Top 12 Travel Essentials for Your Yoga Holiday
Wondering what to take on your next yoga holiday? Whether you’re going on a yoga retreat in India, a yoga weekend in the UK or a surf and yoga holiday somewhere sunny, here are the 12 must-pack essentials to make the most of your break from Lucy Edge, the inspired author of the travellers’ classic memoir ‘Yoga School Dropout’ and owner of YogaClicks.store.
What to take on your yoga holiday?
Whether you’re seeking a full-on meditation retreat, or just want to build your fitness, yoga holidays are a great way in which to take some time out and look after yourself. Regardless of whether you’re going on a cheap or luxury yoga holiday, you should always approach a retreat with a mindset of self-care – packing your case mindfully is the first step on that journey.
- Yoga tops
Remember, whilst we all like to look our best for holiday snaps, a yoga holiday should be about comfort and ease. You don’t really want to have to think about what you’re wearing. For a one week retreat I’d suggest two bra tops, two vests and one wrap. The important thing is to be able to strip down in the heat, and keep warm when it gets cold, or at the end of class in Savasana/Meditation.
- Yoga bottoms
I’d suggest two pairs of tight yoga pants and two baggy fit pairs. The tighter pants would be for the dynamic classes, which are usually in the morning, and baggy ones for the evening classes, which are usually about relaxing, and maybe for chilling out at the retreat after dinner.
Tight fitting yoga pants will stop you tripping up as you fly up and down your mat, and will also help you and your yoga teacher check your alignment – which will help you develop your understanding of the practice – and your body. A great pair of yoga pants will also carry you through any other activities that your yoga holiday may include – from group activities to runs and walks.
Bringing a shawl is a good alternative to a wrap and will allow you to stay cosy and at peace in Savasana/Meditation, and during late-night chats under the stars. It can also do double duty on your bed if you get cold at night and on the plane.
- Hair bands and hair ties
Especially when you’re off somewhere hot for your yoga holiday, you will want to keep your hair neat and tied up during your yoga practice. Hair bands and ties will keep loose hairs from falling into your face – so that you don’t get distracted from fully experiencing each yoga pose. Make sure that you bring hair ties that are easy to quickly untie because you will want to take them out when it comes to the lying on your back poses like Shoulder Stand and Bridge.
- Comfortable shoes
Although you may be used to packing at least one pair of your favourite wedges, yoga holidays are no place for heels. Pack comfortable, easy-to-wear, slip-on shoes or flip-flops so that you can entrance and exit to and from class quickly and easily. Bring some trainers too – so you can embrace any outdoor adventure opportunities that arise, from running to exploring the surroundings beyond the yoga shala.
Although you might not have thought of packing socks for a yoga retreat, they will probably make you feel more comfortable, relaxed and settled in Savasana. You don’t want cold feet to distract you from your attempt to merge with the big pool of cosmic bliss that is the universe.
- Yoga mat
When you’re practicing yoga in a new place it can be hard to feel immediately comfortable in your practice – no matter how idyllic the surroundings. All resorts will offer yoga mats and equipment, however, there’s something very comforting about taking my favourite old mat with me or (let’s be honest), the new one I got tempted by the previous week. Remember that if you’re bringing a mat from home, you will need to bring a mat carrier with you for the journey and, if the space is shared with other groups, to help you carry it to and from class.
- Mala beads
Mala beads are a tool for meditative practice; by rhythmically rolling the beads towards you, they offer an anchor for your thoughts – especially useful if your mind has a tendency to wander. Your yoga holiday will be the perfect time to still your mind with some relaxing meditation, so having your mala beads on hand could help guide you through your practice. It would also let you fulfill the intentions of your holiday and practice. It’s also lovely to think of the mala absorbing the memories of the retreat into every bead so that the peace and calm of your stay will be with you every time you wear your mala.
- Good book and a journal
After long days in yoga class, working hard to stretch and bend as best you can, you will want to unwind and spend some time alone with a good book. Avoid trashy holiday reads and go towards something that will boost and motivate you outside of class. You could also bring a diary, or a journal, to note down your thoughts during the day and keep your mind fresh. When I was traveling in India, my diary became my confidante – the place I went to smile, and cry, over the day’s happenings. That diary became my first book, so imagine what yours could turn into. The next Eat, Pray, Love?
A comfort from home and a useful meditation aid, the flicker of a candle will softly light the room, and help you rest and unwind in the evenings. If you find that after class you want to build on your solo meditation skills, you could practice candlelight meditation in your room. The idea being that with your eyes focused on the candle flame, they can’t look at anything beyond it. So your brain receives no new information and you get to meditate with ease, free of distracting thoughts and niggling worries.
- Essential oils
After all that yoga, your muscles are likely to hurt, and emotions may have surfaced that you might want to help treat with some aromatherapy. Essential oils can be a lovely and fun way to encourage healing in the body and mind – carefully selecting which scents you are going to use is a sure-fire way to feel as though you are looking after yourself. Soothe those aches and pains, ready to face the new day. Dab some lavender oil on your pressure points, behind the ears and on the temples, to keep you feeling nurtured.
- An open mind, an enthusiastic attitude, and some positive energy
Regardless of your destination, the most important thing to take on your yoga holiday is the right attitude. Go with an open mind, the idea of opening towards others and the experience, and towards growing and developing yourself. This intention setting, with positive energy, will enable you to soak up all the benefits of practicing yoga and meditation in community.
- And lastly, don’t forget the basics!
A yoga holiday is a time for you to take time out from daily life and spend some time with the real you, but first of all you have to get the real you there – which means remembering your passport and other travel essentials like local money. If you’re planning on locking away your phone and you don’t naturally wake at dawn, bring an alarm clock, or a watch that features an alarm, so you are not in an unofficial Savasana for the whole of morning class.
More about Lucy Edge
Lucy Edge is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of an online yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability. Read more here.