On the Road Again

by smartini on May 2, 2013

Travel is in my blood. I love it, and in most ways it loves me. But keeping any kind of fitness routine on track while I’m on the road can be a challenge. I have a multi-faceted career, and a big part of what I do is travel and event planning, so I end up traveling about 75% of the time. The good news is, when I’m at home – I set my own schedule. I can sleep till the sun wakes me, stretch my eyes out as I go for my morning run along the beach and take the time to make the drive up to Santa Monica for class with my favorite yoga teacher, Rudy Mettia. I can go get fresh produce from the farmer’s market out my back door and make my food from scratch for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I feel like it. Even if it takes all day, I can make taking care of my body & spirit a priority when I’m at home.

When I’m on the road, however, it’s a different story. My working hours tend to be long and unpredictable. When I worked the Olympics in London last summer, I worked 30 days straight – an average of 16-17 hours per day. Thank God not every project is that intense, but even still, a 12-hour day is a short one. I’m a champion napper, so whenever I can sneak away for 20 minutes, I shut my eyes for a few minutes; I look forward to the precious-little alone time I get at the end of a long day to rejuvinate, but what my body also needs is the physical stimulation of some form of exercise. Needless to say, its quite difficult to keep up a consistent routine.

When I think about travel and fitness, what I really fantasize about is going to some magical retreat where I can totally pamper my body, mind & spirit. I imagine myself waking up in a thatch-roofed hut over the ocean in Bali, starting my day with fresh squeezed juice and a private Pilates class on the beach. Or maybe a boot camp in the Thai jungle. Even sweeping floors and scrubbing toilets at an Ashram in India in exchange for food, lodging and yoga till the sun goes down sounds like an adventure I am totally down for!

Instead, I do what I can with hotel gyms and stairwells. And I do love getting to know new cities and new beaches by running in early mornings or late at night. I’ve tried a few exercise DVDs but haven’t managed to find one that keeps me as motivated as going to a class with real, live interaction with a great teacher and the energy gotten from being around other students. You’d think that after practicing yoga for almost 15 years, I’d have a solid solo practice at the ready. But not so – in fact, though yoga is my preferred form of exercise at this time in my life, what I love so much about it is how it actually allows me turn OFF my overactive brain for the duration of a class. So, even after all these years, I still require the constant direction of a detailed teacher to remind me of sequence and form. Alone, in a hotel room, I’ve tried many times to lead myself thorugh sun salutations and guide myself through a good strong flow. But more often then not, I get frustrated or lost and barely get through 10 minutes of self-directed practice – that is a far cry form the 90-minute classes I’ve grown accustomed to laughing and pushing my way through when I’m back at home. This means that I often go for days or sometimes even weeks at a time, depending on the length of a project, without my beloved yoga.

So, when I finished the career marathon that was the 2012 Summer Olympics, I just needed a break – I craved some serious R & R. Visions of traveling the world, of Eat, Prey, Love came to mind. One day, shortly after I returned from London, I had a epiphany in Rudy’s class. I asked him if he knew of any place, anywhere in the world, where I could dive in to my yoga practice, and give back at the same time. Though he didn’t know of any Ashrams where I could go practice in exchange for service, what he was about to propose would turn out to be perfect for me then – and will prove to transform my fitness on the road from here on out I’m quite sure.

Rudy asked if I would like to come to a film studio in Bulgaria with him, a stellar cast and crew to shoot a DVD series unlike any other yoga had seen. After a long time planning, Yoga Warrior 365 would finally begin filming. I’m still not sure why he asked me, just another adoring student, to participate – it seemed most of the remaining cast were teachers he had trained over the years. Would I like to? Umm, lemme think about that for one hot second…yes, yes I would.

The 10 days shooting the project were greater than I could have imagined. Bunking with Hilary, an amazing new friend who made me feel welcome in this tight-knit community, the accommodations were not exactly luxury; and considering we spent almost all our time not shooting in a green room at Nu Boyana Studios, the setting was not exactly the relaxed Balinese paradise of my fantasy. But under bright lights, we shot 2-3 hot, sweaty classes a day, we ate simple, clean and healthy food and I got to know an amazing group of people. If a yoga retreat was what I wanted, though ‘clothed’ a little differently than envisioned, that is definitely what I got. But even better than the unforgettable 10 days we spent together in Bulgaria, what is to come from that time is a tool I cannot wait to put to use.

Finally I will have another solid tool in my fitness toolbox for the road. Not just one, all-purpose yoga DVD that I’m likely to get bored with after a few viewings. What is to come is a series of classes, each one with a different focus, that I can rotate between to keep it fresh. Finally I can bring my favorite yoga class with me when I’m on the road.
canyon yoga

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Taryn May 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

I’d love to know when the DVD comes out! I want one!


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