5 Ways to Take Yoga With You

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I'm traveling to see family this week (I have a new niece! Yay!). But while I love spending time with family, travel is exhausting--both mentally and physically. It can be incredibly difficult to find a moment to yourself when you're a houseguest--if I'm not careful, my yoga practice goes out the window when I'm away from home.

Here are five ways I've learned to take yoga with me on the road.

1. Take something that reminds you of your practice. If there's room, I always bring my yoga mat with me. I even like that it takes up lot of space in my suit case because I see it every time I need something. It reminds me to breathe--and to take the time I need for my practice. (Of course, a small picture, statue, mala, or book can work just as well.)

2. Take advantage of your alone time. Whether you're staying at a hotel or with a friend or family member, you usually will have at least a few minutes alone each day. Take advantage of this time to do just a few poses or to take a few moments in meditation to keep you grounded.

3. Use mobile applications and the Internet to stay connected. If you have access to the Internet during your travels, there are a ton of places to find yoga instruction. YouTube is a great place to start if you only have a few minutes between family functions or business meetings. I also rely on iPhone applications for meditation timers, to find nearby studios, and sometimes to even guide my practice.

4. Stretch whenever the opportunity presents itself. I actually have a few go-to stretches that help me stay calm while I'm driving. (Click here to read those suggestions.) On a plane, you have to be a little more casual if you don't want to stick out like a sore thumb. Add in big yawn (the pranayama choice of the public), and then close your eyes for a few moments of quite contemplation. (That's for the plane. Please do not close your eyes while driving.)

5. Go with the flow. For me, everything is a little off when I'm on the road. And that includes my yoga practice. So it's important to let go of the expectation that I'll keep up my practice exactly as I would if I were at home in my usual routine. It's just not going to happen, and that's OK. Besides, isn't a big part of yoga to get us out of our patterns so we can be a little more mindful of our actions and thoughts?

Erica Rodefer is a writer and yoga practitioner in Charleston, SC. Visit her blog, Spoiledyogi.com, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.