Annie Appleby, Founder of YogaForce at The Ritz

 

The Benefits of Enjoying a Yoga Break

As yoga increases in popularity, more and more hotels and resorts are offering yoga classes as part of their leisure offering, alongside more traditional facilities such as swimming pools and gyms. There are many benefits of enjoying yoga within your hotel as part of a traditional vacation, or even taking a dedicated yoga break to help you fully relax and unwind. Yoga Travel was listed as a wellness travel trend to watch out for in 2016, because of the increase in numbers of individuals looking to combine their traditional vacations with the opportunity to practice yoga and become at peace with the world around them: to take a step back from their busy everyday lives. Here are just some of those benefits, and how you can take advantage of them during your next vacation:

Yoga During Business Travel

Business travel can be both stressful and lonely: you’ll spent long nights in hotel rooms away from your family where you’ll feel overwhelmed by your work load, and often won’t be unable to sleep in an unfamiliar bed. All of these factors will have a negative effect on your mental and physical health and well being in the long run. In fact, a recent study actually found that frequent travel can lead to a myriad of physiological, physical, emotional and social consequences. The paper argues that increased mobility can actually lead to darker side effects, leaving us struggling to relax, make roots, and feel comfortable in our own skin. Luckily, there are all emotional difficulties that yoga can help to overcome, and there are many benefits of practicing yoga during your down time when you are traveling for business purposes.
Yoga can help to improve both sleep quality and sleep quantity, and it is a natural way to treat insomnia. This means that it is the ideal way to overcome jet lag when you arrive in a new destination. Yoga encourages body and mind relaxation, which helps to lower your cortisol levels and reduces your overall stress levels, making it the ideal solution for individuals that take regular business trips and find the experience to be particularly stress inducing.

Kick-Start Your Happiness

Yoga is a great way to raise your self-awareness. Practicing yoga forces you to take time out of your day to listen to your body, and whilst your body is still your mind often follows. Anecdotal evidence shows us that people use the quiet time in their yoga classes to process the aspects of their day they have found difficult and to let go of the stress and tension that this has caused. If you are particularly self-critical then yoga is also a great way to improve your self-compassion: to understand that you are a human who has flaws, but that being critical of yourself and putting yourself down isn’t the best way to work towards overcoming those flaws.
Research has found that regularly practicing yoga will lead to decreased amounts of depression and a significant increase in your serotonin levels. If you practice yoga regularly you will also see a decrease in your levels of both monoamine oxidase and cortisol: in real terms, this means that yoga makes you feel happier. If you’ve never practiced yoga before but want to experience these benefits then enjoying a dedicated yoga break could be a great way to kick start a passion for the lifestyle and encourage you to continue taking classes when you return home. Taking several classes in quick succession in this way will also allow you to experience all the ‘happy benefits’ of practicing yoga in a relatively short period of time.

Physical Health Benefits

Finally, whilst we have focused on the mental-health enhancing benefits of yoga, it’s important to mention that yoga has physical health benefits too. The British medical journal The Lancet, conducted two studies of people with hypertension and found that those who practiced yoga saw a significant drop in their blood pressure levels compared to those who lead sedentary lifestyles. Yoga is good for your heart. It can also help you to maintain a healthy weight, and reduce chronic back pain: Many yoga postures gently strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal muscles which are essential for helping you ensure that you maintain pain free mobility. If you spend your days sitting at a desk, becoming increasingly stressed at the little things in life, and complaining about the constant twinges in your back then why not take a yoga break, or visit a hotel that offers yoga classes for your next vacation? You’ll be amazed at the positive affects you will experience if you do.

*Update:  The benefit of going to rehab abroad by Paul Barley at Ocean Recovery Centre. This article explains many unique benefits that be obtained by going to rehab outside North America. 

*YogaForce wants to thank travel writer, Sally Warburton for Guest Blogging this article. Makes us want to pack our bags now!

*Picture above is Annie Appleby, Founder of YogaForce at The Ritz, photo by Shoaffoto