Anatomy of a yogi’s suitcase

When I went to Mt. Shasta earlier this year, most of my suitcase was filled with yoga clothes, since I figured I would sweat through the outfit worn for the morning yoga session, and would want a change of clothes for the post-hike workshop.

This week, however, I packed for a trip not focused on yoga. We are headed to Florence, Italy. Believe me, I can’t believe it myself.

Even though yoga isn’t the focus of this trip, I don’t want to disrupt my six-day-a-week practice, so I’m taking what I need. I laid out my Mysore rug (3) as the bottom most layer of my suitcase. That rug is so versatile — I can fold it up and use it as a meditation cushion, and I can roll the edges to use as support in certain poses I’m working on (can anyone say pasasana?).

Next, I slid to the left vertical side of the suitcase a thin, cheap ($9.99), rolled-up yoga mat (2) that I had picked up a while ago at the discount retailer Marshall’s for just this kind of trip. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons — one is weight. Even one pound over the weight limit, and a piece of checked luggage on this international flight goes from free to $75. The mats I usually use under my rug are heavier, so I’m leaving those at home. The other reason is space. We all know that on international trips, you need to assume you’ll be coming back with more than you left with, even if shopping was not your intention. So while I of course prefer not to be wasteful, I know that if worse comes to worse, I can leave the cheapo mat behind.

I bring only tanks (1 and to the right) made of light-weight wicking fabrics when I think I won’t have time to do laundry. While it’s hard to see, I packed my quick-drying Be Present pants (6) for the same reason. I’ve got a light cover-up from Chicago’s yogaview studio (5) — I rely on these types of opaque tops to keep me warm until usually the surya namaskara B. Not pictured because it’s buried is a black wicking jacket I can wear over that. There’s a matching pair of black (again, wicking) pants (4) that can double as casual pants or pajamas. I made sure to take one full set of yoga clothes in my carry-on, just in case the airline loses my suitcase and my belongings arrive far later than I do. Again, I figure at worst, you can find a makeshift practice space. But practicing in jeans or dressier pants just doesn’t work out well. :-) (If I could have fit my Mysore rug in my carry-on, I would have! I have an attachment to this rug, but I also know I need to learn nonattachment when it comes to the rug, even though we’ve been through so much together.)

Between asking ashtangis I know and doing some quick Google searches, I only found one website for Ashtanga classes based in Florence, and the classes are only for 60 minutes. I don’t even know if the studio will be open, since some yoga studios in the U.S. and abroad seem to close around the last week of the year. I’ll investigate studios further when I arrive, but I’m thinking it’s more likely my yoga will stay in the hotel room rather than take place in nearby studios, so I didn’t pack a lightweight, fabric mat bag.

How do you yoga-fy your suitcase for traveling?

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8 thoughts on “Anatomy of a yogi’s suitcase

  1. Italy, how fun! As one who is more in the ‘led’ than ‘Mysore’ stage of my practice, i have thrown in my yogitoes towel to put over a rental at whatever studio I find. No-slip, plus a little barrier on top of the ‘cleaned’ rental mat.

    Did you know your blog’s title has some great and colorful Michigan heritage to it? John Voelker, from the U.P., penned ‘Anatomy of a Murder’, under the pseudonym Robert Traver, which was made into a hit film starring Jimmy Stewart, with soundtrack by Duke Ellington. He then retired from the bench of the MI Supreme Court, and wrote another dozen books, including ‘Anatomy of a Fisherman’. I was fortunate to meet him several times at the hotel I worked at while attending NMU.

    Fishing for trout with a fly was John’s yoga. He writes about it better than almost anyone, with a similar eloquence as Norman Maclean in ‘A River Runs Through It’.

    Have a great trip!

    • Thanks, and nice work with making all those connections! I did know some of the Michigan links, only because my fiance grew up in the U.P. and also went to NMU. Good stuff all around.

  2. Hmmm…I’ve been debating on whether to take my mat on my six month journey to Kenya. I believe there is a little market in the town we are staying that sells yoga mats. I will have to do a web search. Ive already made contact with a local yoga teacher.

    Enjoy your trip! I noticed the title connection, as well! I am going to miss you!

    • Can’t believe you are leaving so soon! Yeah, I think it would be more fun to try to see what you can discover on the local yoga mat front. :-) And I of course hope you’ll share what you find in a blog post or two.

  3. Just got back from a week in Mexico with my Gaiam travel mat. It worked really well–on the ostentatious faux-marble floors in my room and in the small gym. it’s easy to pack and light and helped keep me under the 40 pound weight limit.

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