When I used to lift weights, traveling caused me stress because I worried about my workouts. Exercise should never cause you stress. I knew that I would be fine if I went a few days or weeks without working out, but my body itches when I don't move it for a while. And I knew that it would affect my happiness if I didn't find a gym. In other words, I needed my endorphins. That was my struggle until I fell in love with yoga. cheesy, I know. Moving freely is a blessing. That's yoga for me. You can practice it anywhere. You don't need anything. Not a mat or even clothes. Sure, both will provide comfort, but they're not necessary. Everything you need is within you.
Sometimes when I travel I leave my yoga mat behind to create a challenge for myself. To get out of my comfort zone. I've practiced on the beach, where sand would stay in my hair for days to follow. On grass that left marks on my hands when I do arm balances. In child pose, some carpets smelled funky and some smelled nice. My toes found it difficult to roll from upward dog to down dog when I practiced on concrete. Benches had me balance in my splits; something I needed to work on. Airplanes with their tight spaces limited me and forced me to be creative. Sand created a safe place to practice my handstands.
Some places were loud and distracting. Some were calming with relaxing sounds and a nice view. Sometimes strangers would ask to join me. Afterward, we become friends. Kids would stare shyly at me wanting to learn how to move the way I do. The best part, I learned to let go of my fear of judgment. Fear that people would judge my imperfect poses or others thinking that I'm showing off when I do advanced poses. Fear of closing my eyes in savasana and not knowing what's happening around me.
If you've ever been to RUH you know that it's one of the worst airports out there. Anyways, before my flight in Riyadh, I had a few hours to spare and since it's counterproductive to sit before a long flight, I decided to do some yoga. Most people would consider this crazy because Riyadh is a very conservative city. But I have a thing with crazy.
I found a corner and practiced for an hour or so. The whole time I thought someone is gonna come to kick me out. But that didn't happen. I only got some stares and when I looked up I saw some people staring at me from the upper floor which cracked me up. But it was worth it. That yoga session helped a lot with my flight. I slept for most of the time and when I got to Frankfurt I was very energized that I did yoga again before my second flight. However, there it was a different experience. I didn't feel like anyone was staring at me. For the exception of a few little kids.
As I get older, I find my confidence to grow with me. Recently I started doing yoga in public places when I feel like I need to move. People will most likely stare. But it doesn't matter. It's a beautiful feeling when you stop worrying about meaningless fears. It's freeing. You can practice yoga anywhere. You can practice without even moving your body, but I'm going to leave that for another topic.