing, and feeling. The entire time, the waves continued to roll in their ebb and flow, a breath-like cadence.
The time we spent at Villa Karaway on the Playa Punta Negra was a special way to embody our yoga practice. Most yoga retreats have qualities that appeal specifically to yogis, no doubt, but there are also ways of making any vacation yoga-centric—with or without the structure of a formal retreat.
Eat Good (Clean) Food
Villa Karaway is blessed with a private chef, Elba, who cooks delicious and nourishing Mexican-inspired cuisine. Wherever you go, make an effort to eat local, fresh, and whole foods as much as you can. Drink a lot of water and commit to keeping your body in balance. Give yourself the fuel you need to keep your senses firing fully.
Rise Early (But Sleep In, Too)
It’s like having your cake and eating it, too. If you take a few special mornings on your trip to wake up with the sun, you will be able to capture the crisp and blissful essence of a sunrise. But you don’t have to wake at dawn every day to attain full appreciation for it, so enjoy sleeping in on your more laid back days. After all, you are on vacation.
Explore Your Practice
Whether you roll your mat out near the beach for a self-guided practice or join in on a local class, make sure you take your physical yoga practice with you when you travel. Consider committing to a short asana and mediation session every morning to refresh your energy and clear your head for the day to come. Like the exercise that Sarah Beth led us through on the shores of the Pacific Ocean—stay present, stay aware, appreciate where you are, who you are, and have gratitude for each moment.
Sarah Beth wrote a meaningful post on her Facebook wall when she returned home from Villa Karaway: “I showed up solo, and left with friends.”
Traveling helps us to embrace a special quality of authentic connection through mindful, curious, and joyous vulnerability. It’s truly powerful to be in a new place, or a home-away-from-home, and meet both locals and fellow visitors who are there, in the present, with you, appreciating one of the many special places in the world.