My yoga practice met me with wonderful people with whom we share common interests and passions. That’s why, today, I chose the most charming yoga instructors from Bulgaria to share their own traveling experience. I asked them to advise us on how to travel mindfully and that’s what they answered:
In my opinion, we must first remember that we are traveling every day. The trip is not only linked with a plane ticket and a runaway from the urban environment. Every single day is a little adventure. One-step and then another step. Over and over again. For me to travel mindfully is to understand the essence of the movement itself and to be able to dance with the circumstances by accepting them as they are. When I am preparing my suitcase, I put my curiosity, my enthusiasm, and my willingness to find out more about myself through new experiences. And what they would be? I couldn’t know that in advance because I wouldn’t be interesting!
The last few years, I have been traveling a lot, always with a small luggage bag and no plans. That is why my personal unwritten rules for a mindful journey are: do not expect anything, leave at home with the illusion to control, and wherever you go, try to leave cleaner behind you than it used to be. I try to apply the principles of minimalism and to live with less, following the zero waste rule, to wear a bottle of water, a coffee cup, and other reusable containers; not to buy touristic objects with no value, to use the shared ride as far as I can, etc. However, the most important is the understanding that every place I visit is a unique manifestation of the beauty of Mother Nature, and we are there in the mood of admiration, gratitude, humility and here we are to worship.
Plan the basics of your trip but leave space for unplanned meetings, new adventures, and unplanned things to happen. The new experiences in a different culture are like a restart for your brain. When something goes wrong and you cannot change it, all you can do is to accept it аnd moving forward. Very helpful is focusing on your breathing to unwind and center. Traveling light gives you freedom and you realize that you do not need much for your comfort. I always have a light and compact travel mat in the backpack and roll it off in a suitable place for yoga (often in the mountains or at the park).
Pack as light as you can and leave more space for souvenirs and gifts. Learn how to say “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye” to the local language and talk to the locals as much as you can. Do not self-indulge if you can not devote time to your practice. Instead, enjoy the place and be open to different experiences. Sometimes the true insights come in between the yoga practices.
For me, a mindful journey implies making mindful choices. The choice of walking instead of using transportation, the choice of eating local instead of the international chains, the choice of contemplation before taking pictures… Get lost, wander around as this is when we are most curious and present. Walking the paths of maps might be safe but making our own is definitely more interesting.
A mindful journey can also be inward, towards yourself, instead of outward, towards the others. This kind of journey can also happen while traveling. We must, however, first pay attention to our inner landscape as only then we are truly open to receive the beauty of the outside world…
What is for you to travel mindfully? Share in the comment section below!
P.S. The pictures are kindly provided by Ekaterina Kioseva, Nevena Chervenakova, Simona Dimitrova, Tanya Varbanova, Marina Zheleva. Thank you, girls!