Yoga on the road?
Let’s face it, traveling can be a grind and it’s not convenient to take care of our nomadic bodies. It’s easy to deprive ourselves of sleep, eat unhealthy foods, drink too much alcohol, and neglect exercise. Even those ‘health nuts’ from back home can crumble once the convenient routine is removed from the day-to-day.
Goodbye veggies and spin class, hello fried potatoes and Chiang Beers. It’s just an occupational hazard of traveling… right?
I agree it can be more challenging to maintain good health habits, but if we neglect our bodies it will come back to haunt us. What are we without our health?
Some common excuses to justify lack of exercise on the road:
- Too expensive
- Don’t have the right equipment
- Cannot find a place to workout
- Not enough time
- Too tired
- Too hungover
I know I have used each and every excuse on that list – but knowing other people succumb to the same trap doesn’t make me feel any better about it. I’m sure none of you have ever used those excuses…
I believe that practicing yoga will counteract some of the common traveler’s ailments and in turn allow us to enjoy more of our precious time on the road. Below are 8 reasons why every hostel should provide FREE yoga for their guests. (Unrealistic? yeah maybe, but I can dream right?!)
1) Meet new people
Yeah, seeing the Eifel Tower is neat and so is taking a picture on top of Machu Picchu. However, when you look back on past travels, is it the popular sites that stand out? Or is it the interesting people you met that impacted you most? Sometimes it can feel hard to meet other people on the road. Am I cool enough? Will we get along? How do I start the conversation? What better way to break the ice with your new roommates then by releasing some endorphins during the sunset yoga class at the nearby beach? It will get everyone slightly out of their comfort zone and you will bond over the shared experience. Your new friends will make the rest of your stay that much more enjoyable.
If you’re like me, the community aspect is your favorite part about the hostel experience.
2) It’s fun!
If you are an experienced practitioner, you already know how fun yoga can be. But more than likely you have tried yoga somewhere between 0 and 2 times and if that’s the case I want to let you in on a little secret, YOGA IS FUN. Swallow your pride and show up with an open mind – if you can handle that I’m willing to bet you a beer you will have some fun! I’m serious about that bet; leave a comment below with the results of your first yoga experience.
Besides… trying new things (especially outside your comfort zone) is the quickest path to personal growth.
Hostel Owners: When guests have more fun they also want to tell everyone about their experience and are more likely to give your hostel a higher on hostelword.com.
3) To keep backpackers healthy!
Everyone knows exercise is a crucial factor in the overall health equation. However, it can be a hard thing to manage on the road. If it were more convenient, I bet more backpackers would maintain regular exercise routines. What is more convenient than free yoga workouts in the same place that you woke up that morning?
Yoga is proven to improve circulation which can help counter-act the lengthy bus, plane, and train rides. Poses for improved circulation: camel, wheel, and legs up a wall. (SOURCE)
Yoga also benefits the mind. (SOURCE) It’s also a great opportunity for some much needed ME time – an opportunity to bask in the beauty that IS the present moment.
Hostel Owners: In your best interest to keep your guests healthy so they can continue traveling for the years to come. Bonus: If the hostel staff joins in, they can reap the benefits as well.
4) Free! Every backpackers favorite 4-letter word!
Who doesn’t like free? We shoestring travelers know how to make our precious savings account last. Chances are you didn’t bring a set of weights let alone budget for $10-$20 fitness classes like back home. Would you attend a free yoga class during your hostel stay if it was offered?
Runners among us, you’re lucky, all you need is your shoes to get a good sweat (and sight see while doing it)!
5) The beds at the hostel SUCK
Ever wake up in your hostel bed with the feeling that your back is broken? Or maybe your neck is so stiff you cannot turn left (zoolander, anyone?). Let’s face it; you stay at hostels because they are cheap and fun – not because of the comfy beds and amenities. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up and head to the roof of your hostel for some much yoga? Or maybe to stretch out your low back after that 20-hour bus ride from Vang Vieng, Laos to Chaing Mai, Thailand.
I’m guessing you didn’t get good sleep last night, or the night before, or the previous week/month. GOOD NEWS: Yoga has been known to improve sleep for those who participate. (SOURCE)
6) Anyone can do it!
One of the many benefits of yoga, as a form of exercise on the road is that you don’t need weights or a gym to get a good workout! All you need to do is show up with an open mind.
Yoga is for skinny girls only! Contrary to the cover of Yoga Journal, yoga is accessible to students at EVERY fitness level. There are modifications if you want to take it easy, and there are options to do advanced postures if that is calling you.
What about yoga mats? Don’t fret, you packed your traveling yoga mat and didn’t even realize it. Of course I’m talking about your towel. You remembered your Manduka travel towel, right?
7) Cure the dreaded backpacker blues!
Sometimes nomads find themselves with a case of the ‘backpackers blues’ and there is seemingly nothing you can do to snap out of it! Luckily yoga has been proven to help fight off depression and bring back that positive outlook you normally identify with! (SOURCE)
When you’re homesick or just feeling blue, I know it’s hard to get off your ass, let alone muster the energy to exercise – but if you can drag yourself to yoga class (or get some form of exercise) – you may watch the backpacker blues dissolve away into barely a memory.
8) To ease that hangover!
Many people tend to drink a fair amount while traveling. There is less responsibility and always an excuse to drink –whether it’s Johnny’s last night, Samantha’s first night, or maybe it’s just Tuesday. Either way, you didn’t need those last 2 shots of rum and now you’re paying for it with a nasty headache. It’s amazing how much better you feel if you do a light workout and hydrate. Yoga is perfect to ease your hangover and get your day back on track. Just keep it gentile. Nothing worse than missing a day of fun because you were too hungover.
Read about the many “hangover cure” benefits of yoga such as stimulating the detoxification process in your liver. (SOURCE) Poses to cure that hangover: prayer twist or supine twist. (skip: headstands)
If your next hostel already offers free yoga, THANK THEM for being ahead of the curve! I hope eventually this will be the rule instead of the exception.
If your hostel doesn’t offer free yoga (and you feel that you could benefit from it) – bring it up to their friendly staff! Maybe even tell them about us. Hopefully we see you at your next hostel stay!
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