I’ve been practising yoga for 18 years. Which makes me feel very old! In that time, I’ve taken yoga classes in countless studios. Some stand out, like a Silent Disco Yoga in Sloane Square or the class where a teacher commanded us all to “recruit your anus”, others don’t. But what I really remember most are the classes that I’ve taken overseas. Read on to find out why I think Yoga is great for Digital Nomads.
Accessing a community: Yoga for Digital Nomads
I’ve practised in at least 10 different countries and in in four continents. From London, New York and Sydney to the tropical settings of Thailand and Costa Rica and even small villages in France and Spain. The fact you can access classes in so many different countries, makes yoga perfect for digital nomads.
Insight into local life
Going to a yoga class in a new place is a really quick way to gain an insight into local life. You’re sure to find “locals” who attend the studio regularly, meet instructors and just get a general sense of the rhythm and comings and goings of the studio and area it sits in. Some studios also have notice boards advertising other events in the area too, or they might have a coffee shop that’s a bit of a local hub.
Some classes I’ve attended have been held in different languages, I lived in Holland for a time and took regular classes there, “inademen” and “uitademen” replaced the inhale and exhale that I was used to, but I got the gist. Often instructors will only speak in Sanskrit too. However, the moves of yoga are well established, Downward Dog is the same in whichever country you’re in! Even if you’re a beginner, you don’t need to understand the words, just watch and follow along.
Yoga Teaches “Community”
Community is a really important principle of Yoga. You’re never going to go to a Yoga class and feel judged or not included. Whilst it can be a bit cringe, often yoga teachers ask participants to say “hello” to each other and acknowledge each other’s practise. The class moves and breaths as one too. This creates inclusivity and community. This is why yoga is great for digital nomads, who otherwise may not feel part of a community.
If you want to, Yoga classes are a great way to meet people. You’re more likely to meet people there who are staying in the area for some time and are also fairly likeminded. If you pick evening or weekend classes, chances are that you’ll find somebody willing to go for a coffee after class.
Comfort in Connection
I’ve often found a bit of comfort in the connection created in a Yoga class. On a Friday night, finding a yoga class filled with others doing exactly the same thing as you, can be hugely reassuring if feeling at a loose end or a bit lonely. If you’re living in a big busy city, I think this is even more comforting!
Staying fit and well on the road is hard and requires discipline. Yoga classes can be great for physical health, working muscular systems, sometimes cardiovascular and supporting a healthy immune system. Plus, going to a class means you can’t give up or skip a difficult bit, as you might do if you were working out alone.
The link between Yoga and positive mental health is well documented. For Nomads particularly, I think there are really positive impacts.
- Yoga to reduce anxiety – it’s possible that nomadic life might bring out anxiety in some people. Perhaps working freelance, uncertainty about the future or just moving from place to place – this could all produce feelings of anxiety. Yogic breathing is proven to have a huge positive impact on anxiety.
- Yoga for grounding – moving around frequently can cause havoc with your nervous system, yoga exercises that encourage grounding (focusing on the ground beneath you, the mat that you sit on and the moment that you’re in) can be a really effective foil for the constant activity and movement associated with nomadic life.
- Yoga for sleep – as a nomad, it’s common to have disrupted sleep. Perhaps you live and work in different time zones, or you feel “always on” due to working remotely. Yoga is really beneficial to boosting sleep, taking a mediation or yoga nidra class before bed can help to form a good night-time routine.
How to find yoga classes for digital nomads
When you have just arrived in a new area, what’s the best way to find classes? My top tips are:
- Look online – obvious, but google will no doubt have a list of some yoga studios with reviews. Failing this, I’ve often looked through Instagram or Facebook to find local Yogis and figure out where they go. This is a great hack to find yoga for digital nomads.
- Speak to tourist information or a local guide – I’ve found this to be really helpful sometimes, a lot of events still aren’t listed online but locals are more likely to be “in the know.”
- If you’re in a big city, try Eventbrite – through this site, I’ve ended up at Yoga in the Shard, Yoga in Sloane Square and various other parks around London.
- Look out for free classes – often fitness brands or stores will host free drop-in classes. Try Sweaty Betty or Lululemon.
- Try Class Pass – this is a “mobile gym membership”, which allows you to take gym classes in different studios in different locations. It’s on the pricier side, but there are often introductory offers. I’ve taken classes in New York, Washington DC and London using this app.
If there isn’t a class in your area, you could try an online one. Yoga with Adriene reigns supreme as the most famous Yogi on YouTube. But there are others available. If you want to feel a bit of a sense of connection, you could take a live class. No, you won’t meet anyone in real life, but there’s still a bit of camaraderie.
During the pandemic, I took live classes that were held in the Caribbean and Bali, from my backyard in England. Not quite the same as the real thing, but definitely some form of escapism!
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