Being accustomed to a daily yoga practice, I sometimes find it a challenge trying to keep it (as well as a clean diet) up while travelling. Throw in hauling a backpack with DSLR camera and stuff, hours of walking, temperatures of 20-25°C below Singapore, and the body is all set to mutiny. So, as much for maintenance as for plain fun, I managed to get my yoga on during my autumn trip.
These simple side stretches and wall-assisted backbends are great to reverse the effects of carrying a backpack around. Taken in our tiny Airbnb room in Kyoto just before heading out:
And every night without fail, I would add lying on the bed with my legs up the wall to rest and reset my legs from the day’s walking!
These foundational standing poses are great to stretch out the tired legs and hips and give a gentle traction to the shoulders and back:
Arm balances are mainly for showing off 😛 Here, I found a pretty spot:
Yoga in the forests of Kyoto
Two different “forests”: On the left is Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose), an intense hamstring stretch, taken in the Kimono Forest at Arashiyama. On the right is Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose), taken not in Arashiyama’s main bamboo grove – which I find too crowded and overrated – but at the much quieter and more verdant Adashino Nenbutsuji bamboo forest. I found this a really charming temple complex. and definitely recommend making the walk there from Arashiyama. We practically had the place all to ourselves!
Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto
One of Kyoto’s most recognisable attractions, so I just had to drop my yoga here. My trip took place while I was participating in an Instagram challenge on backbends, so I jumped at the chance to make my shots more memorable 🙂 Of course, the real challenges were whether my spine was ready to move in that way in the cold weather and with no warmup, and how to not have other tourists in the shot…
Yoga in the parks
I love to visit parks or places of nature when I travel. Here are two we checked out: Left, Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) taken in Shukkeien Garden (“Shrunken Scenery Garden”), Hiroshima. Right, Vrksasana (Tree Pose) taken in Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo.
And you know what I loved about all of this? In Japan, nobody really bats an eyelid if you take photos everywhere and of everything. I am still really self-conscious about yoga in public and acting like a tourist with the camera in general, but being in Japan somehow lets me forget about those insecurities and just focus on enjoying myself.