On our recent journey into Cambodia, we celebrated one year marking the beginning of our relationship.
We reflected that we’d spent the seven months of the last year traveling together, never spending more than a few nights in the same place. Living an itinerant lifestyle can make things difficult when it comes to our connection to the Self, the Earth and our partners. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve discovered that by cultivating these practices, such as chanting, meditation, sun-gazing, earthing and yoga, we can strengthen our connection and grow our relationship while traveling.
We can all agree that communication is perhaps the most important aspect of a relationship between two people. For us, being open and honest about how we’re feeling inside and about the other person has helped us to avoid conflict and build trust.
We’ve discovered that chanting each morning right after we wake up helps us to sync up our vocal vibrations, setting the tone for open communication throughout the day. We often practice Sanskrit chants, like the Gayatri or Shiva Mantra, but it doesn’t need to be a mantra. It’s just about harmonizing the vibration and establishing a vocal connection with our partner that will last all day.
Inevitably, travelers find themselves in unfamiliar places on a daily basis. To go within, we don’t need an immaculate shrine with statues, incense and relaxing music (although, it is nice). However, we do need to be in a place free of distractions.
As soon as waking, resist the temptation to check emails or rush out of bed. Use a pillow to prop up on the bed, close the eyes and sit without distractions.
If we have a bed and pillow, we have a place to meditate!
Our beautiful sun gives life to everything on this planet, and we wouldn’t exist without it. The sun has been worshiped throughout time by many ancient civilizations.
Sun-gazing is a spiritual practice that involves gazing into the sun as it rises and falls for the first few minutes. It helps to be firmly planted on the earth while sun-gazing. Among many other benefits, it helps to stimulate the pineal gland, increasing melatonin and serotonin, which can help elevate our mood and connect us to our higher self.
It’s also a romantic way to spend a morning or evening with our partner.
Going outside allows us to connect with the Earth, letting our bare feet, hands or back come into contact with the terra firma. Human beings are bio-electrical, and our planet is alive with energy to help ground us through a natural, gentle negative charge.
It is especially important when traveling on long flights. When we are 35,000 feet in the air, our bodies are outside the Earth’s magnetic sphere. One of the first things we can do when landing in any country is step outside, kick off our shoes and connect with a new part of the Earth.
Without going into the myriad of benefits of yoga, allow us to suggest that we carry our sacred space with us at all times. It doesn’t have to be a $40 yoga mat, just a clean surface on which to lie our bodies and practice.
A dingy guest house or campground can be easily transformed into a sacred healing space just by lying down a straw mat (We picked one up in Sri Lanka for two dollars). Yes, it’s something extra to carry. But even if all we use it for is to do some light stretching before we go explore the world, it provides you with a space for ample “me” time.
Another way to connect with our partner is to work together on a particular pose or sequence.
At the end of our personal practice, we come together to practice Sirsasana (handstand). Inversions put us in a great mood and have proven to be another thing that sets the tone for our day.
Traveling is exciting, but can also be destabilizing. By establishing a strong foundation, we can build and grow. An important thing to consider is that we try to practice these methods consistently, but it doesn’t have to be every day. Having non-attachment to a routine is also a good practice. But taking note of how we feel on those off days becomes a great reminder as to why we do them.
Ultimately, we have found that integrating these practices into our lives has helped us to reach a higher goal—present, grounded and aware.
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Editorial Assistant: Kerrie Shebiel/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Courtesy of elephant journal Archives