Airport Asana and Poolside Pranayama – Top Tips for Holiday Yoga
As we enter the holiday season, many of us will be getting on a plane and spending a week or two in a hotel. A welcome break. Yoga class may have finished for the Summer, but you can still keep up your practice by being just a little bit creative in terms of using the spaces around you as you travel.
When going off on holiday, it is easy to imagine yourself performing the perfect sun salute on a sandy beach in the dawning sun, or executing a few Warriors by the pool. But, in reality, space is often at a premium. We may need to think creatively about how we can utilize sometimes challenging environments. Rise to the challenge!
Envision each space as a potential Yoga space, and seize the opportunity to keep your Yoga practice fresh and stimulating.
There’s usually a lot of hanging around at airports, time that can be put to good use. Even in the busiest of airports there is often an unused space.
However, do be mindful of others in crowded areas - I spotted someone in an airline queue trying to do a sun salute, not really the moment!
Unused Boarding Gates
The boarding gate next to yours may be quiet, in which case you can utilise the spaces between the rows of seats.
Many airports have quiet spaces for reflection that are underused - if no one is around then a mindful yoga practice is suited to the space.
If others are there, a meditation or pranayama practice would be more appropriate.
Space on planes is often at a premium, especially on holiday destination flights, but there is usually still an opportunity for yoga practice.
In your Seat
Be creative with the space available, with the caveat that your neighbour may not appreciate an arm in their dinner!
But even sitting in your seat you can practice a version of Pawanmuktasana.
A gentle breathing practice followed by seated Relaxation is a perfect way to release tension, even on a short flight.
For those of you who find it difficult to sleep on planes, even on a long journey, this is a great way to get some quality rest.
At the Back of the Plane
On long distance flights, there is often space around the toilet area or the food preparation area that can be utilised for standing postures.
As the journey progresses, and fellow passengers sink into watching films or falling asleep, the common areas of the plane become less busy and can be used to good effect.
Many hotels will have spaces that can be used, it is just a case of seeking them out.
Conference rooms are often not used during holiday season, so a quiet word with the concierge or the duty manager can mean that you gain access to these spaces.
Be aware that there may be sharp objects buried in that plush carpet (shards of glass, bent paper clips etc). Do your own risk assessment before your bare feet touch the ground.
If the hotel gym runs group classes, you may be able to access that space between sessions. Gym staff are usually very willing to help out.
Top tip - check with the gym staff how to operate the air conditioning, as the downside of these spaces is that they are often chilly because the thermostat is set to cope with more sweaty activities.
Early mornings are a great time for using the green areas surrounding the hotel.
Just beware any sprinkler systems!
Pool areas, before the majority of people have had breakfast and headed for the sun loungers, are another useful space.
No matter how small, I’ve always found room to practice.
The other advantage of hotel bedrooms is that you can use a bath towel as a makeshift yoga mat for seated and lying down postures.
Shifting the furniture around can help to clear a big enough space for your mat.
If not, improvise. In one hotel room I lay half in the bedroom and half in the bathroom in order to have enough floor space.
If the room is really tiny, just use the bed, and focus on lying down postures.
This is also of course a great place to practice your pranayama, meditation and relaxation.
Just don’t fall asleep!
Your friends waiting down in the hotel lobby will wonder where you are.
These are just a few examples of how you can turn any holiday space into a Yoga space.
Get creative, see the world around you from a Yoga perspective.
It can also be a lovely reason to explore the neighbourhood around your chosen holiday destination, seeking out parks and other open spaces.
Another great idea is to check out the local Yoga studios - I have made some good friends in different countries around the world simply by showing up.
Take your Yoga with you on holiday and enjoy!
Founder - DRUVA Yoga & Welbeing