5 Yoga Truths I Learned Traveling Abroad

Lesson one: You don’t need to be somewhere with a thriving yoga culture to maintain your practice

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R Tolkien

Often we must stray from our path to find the things we truly desire. Sometimes it’s as easy as a change of scenery to shift our perspective.

As I sit on the balcony of a stunning hotel in Killarney, Ireland, I can’t help but thank my lucky stars for the opportunity to travel outside the U.S. for the first time. I’ve learned that traveling grants me the freedom to explore new parts of myself as well as my yoga practice. Being in a new place allows me to be brave and make new friends, ask for help when I’m lost (which is about every 15 minutes), try strange foods, and trek new terrain while simultaneously keeping up with my yoga practice.

I’ve discovered that yoga is not nearly as prominent here in Ireland as it is in America. I’ve traveled over 1,500 miles and through countless cities and towns and yoga has been offered in limited areas. At first this really bummed me out. I was so stoked to learn with/from Irish yogis! Then I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to practice on my own, to think outside the box, and to really search for quality studios around the country. As always, my travel adventures have taught me many things about my practice.

Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:

zuzu-yoga21. Yoga can be done anytime and anywhere. Don’t make excuses for not doing yoga while traveling. It’s just as important to stay consistent when on vacation as when at home. Make the time.

2. Start your day off right. Practice consistency. Start a morning ritual. I wake up each morning, smile, and thank the Universe for another sunny day. I brush my teeth and do a few rounds of Surya Namaskara A (sun salutations) to start fresh. I set an affirmation for my day and meditate for 10 minutes. Before I know it, I’m ready to take on the world.

3. Bring your mat …and your favorite yoga attire. You never know where you’ll end up while traveling. Having your gear with you helps to remind you of your practice. Also, let’s be real, there’s nothing more comfortable than yoga pants and a stretchy top. I haven’t worn anything but yoga pants my entire trip.

4. Be adventurous. It can be hard to try new things, but it’s always worth it. Be the kind of person that never has to wonder, “What if I would’ve done it?” Go for it, whatever it is, just go for it. Step into a yoga studio in a foreign place and introduce yourself to the other students and the teacher. Share something about yourself and make a connection with a total stranger. Do yoga in public. Be proud of your practice. Explore new places and journey out of your comfort zone. Traveling is supposed to be an adventure!

5. Research. Plan ahead and do research on the places you plan to visit. Talk to locals and ask questions. I spend lots of my transit time searching on Google and Yelp. I’ve found that if you look hard enough, you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for, or often something better.

I urge you to travel whenever possible, even if it’s to the next town over. Take your practice with you wherever you go. Remember what we learn on the mat can be taken out into our daily lives. Yoga is a lifestyle. Live your dreams and have fun while doing it.

Photos courtesy of Zuzu Perkal.

zuzuZuzu Perkal is an independent artist, photographer, yoga instructor, and adventure enthusiast in Austin, Texas. Her days are filled with coffee, paint, and daydreams. She believes mistakes are simply a beautiful opportunity for growth and that our own life experiences serves as our most valuable teachers. Zuzu recently graduated from Wanderlust’s first Teacher Training Program and is on a mission to continually expand her consciousness while following her journey down the yogic path. She is currently experimenting with the concept of a floating yoga studio and mixed medium practice.