After finishing my graduate degree in Global Health, I promptly hopped on a plane to Yangon, Myanmar. This little-known metropolis in the heart of Southeast Asia is one of the quickest-developing and promising, yet chaotic cities of our rapidly-globalizing world. I jumped at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach yoga at Yangon Yoga House and pioneer baked goods at the studio’s vegan Nourish Café. After working here for a summer of soaring highs, sunken lows, inevitable mistakes, and unforgettable moments of growth, I’d finally jumped the hurdle of my local learning curve. Here are my 6 tried and true tips for settling into wellness wherever in the world you may journey.
1. Bring a smile to your lips:
Make new friends wherever you go. An essential pre-travel task is scouting out social support. Joining a community of like-minded individuals can provide a whole host of insider tips at your fingertips. For this, a bit of research through social media can go a long way. In Yangon, I was lucky enough to automatically arrive at the social support system of Yangon Yoga House. Spending my afternoons teaching local yogis and conversing with ex-pats in the café allowed me to quickly establish a network of new friends.
2. Stash a phone in your pocket:
Keep the old friends back home. Don’t completely cut ties with your former life. Stay in touch by investing in a SIM card and a data plan. Showcase your adventures to the world at large through social media and travel blogging. Besides providing an outlet for your emotional battles, sharing can allow friends across the world to learn vicariously through your travels.
3. Feel bliss in your belly:
Nourish yourself with foods that feel healing for your body. Travel will take a toll on your physical state, but you can counter this instability by eating well. In Yangon, Nourish Café was my safe haven for plant-based staples, which include their hearty “Naked Burger” veggie burger salad and full-fruity Acai Smoothie Bowl. Local markets are also excellent opportunities here to find juicy, in-season tropical fruits.
4. Rise and set with the sun:
Sleep well when you arrive. The quickest cure for jetlag is to automatically re-adjust your schedule to make wake-time your new daytime hours. Rise early to greet your new surroundings and allow evenings to be a gentle transition to bedtime until you adjust to the local clock.
5. Hear the beating of your heart:
Get active during the day to rest easy at night. Morning runs in Yangon present an array of challenges, but they are nonetheless a practice that I can take with me globally. Similarly, my yoga practice can adapt to my surroundings and present state of body and mind. As an added bonus in Yangon, the wide array of yoga classes offered here at Yangon Yoga House allow me to find a practice that fits my daily needs.
6. Open your mind:
Try something new after you’ve reestablished stability. Branch out of your routine and savor the sensations of your altered surroundings. Enjoying life abroad means striking a balance between spontaneity and stability, of serendipity and self-love. Root into your own well-being to rise to the adventures, challenges, and personal growth that travel will bring.