Yoga As a Sustainable Travel Activity
Yoga is an activity which focuses on clearing the mind and increases body awareness. As yoga in itself is a practice which requires no equipment aside from one’s own body, there are no harmful emissions going into the environment, nor any other form of harm being done to the environment. It is, quite simply, practicing mindfulness, meditation and connection with one’s own body. As yoga is an activity which can be done anywhere at any time it makes yoga the perfect sustainable travel activity.
As being in nature is quite the enjoyable and peaceful moment, many who practice regular yoga prefer to do these practices outdoors while surrounded by nature’s beauty and peacefulness. The sounds of a naturally flowing spring or the chirping of birds does bring with it a serenness not found otherwise.
A bit of background
Yoga has been around for thousands of years. The practice of yoga is not something which can be followed in a linear fashion as there are many different schools of thought regarding the art and practice of yoga. The actual history of yoga and detail regarding the schools of thought fills countless books, making it far too much information to summarise eloquently.
Yoga is said to have originated in India as much as 5 000 years ago. There are many ongoing debates about yoga. These debates range from the origins or yoga, the schools of thought regarding yoga, modern vs. traditional, etcetera. Oftentimes, yoga practitioners will travel for yoga as in retreats, classes or just to find an amazing destination where one can feel a connection with nature.
Benefits of yoga
There are many benefits of yoga targeting all areas regarding both the physical and mental benefits.
The American Osteopathic Association cites a variety of physical benefits from yoga, one of the main physical benefits being that it helps to lessen chronic pain. Some of the additional physical benefits listed are increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, balancing of the metabolism, weight reduction and improvement of the cardiovascular and circulatory health.
Stress reduction is one of the big mental benefits of yoga.
Yoga in the outdoors
Taking one’s yoga practices to the outdoors, as opposed to confining oneself to a small studio or space within the home, creates the feeling of a more infinite space and allows the person to include the fresh air and beautiful views into their yoga practices. Some popular outdoor locations include waterfront, mountains, forested areas even in a field or a public park. Selecting an outdoor location can add a sense of specialness to the time blocked off from busy lives, to do yoga.
Yoga on a Stand Up Paddleboard or SUP. If the yoga practitioner is really looking for a challenge, try doing the poses on a SUP board in the water! The idea of this may be new for many people. However, this particular happening is fastly becoming a new yoga trend, as it takes the challenge to a whole other level. This is an ultimate exercise in balance and fluidity of movement.
Enjoy an authentic yoga experience at a yoga-centred destination
There are many options for those travelling for yoga. Retreats can be held basically anywhere in the world. There are however, particular destinations which the yoga aficionado would like to visit for the authentic yoga experience. Destinations such as India, Sri Lanka and Bali in Indonesia are ideal destinations for those searching for the authentic yoga experience.
Travel for yoga is gaining immensely in popularity. The Ananda Spa in India, voted Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards 2019 World’s Best Destination Spa, is a highly sought after yoga retreat. One may question that is it really possible for a luxury spa such as this to be sustainable? Yes! Aside from the fact that the entire goal of the spa is to create a peaceful, natural atmosphere for yoga enthusiasts to travel which provides the possibility of yoga instruction from highly sought after professionals who help to teach mindfulness to travellers, sustainable initiatives are interwoven into the mindfulness and coexisting with nature schools of thought which accompany yoga practices. Ananda Spa partnered with NOW , an alliance and sustainable travel platform, as a commitment to sustainability. Ashok Khanna, the Founder at Ananda Spa has spoken in his 2020 statement regarding continuing sustainability efforts citing a “renewed focus on implementing sustainability practices to reduce carbon footprint and being socially responsible for local communities.” Current sustainability practices include combatting water waste, sending food waste to local pig farms, a drastic reduction in plastic waste by using reusable glass bottles and a reduction in electricity usage. Ananda Spa contributes to local community schools and adult education training programmes.
Saraii village, in Sri Lanka shares an eco-friendly approach to travel for yoga, offering a 7 days yoga retreat which includes traditional therapies, meditations, meals and a variety of daily excursions.
In Bali, Indonesia, Desa Seni village resort offers yoga getaways which include classes and a variety of tailored treatments. The village resort commits to sustainability by growing 80% of their own food and sourcing handmade handicrafts from the local communities for selling in their souvenir shops.
Travel for yoga creates a rather romanticised mental image of becoming attuned to one’s entire body by eating healthier, breathing deeper, making more mindful decisions and the ability to foster a closer overall connection to the world around us. The ability to tune out all of the daily distractions and take that time for oneself does sound like a good way to improve one’s day.
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