Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Postcards from my yoga mat

One of the best things about travelling, is the chance to practice yoga with a new perspective... I don't mean concentrating only on the breath one day, having a different anatomical focus such as backbends, or open postures as opposed to closed, or with one of the 8-limbs of yoga in mind throughout... but having a totally different view from the actual yoga mat! It can make a huge difference to how I feel and the kind of practice I do. When I get to a new destination, hotel room, Airbnb or friend/family home, one of the very first things I do is to peruse the place and lay out my trusty travel mat to find the perfect spot for my morning (or daily) yoga practice. Sometimes I go around inside or outside doing handstands, reverse warrior or dog at tree poses — the last posture included because my other half says I'm like a dog marking its territory! It's not just to make sure I have enough space for a sun salutation or a suitable, clean surface, but the view. I have been very lucky to have some amazing outlooks from my mat, including a sultry Italian island last week.
Western Ischia, Italy
Ocean view, Santa Cruz
Overlooking the bay of Naples
Saluting the morning sun, Provence

Sirsasana by the pool, France!
Watching the waves rise and fall can help remind us of the watery quality of the human body and keep a fluid element weaving through the yoga, big squishy clouds rolling over the sky are a reminder of the softness needed to counterpose the strength, and wildlife (birds, animals, trees and flowers) keep us at one with nature. Often when surrounded by trees, hearing or seeing birds, can inspire lots of the bird balances to pepper the flow, such as Bakasana (Crane) or Garudasana (Eagle).

You don't need to go on holiday, just moving your practice outside (to the garden, park or terrace), or waking up and really looking around and tuning in to what's going on outside can provide fresh inspiration for your practice.