One of the best parts about traveling is the cadence of movement from place to place. One night you may stay in a small hostel in an unknown town, the next you may find yourself at a Four Seasons in the center of a bustling city. It’s a thrilling and captivating journey that always keeps you on your toes but can certainly leave you feeling ungrounded.
It isn’t uncommon for your home routine to be thrown off while traveling abroad. Yoga classes and time for asana isn’t always available so often times you find yourself getting creative or missing out on yoga entirely. Since maintaining a happy and healthy mind is so important on and off the road, I set out to explore the different ways we can integrate yoga while traveling.
Meet Florence Shih – yoga teacher and world traveler extraordinaire. Born in Taipei and raised in Hong Kong, Flo has had the opportunity to travel the world while blogging, teaching yoga, and hosting yoga retreats. With countries under her belt such as Thailand, Greece, and Sri Lanka, it’s no surprise she has become a resource around the world for traveling yogis. Continue reading below to steal a few tricks out of Flo’s book and learn more about her exciting yoga journey around the world.
How did yoga enter your life? Was your practice something that came before you began traveling or did you find this passion throughout your travels?
Sports have always been a big part of my life – when I was growing up I played netball, basketball, rugby and also ran (even though I despised running!). After sustaining multiple injuries, I turned to yoga for the physical benefits that it offers. It wasn’t until after I began also experiencing changes in my emotional and psychological well-being that it all clicked: yoga isn’t just about stretching and touching your toes! These days, one of my top priorities is to share this way of seeking balance through yoga with others!
Extensive traveling can shift your entire lifestyle, how has yoga helped you to stay grounded?
Yoga has not only changed the way I travel but also my everyday life. In general, I have found that I’m more aware of my actions, thoughts, and speech and that I’m less easily distracted from the present.
Because traveling is filled with unknowns, what kind of challenges have you experienced in maintaining a yoga practice?
Maintaining a regular physical asana practice while traveling isn’t easy, and sometimes you’re just too exhausted after a massive day of sightseeing to complete the Ashtanga primary series. Beyond the physical practice, I also struggle with maintaining “saucha” or cleanliness during my travels: in particular, a clean diet is difficult because I’m a sucker for a good Sauvignon Blanc and mojito!
When I am away, I also find myself missing my teacher back home, and wishing that I could pack her in a suitcase to take her with me! While self-practice can feel oh-so-good, sometimes it hard to bring myself to the mat to practice alone, and often wish that I could join a class and practice with other fellow yogis. That’s why I often research local yoga studios ahead of time to see if they offer drop-in classes.
What advice do you give to yogis looking to deepen their practice on the road?
Here is my biggest piece of advice: remember that Yoga has 8 limbs! People tend to focus on the physical asana aspects of Yoga and forget to practice the other limbs. Travel gives so many wonderful opportunities to practice Santosha (contentment), Aparigraha (non-grasping), Tapas (discipline and building heat) and Pranayama! Sama Vritti (equal inhalations and exhalations) saved my tush when I felt a panic attack coming on at the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Do you have a favorite destination for yoga or a must-see for anyone looking for their next vacation?
Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka! It is still relatively quiet and is an up-and-coming destination in Asia. It offers amazing heritage sites, beautiful beaches, friendly people and delectable local food.
Feeling inspired yet? YogaWineTravel, Flo’s brand, is a force to be reckoned with. Supplying an endless stream of unique and useful yoga and travel articles, YogaWineTravel is perfect for the traveling yogi. Through her social channels and website, you can find information about yoga studios around the world, yoga retreats, and hot destinations. Follow her Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with where Flo is at – happy traveling!