Getting Your Yoga Fix While Studying Abroad in England

General Trip Preparations

What an exciting adventure! After completing, submitting or collecting more official applications and documents than you thought possible, you’ve now begun a course of study in England. Your earlier assumptions that preparation for a study abroad program in another English-speaking country would be less difficult to coordinate have been eliminated. You’ve taken care of trip details such as calculating the exchange rate, purchasing study abroad travel insurance and finding a place to live for the duration of your classes. More importantly, you’ve learned that despite a shared language with the United States, it remains a foreign country with a culture of its own for you to learn in addition to your formal studies.

Mind, Body & Soul

Classes to challenge your mind are arranged. Living accommodations are complete to shelter your body. You should consider speaking with your religious leader to ascertain the availability of regular services near your temporary English home.

What arrangements, however, have you made for continuation of your yoga practice? Yoga’s holistic attentions to all of your needs—mind, body and soul—are as necessary during your studies abroad as breathing. With the many changes you’ll be experiencing, continuation of your practice may become more important to you during this time than it might be at home for some of the reasons noted below:

  • Your yoga sessions—and particularly the required breath-work—will help to reduce your body’s “fight or flight” reaction to the many stressors and changes you’ll be experiencing.
  • As you’re aware, the physical flexibility of the asanas translates into our mental outlook and our social life. A more flexible mind and personality will be required during this rapid acculturation.
  • A regular schedule of classes to care of yourself can offset the stress of your class schedule and its academic work requirements.
  • Regular attendees of your classes can provide you with potential friends for socialization. Not all of your new friends need to be related to your academic life or obtained with the social lubricant of alcohol at the nearest pub.
  • The restorative aspects of some poses such as savasana—or Corpse Pose—will help your mind better process and retain the information you’re learning in your study abroad classes.
  • The asanas that rely on balance will help you to intuitively seek this same quality in your life abroad. Your experience should not consistently consist of class work, socializing, sightseeing or any other activity. You’ll gain the most from your experience overseas if it’s a balanced one.
  • Even if you don’t have a separate meditation practice, the meditative aspect of yoga can help center you—a highly desirable outcome of stability during a time when almost every other facet of your life is undergoing change.

Finding Your Yoga Fix

Almost all English study abroad experiences will take place in highly populated areas that provide a number of available yoga classes in every specialty, such as Hatha yoga, Kundalini or Vinyasa yogas. Check first with the school or university where you’ll be studying for classes offered on campus or nearby. The U.K. site YogaFinder is a great way to locate different yoga classes through the entire country via searches by city.

Continue your practice, especially during this time. Enjoy your journey. Namasté.

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