Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!
Travelling can really take its toll on the body and the mind. Jumping timezones, not getting enough sleep, getting terrible sleep on planes, shitty beds, neighbours (or bars) that won’t shut-up at a decent hour all have negative affects.
By the time I arrived in Mexico I was seriously tired. You know you’re in trouble when you’re not quite sure of the date, day of the week or what the local time is – struggling to remember where you’ve been over the last few weeks.
It took me a few days to realise — yep that’s how tired I was — that I’d travelled through three countries (Morocco, Germany and Mexico) — in one week!
In that week I travelled by bus and train from Essaouira to Fes in Morocco (12 hours later!), caught a flight from Fes, Morocco to Dusseldorf, Germany (luckily spending two nights there) and then caught a 10 hour flight to Cancun, Mexico.
So I was tired and jet lagged…but what to do? These are the behaviours that I have changed that helped get my body and mind readjusted:
no caffeine after 5pm – having a chamomile tea instead of a regular tea or a coffee.
no electronics after 7pm – no laptop, TV, iphone or going through photos on your camera. The only exception to this I have is my e-reader because I like to read before bed (at home I love proper books but while travelling e-readers are fantastic). Mine doesn’t have a light built-in to the screen but a little pop-up one. Somehow this helps me justify the slight break in the “no electronics after 7pm” rule.
don’t have phone/s near the bed – and avoid using them as an alarm if you can. There’s no temptation to check emails, social media and any alerts or messages won’t disturb sleep in the middle of the night.
go to bed before 10pm – I was getting into the habit of going to bed after midnight and getting up after 9am, it’s not great long-term. I’ve read in a few places that going to bed by 10 pm and actually being asleep by 11pm is important for your body to function at its optimal levels.
The combination of all four points has helped me relax well before trying to get to sleep. My body isn’t wired up on caffeine and my mind isn’t over stimulated by the glow of an electronic device or a movie.
I try to stick to this routine most nights. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t – I’m not too hard on myself if I don’t.
Overall, changing these behaviours on most nights helps me get to sleep easier and I find I have a good sleep – like one of many cats in Essaouira, Morocco…
Yoga practice while travelling can be difficult, especially if travelling quite quickly or travelling long-term. It can be hard to establish a regular Yoga Practice with a new location, room, weather conditions or season to contend with.
I’d been travelling through Morocco and spend about a week or so in a seaside town called Essaouira. Re-establishing a regular Yoga practice after months of travel and also trying to increase my cardio fitness levels seemed like a good idea. Maybe it was the fresh sea air or maybe I had some time? But – as always – the bigger obstacle to overcome was the MOTIVATION.
I’d previously downloaded the Nike Training App and had never made much use of it, my new found Moroccan motivation got me to give it a go.
Nike Training App overview
The great thing about the Nike Training App is that it has in-App motivation. Now, this doesn’t help with all motivational issues, like even opening the App or unrolling the Yoga mat! But every bit of motivation helps. There’s some of the ways the Nike Training App helps to motivate:
Nike Fuel – have Googled, still have no idea what this!
Trophies are earned by how many minutes of training completed.
Like other workout Apps, friends can be added.
It’s also possible to create a personal fitness program or simply choose a class – the App adds up how many minutes completed and trophies earned.
Now, I’m not normally very competitive but found that I quite liked seeing my minutes increase and getting more trophies.
As a Yoga Teacher I’m going to provide a review of one of the Get Focused, 15 minute Yoga classes – Vinyasa Rush Studio. The Nike Fitness App also has two other 15 minute Yoga classes; Dynamic Yoga and Solar Power Yoga.
Vinyasa Rush Studio Review
The Vinyasa Rush Studio is a 15 Minute Yoga Practice in a flow style and with standing poses only. So having a Yoga mat isn’t necessarily required but I would recommend using one. A towel or two can also be used instead of a Yoga Mat. I do have a great travel Yoga mat, see my review of it here.
I’d recommend looking through the Review and seeing what Asanas (poses) are in the Vinyasa Rush Studio Yoga class and how the Yoga class is sequenced before commencing – there are both pictures and videos . The Nike Fitness App also gives the option to see how to do the Asanas (poses) throughout the Yoga class, but this does stop the flow of the Yoga practice.
The sequence is repetitive so it gives you the chance to refine the Asanas (poses) with each repetition. There is a Vinyasa flow sequence incorporated into the class too, with a Chaturanga Dandasana Asana (pose). This isn’t an easy Asana (pose), I’d recommend trying it from the knees rather than the toes for beginners.
For beginners, I’d recommend taking it easy. The Vinyasa Studio Rush isn’t necessarily for beginners (there aren’t variations included) but this doesn’t mean that a beginner can’t enjoy this Yoga class.
I like to add 10-15 minute Savasana/Corpse Pose at the end of the 15 minutes Yoga class – making it about a 30 minute Yoga class. This can be a nice substitute for an actual Yoga Class, especially as it can be easily be completed from a hotel/hostel/apartment room and no special props are required.
My minor issue with the Nike Fitness App is that I have to use it on my phone. Sometimes it’s not so easy to see on the small screen. I’d prefer to use it from my laptop – oh well.
Lastly, the Nike Fitness App is great if getting an internet connection is difficult or unreliable – once the workouts are downloaded an internet connection isn’t required.
Overall, I like it. The Nike Training App makes keeping up with a Yoga practice while travelling a little easier. It’s also great for increasing cardio fitness. For me, it doesn’t replace going to an actual Yoga class but is a good option when going to a Yoga class isn’t possible.
Yoga Teacher Training in India
While I’ve always loved attending Yoga classes, it took me a really long time to think that teaching Yoga was something I’d like to try – 12 years in fact.
It was during a Hatha Yoga class, as I moved through the Asanas a thought came to me – wouldn’t it be nice to be in this environment all the time? Calming, peaceful, nurturing. The seed was planted – I was going to learn how to be a Yoga Teacher.
For me the most obvious place to learn to teach Yoga was India. I’m involved in a deep love affair with India. I’ve travelled to India three times so far and am bewitched – the culture, the food, the people and the Yoga.
It was in December 2012, my second trip to India, when I travelled to Kerala to attend a month intensive to become a Yoga Teacher.
The month long Yoga Teacher Training intensive was held in an Ashram near a remote village about a 90 minutes drive from Fort Cochin. The Ashram was a 30 minute walk from the nearest village, closer if you hired an Auto-rickshaw. There wasn’t that much in the village that a Western Yoga Teacher Trainee would be interested in, other than the bakery that sold coffee. Apart from the bakery there was little distraction from learning all about Yoga.
Every student had come alone to undertake the Yoga Teacher Training. There were about 30 students, mostly women – just three men. This demographic is certainly the same as most Yoga classes I’ve attended over the years and the same for the Yoga classes I teach – although I am seeing a change. The age range varied quite a bit – from one 18 year old to a hand full of students in their 60’s. Most people were European with a few Americans, Australians, South Africans in the mix too – there was a nice international atmosphere.
We all had Yoga in common and the majority of people were pretty chilled out and focused on getting through the teacher training and being supportive of each other.
The days started at 6am with Meditation and finished anytime between 8 – 10pm. The Yoga Teacher Training included learning about Yoga philosophy, anatomy, Pranayama, learning the Sanskirt names to the Asanas (postures), learning to teach a Yoga Asana class (how to teach individual Asanas, sequencing Asanas) to name a few different areas but this list is certainly not exhaustive.
An average day looked like this – six days a week for a month:
Hatha Yoga Teacher Training – Sample Daily Schedule
06.00 – 06.40 am: Meditation
06.40 – 07.00 am: Neti / Kriyas
07.00 – 09.15 am: Yoga Asana & Pranayamas
09.30 – 10.30 am: Brunch
10.30 – 12.00 pm: Yoga Philosophy and Anatomy class
12.00– 02.00 pm: Free time
14.00 – 14.30 pm: Snack time – usually fruit or some Indian goodies
14.30 – 16.00 pm: Yoga Sutras
16.30 – 19.00 pm: Yoga Asana Workshops / Teaching Practice
19.00 – 20.00 pm: Dinner
20.00 – 21.00 pm: This varied – sometimes videos or special presentations or Free time
We were silent from 10pm to 10am – Meditation, Neti/Kriyas, a Yoga Asana class and brunch was all undertaken in silence everyday. I really enjoyed it – it was not as intense as it initially seemed. Most of that time is spent sleeping and Meditation, Neti/Kriyas and Yoga Asana class is silent anyway. Brunch was a little tougher, but it didn’t take long to get used to eating in silence.
I love Indian food and I’m a vegetarian – so I was in food heaven! However, some students had problems with the food as they weren’t Indian food fans. The cooks did their best to try to accommodate everyone, but it was pretty hard on those students as there weren’t many shops or markets nearby were you could self-cater easily. There also wasn’t much time to be cooking for yourself.
Things got a bit tougher toward the end of the month, there were written exams and practical assessments. The practical assessment comprised of teaching two 90 minute classes. I was someone who has never taught anything to anyone and found this very stressful. I spent many nights prior to those practical assessments muttering Yoga Asanas in Sanskirt, re-writing my lesson plan, practicing queuing each of the Asanas (postures).
We weren’t expected to teach the entire group of 30, we were broken into small groups of about five people and the practical assessments involved just teaching your small group. Still, you were being assessed by the Yoga Teachers and Teaching Assistants – it’s nerve wracking, but great and necessary Yoga teaching practice.
One Happy Yogi – 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training completed!
I did my training in India’s winter (December and January) – I’d been to India during this time before and know that even “winter” was hot but this was something else. I sweated all day, every day. Then I sweated some more during the four hours or so your Yoga Asana (Yoga class in the morning and then a Yoga workshop/Teacher Practice in the evening). I did a lot of showering and clothes washing in that month.
I was really, really busy – all day, every day. Even on the free days – the Ashram organised day trips so students could see a bit more of India. Some students didn’t attend the day trips but I felt that the trips helped ward off cabin fever.
While I’d been attending Yoga Asana classes for over a decade, I’d never known that Yoga Asana was only a small part of Yoga. It was one of the biggest things I learned from the Yoga Teacher Training.
Is Yoga Teacher Training for you?
Deciding to follow your passion for Yoga to undertake Yoga Teacher Training is a big step. It’s a lot of commitment — not just the time and money required — but also creating the mental space to be open to the process.
You don’t have to be a Vegetarian, or chant Om, or chant Mantras, or know what Mala beads are to attend – but you’ll be served Vegetarian meals, chant Om a lot, chant Mantras and may be given some Mala beads for Meditation. If you’re open to it, you’ll enjoy it all.
If you decide to undertake a month intensive (or even a 10 day intensive) being ready mentally, physically and emotionally is important – because it can get tough. You may be in a new country, new culture, new climate, you may be alone and without your usual support people (there is Skype but that’s not always the same).
Of course you may decide to undertake Yoga Teacher Training in your home town over a longer period of time.
Asides from ensuring that your well-being is in check, it’s an investment. And I’m not just talking about the course fees.
Depending on where and how you choose to undertake Yoga Teacher Training, you’ll need time. Taking the time in your life to fit in Yoga Teacher Training takes consideration and planning. You may need to negotiate time away from family and work, consider possibly being away from loved ones for the holidays – I was away for Christmas and New Years.
It’s also important to note that you don’t have to want to be a Yoga Teacher to attend Yoga Teacher Training. They are a great way to deepen your personal Yoga Asana (postures) practice and understanding of Yoga generally.
Finally, you don’t have to decide right away if you’ll be a Yoga Teacher – I didn’t. I wasn’t sure, I was digesting everything I had learned – it took me more than a year to start to teach Yoga classes regularly.
If you do decide that Yoga Teacher Training is for you, research potential Yoga Teacher Training courses through the Yoga Alliance. They have a registry of schools that are certified Yoga Teacher Trainers.
I’d love to share that the last leg of my 66 days of forming a yoga habit were a roaring success and I now have a steadfast daily practice – but nope, that’s not the case.
During Weeks 8–10 I was travelling through Bolivia to Argentina. La Paz, Bolivia is about 4000m above sea level and the altitude was starting to get to me and I’d picked up a stomach bug, I was generally feel pretty unwell. Yoga practice was the last thing on my mind! Not how I planned to finish my daily yoga habit challenge at all.
Week 8–10: Forming a Daily Yoga Habit in 66 Days Summary
La Paz and Copacabana, Bolivia
· Number of days that I practiced both Yoga and Meditation: 0
· Number of days I just practiced Yoga: 1
I was happy to get to Buenos Aires and chill out at the apartment we had rented. Unfortunately, long-term travel isn’t always glamorous!
Even though the daily yoga habit challenge didn’t end on a positive note I have picked up some tips for making daily yoga a little easier to achieve and will be sharing those here at The Yoga Class soon.
Well, my 66 days of TRYING to form a daily yoga habit are well and truely over and I’m playing catch-up with posting my last few weeks of my personal yoga challenge.
Intensive travelling after leaving Nicaragua really made it difficult to practice yoga and meditation everyday, here’s how I went with my daily yoga while travelling through Peru.
Week 7: Forming a Daily Yoga Habit in 66 Days Summary:
· Number of days that I practiced both Yoga and Meditation: 3 of 7 days
· Number of days I just practiced Yoga: 0 of 7 days
· Number of days I didn’t practice either Yoga or Mediation: 4 of 7 days
Days 43 – 44 of 66 — Cusco, Peru
Off to a good start to Week 7 in Cusco, practiced both yoga and meditation on both days! Cusco is quite a cute little city, it’s a very busy little place as it’s the main starting point for most people going to see Machu Picchu — that’s why we’re here.
Days 45 – 46 of 66 Days — Agua Calientes and Machu Picchu, Peru
No practice on the transit day to Agua Calientes or the day at Machu Picchu unfortunately. Up very early to get to the train for the 3 or so hours ride to Agua Calientes (closest town to Machu Picchu) and then up very early get to Machu Picchu.
Day 47 of 66 Days
Transiting from Agua Calientes to Cusco, Peru
No practice. Too tired, bitten, dirty – no showers working in our hotel! The VERY unglamorous side to travel. But more than worth it to see the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu!
Day 48 of 66 Days
No practice. And now sick, plus tired and bitten. But clean!
Day 49 of 66 Days
Transiting from Cusco, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia
Ended Week 7 on a high with both yoga and meditation practice. Woohoo!
Bloglovin’ is a website that allows you to follow blogs you love and want to easily keep up-to-date on, plus find new blogs. Bloglovin’ keeps them all saved in the one place.
It wasn’t until I started blogging on The Yoga Class that I discovered Bloglovin’ — I encourage you to check it out. And please follow The Yoga Class while you’re there!
It’s fair say that the last few weeks of my Forming a Daily Yoga Habit in 66 Days challenge have been very difficult.
My long-term travelling has been a gift but does sometimes make daily Yoga tough. But I’m still determined to finish these weekly updates to try to understand the complexities that help form a Yoga habit and share them here at The Yoga Class. Here is Week 6…
I ended Week 5 of forming my daily yoga habit in New York City and spend half of Week 6 there too. The City has been epic! It was my second trip to New York City and I’m blown away by its energy, beauty and rawness.
Week 6: Forming a Daily Yoga Habit in 66 Days Summary
· Number of days that I practiced both Yoga and Meditation: 3 of 7 days
· Number of days I just practiced Yoga: 0 of 7 days
· Number of days I didn’t practice either Yoga or Mediation: 4 of 7 days
Days 36 – 38 of 66 Days
New York City
After a few days in the Big Apple my daily Yoga and Meditation mojo was at an all time low. This meant no practice for three days! Feeling guilty much?!
Day 39 of 66 Days
New York City – Lima, Peru
Transit day to Peru from New York, via Florida = an 18 hour day. These are the days when travelling doesn’t seem so appealing! Alas to say that I didn’t get to roll out my Yoga mat today. Ah, transit days, unfortunately a necessary evil sometimes!
Days 40 – 42 of 66 Days
Slowly getting some Yoga and Mediation back in South America! It’s my first time of the Continent and so far I like Peru and can’t wait to see and explore more!
I managed to practice both Yoga and a guided Mediation every morning, it helped that four nights in Lima were deemed New York recovery days.
Onto Week 7!
After a somewhat unsuccessful Week 4 I decided that I needed to change my perspective about my daily Yoga and Meditation practice.
I was using travelling and being in transit as excuses not to even try to meet my goal of daily Yoga and Meditation practice. After Week 4 where I pretty much gave myself permission to not meet my goal of practicing Yoga and Meditation everyday for 66 days.
I think the reality is that there will always be something – whether it be travelling or being too tired not thinking that there is enough time – to practice Yoga and Meditation daily. And ultimately are these just all excuses? Regardless of how convincing they seem at the time.
Week 5: Forming a Daily Yoga Habit in 66 Days Summary
· Number of days that I practiced both Yoga and Meditation: 4 of 7 days
· Number of days I just practiced Yoga: 1 of 7 days
· Number of days I didn’t practice either Yoga or Mediation: 2 of 7 days
Day 29 of 66
Monteverde to San Jose, Costa Rica
On Day 29, we transited from Monteverde to San Jose, Costa Rica. I made sure to practice Yoga in the morning prior to making our way to catch the bus to San Jose.
No Meditation practice though, but baby steps to implementing what I know works for me – morning practice.
Day 30 of 66
San Jose, Costa Rica
Day 30 and I did manage to practice both Yoga and Meditation – but in the afternoon. I’m still having a hard time always implementing a morning practice *sigh*.
Day 31 of 66
San Jose, Costa Rica to New York City, U.S.A
Day 31 and another transit day – this time from San Jose, Costa Rica to New York City. We’re ultimately trying to get to South America and it turns out that a good option is to go via the United States – it doesn’t make too much sense but….
It also meant a reasonably early start to the day in San Jose. So, I left my Yoga mat unrolled the night and got straight onto it the moment I woke up. No bathroom stop, no getting distracted – just Yoga and Meditation.
I started my Yoga sequence with some mat asanas (poses). Read: rolling around on my back for a bit and then I immediately practiced a Guided Meditation straight after my Yoga asana practice.
Day 32 of 66 Days
New York City to Philadelphia to New York City, U.S.A
Today was a rough day. We didn’t get to our hotel until after midnight and was up by 5.30am to get to Philadelphia for an impromptu family get-together and then back to New York.
I know, no excuses but there was zero time in the day to practice.
Day 33 of 66 Days
New York City, U.S.A.
Wow – how time flies by – Day 33 is half way through my 66 days of forming a daily Yoga and Meditation practice. I did manage to practice both Yoga and Mediation despite the epic day yesterday.
Day 34 of 66 Days
New York City, U.S.A.
No practice today. It’s fair to say that New York kicked my butt a bit. The City is fantastic and there is so much to do and see – plenty of days spent walking around seeing everything the City has to offer. While it’s been great it has also meant mild exhaustion – I’m getting soft after a month in the Nicaraguan jungle!
Day 35 of 66 Days
New York City, U.S.A.
Today I practiced both Yoga and Meditation in the morning in our tiny New York hotel room. And again, I just practiced as soon as I woke up.
Lessons learned half way through forming a daily Yoga and Meditation habit:
1. Mind set is a huge part of the process – it may seem obvious but it’s still a big obstacle to overcome. If I think I’m too tired or busy then my practice won’t happen.
2. For me, morning Yoga and Meditation practice works best. Then my practice is done for the day. No wasting mental energy thinking about having to practice throughout the day. And, even bigger, not feeling guilty about not having practiced yet.
3. Practice Yoga and Meditation together as one practice.
Week 4 of 10: Forming a Daily Yoga Practice in 6 Days has been the most challenging week so far. I spent 2 of the 7 days in transit. And although the days weren’t particularly grueling, those days still took their toll.
We left Playa Maderas, Nicaragua on Day 22, transited to San Juan del Sur for the night so we could catch an early taxi to the border. We transited across the border to Costa Rica on Day 23 – it was a long but smooth travel day.
We arrived in Monterverde, Costa Rica in the late afternoon, it was already getting dark but we made it to our accommodation with no problems. Monteverde is so much cooler than Playa Maderas and it was a welcome change.
On Day 25 I didn’t practice either Yoga or Meditation – the first day since the beginning of the 66 day forming a daily Yoga practice challenge.
And I only practiced both Yoga and Meditation on 3 days of Week 4 – I’m disappointed in myself. I’m also feeling that my premonitions about having difficulty keeping up my daily practice when travelling quickly was a self fulfilling prophecy – meaning that I told myself that I would fail. And then I did.
Here’s my summary of my daily Yoga and Meditation practice struggles of Week 4.
Week 4: Forming a Daily Yoga Habit in 66 Days Summary
Day 22 of 66
Today I practiced Yoga and a Guided Meditation in the morning before we made our way to San Juan del Sur for the night before heading to the border to get to Costa Rica.
Even though it was only a 45-minute ride between Playa Maderas and San Juan, I didn’t want to risk there being a reason not to practice if I put my practice off until later in the day.
But I still have difficulty practicing in the morning everyday, even though I know that morning practice is best for me and ensures that I don’t miss a day.
Day 23 of 66
I managed to get in my Yoga practice in before catching a 7.30am taxi to the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Unfortunately I did not practice Meditation.
Day 24 of 66
The second day in Monteverde, I had gotten over the tiredness from being in transit for 2 days.
Today I practiced Yoga and Guided Meditation in the morning before we headed to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest. The Cloud Forrest is beautiful and serene and worth the effort to get there.
Day 25 of 66
No Yoga or Meditation practice today – the first day since starting the challenge that I completely missed a day of practice. I was exhausted from hours of walking the previous day. I’m always amazed at how easy it is for me to lose my cardio fitness levels.
Day 26 of 66
Yoga but no Meditation
Day 27 of 66
Yoga and a Guided Meditation
Day 28 of 66
Not at all inspired to practice today. I only manage a Yoga practice but no Meditation *sigh*.
My plan is to ensure that I practice early in the morning and practice Meditation straight after Yoga practice. I need to change my mindset and not let travelling be an excuse not to practice Yoga and Meditation daily.
Onto to Week 5 – more changes as we travel on from Monteverde to San Jose, Costa Rica and then up to New York City and Philadelphia – and hopefully a change in my mindset too.