If you are about to join a Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand or another exotic destination, a retreat, or visiting a shala abroad, you’ll probably spend some time compiling a packing list as long as your arm trying to figure out what necessities you’ll need for your trip. Yoga clothing and medical kits aside, what else should you contemplate bringing with you?
Keep reading for our 5 essential items and recommendations for a traveling yogi to consider popping into their suitcase;
The number one essential item for any traveling yoga student is a lightweight and comfortable yoga mat. Travel yoga mats are a great investment if you’ll be spending some time abroad, and there are so many options to choose from when it comes to finding the best on-the-go mat for your practice.
I decided to give the Jade Yoga travel yoga mat a go, as at only 3mm in thickness it barely takes up any space. When it’s folded up it becomes roughly the size of a yoga block! It is also made from natural rubber, so there are no chemical nasties. For every mat purchase Jade Yoga plant a tree, and since 2006 they have planted over a million trees. I found the mat to be very grippy too.
Jade advises not to leave their mats out in the sun which I did happen to do a few times and this may have contributed to my mat breaking down quicker than I originally expected. Although saying this, I’d still recommend this mat for a traveling yogi, conscious about saving valuable luggage space!
If your travels or your training are taking you to some exotic and hotter locations, then picking up a small towel to wipe off the sweat from your brow, maybe a great idea. Choosing a fast-drying and quick-absorbing fabric like microfibre will mean it will not only dry faster for when you need to use it next, but it’ll also dry in record time after it’s been washed.
During a slippery and hot practice, I would often drape my towel over my knee in postures, such as Marichyasana C and D, to avoid slipping and jerking my back. It was also handy to have it close by when practicing, as it was pretty hard to focus at the Drishti point in Downward Facing Dog with sweat pouring into my eyes. I picked up a small towel from a local family mart in Thailand and although it wasn’t microfibre it did the job! It’s an item that is often overlooked on a packing list but it is worth having one with you.
Maybe you flow with music or maybe you prefer not to, but music is always a good addition to any trip as it brings people together. Playing some tunes whilst watching the sun go down or dancing around in your hotel room always livens up the mood. If you end up teaching whilst you’re away it’s a great little bit of kit to have with you just in case there’s no sound system to plug your phone into when you are guiding a class.
I purchased a Sony SRS-X11 wireless speaker which survived the whole sixteen months that I was abroad. It also endured being repeatedly dropped, getting wet, and being buried under all of my clothes and the 10 plus books I was carrying around with me. The best part was that when playing the music loudly it didn’t sound as though it was being played from the bottom of a well. A song that keeps getting replayed in my classes currently is Lace by Random Rab and the mini speaker is still going strong!
Another addition for those of us that feel the heat is a yoga grip towel. Many yoga brands have created some beautifully patterned grip towels suitable for hot yoga, Ashtanga, power, and vinyasa flow practices.
The grip towel I bought was an unbranded plain purple one and it kept me securely in postures. As sometimes you may need the extra grip in a Mysore room whilst being surrounded by practitioners engaged in deep and rhythmic ujjayi breathing.
Bringing a small spray bottle with you on your travels makes for much easier mat cleaning. This is an especially good idea if you are in the middle of your YTT, or if you are studying at a shala and you need to quickly clean your mat without soaking it before your next practice.
All you need is clean water, vinegar, and if you like several drops of essential oil. I use lavender oil to add to my solution. Lavender is known for its antibacterial properties (tea tree oil is another good alternative). The spray bottle I used was a mini mosquito repellent bottle so maybe try to find a bottle that you can reuse and recycle too!
Those were our top five items for any traveling yogi to bring along with them for an overseas trip to save them time and luggage space. But it’s also worth considering things like a yoga mat bag to keep your mat clean whilst on the move, an elasticated washing line so that you can hang your clean yoga gear out to dry anywhere, or a journal to write down details of your experiences and adventures. Do you have any other essentials or product recommendations that you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.