In defense of *not* working out when you travel
Wellness pro Claire Fountain thinks you should order room service instead.
There’s a moment of truth for every traveler: Do you wake up early to make that 8 a.m. boot camp class…or sleep in because, um, hello, it’s a vacation?
According to Claire Fountain, yoga instructor and founder of Trill Yoga, the answer is clear. “I don’t really work out when I travel—people are going to be like, ‘Ugh, she’s a professional,’ but honestly, I’m more focused on where I am and the experiences there,” she insists.
“If I feel like I need to get a workout in, then I will, but traveling itself is a workout,” Fountain notes. She’s got a point: Hauling your suitcase from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5 is definitely getting your body moving. (Same goes with spending all day wandering around a museum.) But there’s more to it than just counting steps somewhere new. “Sometimes the ‘healthiest’ thing you can do is luxuriate a little bit. My wellness might be getting a massage, it might be sleeping in, it might be having breakfast delivered. Get room service! Enjoy all the little things you don’t have on a daily basis.”
“Sometimes the ‘healthiest’ thing you can do is luxuriate a little bit.”
The same thing for when you’re in transit. “Those people doing acroyoga in the middle of the airplane is so uncalled for. I’m not rolling out a mat in the airport—I’m a yoga person and I would never do that shit,” she says. “For me, it’s all about walking around, stretching my ankles, stretching up, stretching back. Basically, taking whatever position I’ve been in for a long time and reversing it. It can be very simple and organic and not look like you’re trying to do a full-on vinyasa flow in the back of an airplane. You can do a full-on session when you get to wherever you’re going.” (She does note, however, that “some airports have yoga and meditation rooms, if you’re really interested.”)
And if you’re ever debating between packing your yoga mat or an extra pair of shoes, Fountain falls very firmly in the latter camp. “I think it’s ridiculous to travel with a yoga mat,” she admits. “I’m a fitness and wellness professional, but I’m very much grounded in reality.” Instead, she recommends looking to your hotel room (or Airbnb spot) for viable alternatives if you really want to get some moves in. “You can use the carpet in your hotel room, you can throw down a towel, you can do stretches in bed. If I go to a class, they’ll have yoga mats there.”
“I’m not rolling out a mat in the airport—I’m a yoga person and I would never do that shit.”
Ultimately, yoga is just one piece of a larger wellness routine—and sometimes there are other ways to express it that don’t rely on you squeezing a mat (as travel-friendly as it may be) into your suitcase. “Asanas are but one limb of the whole practice,” notes Fountain. “For me, it’s a moving meditation. It’s not about how extreme I can get these days. Maybe my yoga is meditation, or some simple breathing, or stretches here and there. So it takes on a different shape that’s not all sun salutations and poses. That’s the lie of what social media makes us think yoga is.”
The thing that’s very real? The natural high you get from exploring new places—so consider that a form of wellness in and of itself…and be really, really glad you packed that extra pair of shoes instead of that mat.