“On vacation, there’s no to-do list. Let go of all the doing that keeps you from seeing and being with your inner Self.”

Description: Om Bringing Your Practice To Life


Southern exposure

Researchers at the South Pole have good reason to get on their mats.

What’s a group of international scientists at the South Pole research station to do during a four-month stay in near isolation during the frigid austral summer? Meet for a weekly (indoor!) yoga class, of course. When you’re living in close quarters, yoga is a welcome mental escape, says South Pole communications operator Kristina Albrecht. It helps relieve the stress of being isolated from the word, she says, and “it lets us take our big boots off, fell our feet, and just stretch.”

Get moving

Have yoga, will travel

If you have time to spare at San Francisco International Airport, follow the signs to the first dedicated airport yoga room in North America, and probably the world. The 150-square-foot space, equipped with mirrored walls and loaner mats, has a no-shoes, no-cell-phones policy and is open to all ticketed passengers.


Girls rule

Studies suggest that the tween years (ages 9 to 12) mark the onset of self-esteem and body image issues for girl. When digital media executive Jamie Dicken saw her then 10-year-old daughter Juliette begin to struggle with these issues two years ago, she tool action. “It was so upsetting to see my beautiful, confident daughter suddenly change,” says Dicken.

She and her daughter became certified  yoga teachers, and the two now team-teach workshops and eight-week courses  for girls and their mothers in San Diego, California. Their program, called Believe in She, combines yoga with journaling and frank discussion of topics such as body image, friendship, and bullying. The aim, says Dicken, is to help the girls become comfortable in their bodies and develop self-confidence while bonding with their mothers and peers. “I truly believe if we have open conversation with our daughter, we can strengthen our relationships with them and shift the self-esteem cycle,” she says. Dicken will offer the first Believe in She teacher training this fall.


Upward bound

Description: When you’re climbing, you feel like you’re doing vertical yoga poses

Get out-of-doors, and out of your comfort zone, with yoga and climbing adventures.

Practicing yoga in the outdoors, instead of in a climate-controlled studio, is a perfect way to enliven your practice, says Adi Carter, an avid rock climber, yoga teacher, and trip leader. “When you’re climbing, you feel like you’re doing vertical yoga poses,” Carter says.

Yoga students and climbers alike are discovering the connections between the two activities at climbing-plus-yoga retreats and workshop around the country. “Like yoga, climbing requires you to step out of your comfort zone,” says Olivia Hsu, a yoga teacher and climbing instructor who leads yoga classes on climbing trips for cancer survivors in Boulder, Colorado. New climbers, she says, often freeze up when climb above 20 or 30 feet, until they recognize they’re in control. “Suddenly, you go from feeling ‘I can’t do this’ to realizing ‘I can do this!’” Hsu says. “You get this sense of ownership about what you can do. And that translates to your yoga practice, as well.

Climbing also draws on the strengths you cultivate on the mat. Most climbing and yoga trips offer pre- and post-climb yoga sessions that emphasize chest- and hip-openers and building upper-body strength. But the most important crossover between the two skills, says Hsu, is mental focus: “When you’re concentrating in yoga, there’s this Zen point where it becomes effortless. It’s the same in climbing. Your mind and body are working in unison.”


Free spirit

Description: A road trip can recharge your spirit

Road tripping? Leave stiff muscles behind.

A road trip can recharge your spirit. But all those hours of prolonged sitting often come with a price: pain in your neck and shoulders (especially if you’re the driver) and tightness in your hips and back. Los Angeles-based yoga instructor and frequent road tripper Kia Miller suggests practicing before, during, and after your drive. “It’s important to get your energy moving before you take a long drive so you don’t feel stagnant on the road,” says Miller. And when you get out of the car, she recommends poses that open up the low-back and hip area. If you keep your body from stiffening, your journey can become a meditation in motion. “A road trip is another place to practice awareness,” says Miller. “It’s just you, the car, and the road ahead. You are forced to be present with what is in the moment.”

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