My lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to regular anything. For over 20 years I’ve worked in the music business, touring internationally as a sound engineer with bands. It’s a fun way of life – and also a lot of hard work and time away from home. Whilst rock and roll debauchery is not what it was, it’s still not the easiest lifestyle in which to stay healthy and continue a regular, healthy practice!
Ten years into my career, I discovered yoga, and I knew I’d hit on something which could support me whilst I was on the road. I started going to class every day when I was home, hoping to learn enough to practice alone the next time I hit the road. When the time came, I packed my still-new yoga mat; on my first day off I unrolled it in my hotel room and began my sun salutations. I may have been halfway round the world, but I was home.
Soon I began seeking out quiet practice spots in every venue we visited. I began meditating each morning. I started using pranayama to manage my mood and energy. I learnt about karma yoga, and the yamas and niyamas, and began extending my practice beyond the mat. Soon my colleagues began asking if I’d teach them, too.
Since those early years I’ve trained as a yoga teacher (YTT500) and yoga therapist (BCYT). For years now I’ve combined my work as a sound engineer with teaching yoga to the artists and musicians I tour with, as well as helping them individually with yoga therapy. I have the enormous privilege and joy of helping people to weave yoga into their everyday lives, no matter where they are. Here are some ideas for maintaining a regular yoga practice in an irregular lifestyle – I hope it helps you to reap the benefits of yoga wherever you find yourself.
Tips for taking yoga on the road
Your mat is a piece of home
When you arrive in your hotel room, roll it out – rearrange the furniture if need be – and create your sacred space. If your mat is sitting there ready, you’ll be more inspired to sit on it, take Savasana, breathe, stretch and see what unfolds. The hardest part of practice is getting started, so make it easy for yourself.
Sit on your mat when you wake up
And take10 full breaths to start the day. 10 breaths is a great entry point for meditation, and once that’s a habit you can build on it, extending to 5 or 10 minutes or more. I carry a little tinned candle in my luggage, and the first thing I do is light it, put it on my mat in front of me and meditate whilst the kettle boils for tea. It’s a gorgeous way to start the day.
At night, lie back on the mat
Take your legs up the wall to soothe tired limbs, and follow a guided meditation. There are lots of podcasts and Youtube guided relaxations available, and it’s a wonderful way to aid restful sleep.
If you travel for business, find a teacher who understands that you’re not always around
Knowing that you can drop in to a class with a familiar teacher, however infrequently, keeps you connected to your practice as well as ensuring you don’t slip into bad habits.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to do an hour of practice
It’s better to do 10 minutes every other day than a 2 hour mega-session infrequently. Anything is better than nothing, and frequency is key. Once I realised this, my practice blossomed.
Download some classes or sign up to a yoga streaming website
If you’re relatively new to yoga, practising alone can be daunting; and even if you have a confident self-practice, it’s great to be inspired by different teachers.
Live your yoga
Being on the mat is only part of a yoga practice – can you find ways to honour the yamas and niyamas in your everyday life?
Experiment with pranayama techniques and feel the effects they have on you
I find Ujaayi breath very calming, so when I feel my blood pressure rising I drop into that for a few minutes. No-one knows, and it works wonders.
Bring dharana (concentration) into everyday tasks like cleaning your teeth
Give it your full attention – what do you smell, taste, feel, hear? Use this mindfulness technique to anchor yourself in the present moment.
Maintaining a regular practice on the move is one of the best things you can do for yourself – the secret is to get creative. I’ve practised on tour-buses, in airports, in car parks, in shower blocks, in muddy fields – you name it. If the heartfelt intention is there, you’ll find a way!
About the author:
Becky Pell is a qualified Yoga Therapist (accredited by British Council for Yoga Therapy and registered with Yoga Australia) and teacher (YTT500, YA level 2), originally from London and now based in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where she runs a Yoga Therapy clinic.
Her lifestyle is a little unusual. Since 1995 she has toured worldwide as a professional sound engineer with high-profile bands and artists.
When she’s on the road with bands, Becky teaches yoga and meditation and provides yoga therapy to the artists and musicians she tours with. Between tours she lead workshops and retreats, and sees private clients for yoga therapy and holistic life-coaching sessions.
Learn more about Becky at rocknrollyogi.com