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And as you prepare to relax poolside in beautiful sunny LA, take these tips on travel, detoxing, and recharging from YogaWorks teacher and National Director of Programming & Teacher Management, Maeve McCaffrey.
Why do you travel?
I love traveling in general, so I would purely to discover new places, but easily half of my travel is for my role as the National Director of Programming and Teacher Management for YogaWorks. With that said, when I travel for work, I try and blend in something personal as well: meeting up with friends or family, non-trinket take-aways to remind me of the trip, often wearable, or a delicious meal (as I mentioned, often wearable)! I was recently in NYC for meetings and to lead a teacher training at the YogaWorks SoHo studio. You can’t beat SoHo for dining and shopping!
What are your favorite destinations?
NYC is definitely one of them. I never lived there, but my family is from there and I visited often growing up. It feels very grown-up to get to know the city as an adult on my own. I adore exploring cities and I don’t think there is any better way to get a sense of a city’s personality than by walking around with the people, eating the food, hearing the sounds and smelling the scents. You miss so much if you’re not on foot. New York, Paris, Boston are some of my favorites.
Conversely, my other favorite destinations are beach, green or snow. You can be active, but can also just pause, unwind and let the mind be still. Vermont, the Bahamas, Lake Tahoe, Southern California, Cape Cod, Hawaii. I was in Mauritius for the first time last year, and it was a near perfect trifecta: city, green, and beach!
How do you make the difficult part of travel — actually getting there — less of a chore?
I practice loving kindness. I know, that was a very yogic answer, I’m sure eliciting more than a few eye-rolls, but trust me, best for all! I am impatient with many of the mechanisms of travel: the gaggle of boarding group D’s flooding the gate during pre-boarding, the inability of navigating the spatial game of the overhead bin or my head snapping back when the guest behind me pulls on the back of my seat to get up from theirs. I remind myself that travel might be new to some, and the very nature of travel is stressful and that might be the impetus of their Marshawn Lynch running-back exit from row 17 to the front of the plane to be the first person off. So yes, I practice loving kindness — while scripting a travel “dos and don’ts” guide in my mind.
Logistically, I make sure to dress comfortably, usually yoga pants and layers. I have my computer so I can get through loads of work or personal writing, headphones and healthy nibbles. And a pen. Crosswords.
Once you’re there, do you have a carefully planned itinerary, or do you keep your options open?
It’s a bit of both. I usually have blocks of time when I’m committed to activities, but then I leave the spaces in between open so I can explore. My least favorite travel involves strict itineraries. I want to be ready to jump at an adventure!
Do you have a favorite type of hotel?
I tend to lean toward more modern hotels, but I do enjoy rustic or grand spaces as well. Regardless of the decor, I adore hotels that have unusual details or fun amenities, like free bikes or a resident cat, surprise treats, creative uses of space, and beautiful design and efficiencies. I love getting ideas on how to make my own space at home better.
What did you like best about Hotel Hugo?
I have been talking about Bar Hugo, the roof deck bar and restaurant, since I left. The drinks, food and service were all outstanding, not to be outdone by the view and the sunset on the Hudson River, which was breathtaking. I was up there every night during my stay.
Did you practice yoga in your hotel room or seek out local studios?
I did not practice yoga in my room. I practiced at YogaWorks Soho, and I often visit other neighborhood studios. If I had been alone at Bar Hugo, I definitely would have meditated there, but it wasn’t really the vibe.
What tips do you have for detoxing and recharging while on vacation?
One: move. If you don’t want to go to the gym, try to do something physical while experiencing the location, e.g., dancing, walking instead of taking cabs, beach activities or hikes, and of course, yoga.
Two: allow the mind to shut down. We go away for a reason, but then want to stay connected to what we left! While I almost always have my computer with me, I limit the time I am on it and my other devices.
And three: allow for stillness of the body. This is not in contradiction to number one, but in conjunction. Move when you move and allow yourself to sleep and nap; to be a little lazy and read a book, or just explore creative conversation.
Do you view a vacation as a time to indulge or detox?
I would overwhelmingly say detox, though some might question my theory. I have a compulsion to taste the best food and treats where I’m visiting, as that is such a big part of the culture, and that can be indulgent. However, I also have the time to sit and relish healthy meals instead of grabbing on the go. I will probably stay out late, but I don’t have to wake up to an alarm. I’ve surely been spotted reading a trashy magazine while vacationing, while I nearly always have longer meditations while away. Sometimes being indulgent is just the detox we need.
When booking hotels, do you research the property beforehand to make sure they have a fitness/yoga center?
I always look to see if they have one, but I won’t rule out a hotel if they don’t have a fitness/yoga center. If it’s a short trip, I know I can fend for myself in the room, either practicing on my own or with MyYogaWorks.com. If it’s a longer trip, I will make sure there is something local if the hotel doesn’t have a facility. The body was meant to move!
*Hotel Angeleno & Hotel Hugo Photo Credit: Tablet Hotels