I am a slow traveller, a minimalist, a slow eater and drinker. I just enjoy to take my time. Simply: I love to slow down. Doesn’t matter if it’s my yoga practice, my eating, my traveling, my reading, my writing, my everyday living. Actually I am slowing down everything in my life. And once I slowed something down, I do it again and again.
Why is slowing down so important?
Think about eating. Instead of mopping up your meal, isn’t it a complete different experience to take your time? Enjoying every bite, while you notice how its texture changes and its flavor slowly colonizes your whole palate…Mmmmm. Yeah. That’s what we food lovers do. We enjoy fully, being completely aware and in the present moment of tasting.
So what if you could bring this joy of present awareness in any aspect of your life? It would make your life so much more fantastic. You will live every single moment experience with more intensity and vitality. Are you a life lover? Then start to slow down.
To be aware and enjoy fully takes time
Whether it’s eating or practicing Yoga, only by taking time we can go deeper into the experience. When I hold my Yin Yoga pose for several minutes I get the full range of sensations, benefits and deeper connection. But it’s not only about the time, but about how this time allows us to dive deeper. In Yoga we do that with every breath. The more you breathe, the more you practice awareness and concentration. And the deeper you will experience one single pose. As I always say: how you practice yoga on the mat, is how you live off the mat.
The way you practice yoga is how you live your life…
When you spend more time on one thing in life, the same will happen. Your world of explorations becomes bigger. In fact anything in life requires time to expand a conscious state of mind.
Especially when it comes to our annual escape of normal life, also called vacation, people usually hurry from one museum to the next monument to the beach and to the hotel. So are Backpacker’s adventures. They probably take more time for their trip but they pack it up with loads of places, even different countries or continents. But what is it what you remember after hurrying around? Getting to see every “important” spot and making sure you haven’t missed any must-do’s of your list? Do you remember the feeling of the place? The smell? The taste? The faces of the people? The rhythm of local life?
What do you remember after hurrying in two weeks to 5-7 different cities?
When I meet people on my current Bali trip they can’t believe I stay 10 days at one place (Ubud by the way). Why do I do that having enough time to explore the whole Island. Yes, in four weeks I could see complete Bali, or even other Indonesian Islands. But why should I? Do I really see more when I travel around, spending only 2-3 nights at one place? Does it make my stay richer in experiences?
When I jump on this “I-need-to-see-everything” train I probably miss the best. And it’s making me sick. And tired. And stressed.
This I-need-to-see-everything attitude is making me sick, literally.
Slow travel is about joyful living
Sincerely: the best about traveling is getting the full experience of the place (which is anyways a utopia). Being for longer time periods at one place offers a deeper connection to where you are, mindfully. Like holding a yoga pose for longer time. It allows to relax, to have time to actually open your eyes for the collateral beauty. You start to consciously see the place, the people, listen to their language, taste the local flavors.
Slow travel has also another benefit apart of getting a deeper living of the place. It’s actually healthier. What happens on high speed travels? Many new impressions, lots of planning and movement. Lots of change. A lot of everything. In other words: it alters your nervous system. And your fight and flight mode is active. As in your busy life at home. But we want to be in relax mode, right? Activating this other part of our nervous system (do you remember which one it was?). The one responsible for feeling content, stable and in balance.
Slowing down gives you a break. A break of planning, checking, controlling. Why? You start to get a routine. When you spend more time at one place you start to know the place, the surroundings. You get used to the faces you meet every day. To the smells, the food. Everything. Humans are beings of habits. So just in a few days our whole system can adapt to new circumstances. We get this feeling of “I know that place”. From habituation we dive into feel the new place our habitat.
Your travels become Yoga
And what happens when you start to feel that? You relax. You enjoy in a deeper level. You feel cozy. And then there’s space to connect. That’s the Yoga in it. The moment of union. When you feel this place is no longer outside of you. The people are no strangers of a different culture crossing you in the street. Food is becoming familiar instead of a cultural culinary approximation. Maybe you even start to speak a few words in the new language. Everything is becoming more familiar. The place is becoming part of you. And that’s what slow travel is about. It’s doing Yoga everywhere and every time.
So do you think slow travel is for you? Try it out. Spend a few more days than planned in a place and just observe what it makes you feel like. What transformation is happening inside of you?
How to practice Yoga on your travels? Get a routine.
If you want to travel more consciously, slower and getting this deeper experience of the place, I have one tip for you.
Get a morning routine. Just like at home. I have my morning routine in Bali. And it doesn’t differ much to what I do at home.
Getting a routine is highly beneficial for a relaxed stay. Especially a morning routine to prepare your body and mind for a day of slow travel. It doesn’t need to be a big routine or take much time. Just having a few things after waking up is already making you more calm and comfortable.
How could your morning routine look like?
- Wake up, wash your teeth, have a shower
- Introduce some mindful morning practice. That can be a meditation, just a few minutes. Or a short yoga session (then maybe shower afterwards)
- Have your breakfast. And ONLY have your breakfast (no mobile or other distractions meanwhile, be present)
- Read. A book, a magazine, a newspaper. Reading in the morning activates our brain activity and creativity for the day.
What’s your favorite way of traveling? Are you a slow traveller? Or wanna become one? Try it out or share your experiences in the comments.
Namaste lovely yogis